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Designated Agencies: Educator Preparation Program Authorization, Reauthorization and Added Endorsements

A designated agency is a school district, an accredited non-public school, a board of cooperative services (BOCES), an accepted institution of higher education or a non-profit organization, responsible for the organization, management and operation of an approved alternative teacher program (C.R.S. 22-60.5-102 [10] and 22-60.5-205 [2]). Any of these entities may partner or collaborate together for the operation of an approved alternative teacher program. (For example, a district or BOCES may choose to contract with an institution of higher education already providing an approved teacher preparation program.) An individual’s successful completion of an alternative teacher preparation program leads to a recommendation for initial licensure by the designated agency providing the program.

The Colorado State Board of Education has authority to approve designated agencies for the purposes of operating one- and two-year alternative teacher programs to assist districts and BOCES that face a shortage of teachers and often struggle to find qualified persons to teach their students (C.R.S. 22-60.5-205 and the Educator Licensing Act Rules). Such programs shall:

  • decrease the use of emergency authorizations to hire individuals who do not have teacher licenses and, in some cases, have not received any form of teacher preparation, thus jeopardizing a school district's goal of providing high-quality education for each student; and
  • identify individuals with experience in areas other than education to help alleviate the teacher shortage faced by many school districts, so long as these individuals receive adequate supervision and education in teaching methods and practices.

C.R.S. 22-60.5-205 was intended to address teacher shortages in public schools. Thus, designated agencies must serve an identified need(s) of a Colorado school district(s) or BOCES. Designated agencies can create alternative preparation programs in numerous teacher endorsements areas. State statute does not allow alternative licensure pathways for Specialized Services professionals.

To address principal shortages in public schools, districts may create individualized learning plans for individuals to serve as principals under a principal authorization.


English Learner Standards

All educator pre-service programs including Colorado institution of higher education educator preparation entities and Colorado alternative educator preparation entities must ensure the English Learner standards referenced in section 5.12-5.15 of 1 CCR 301-37 are fully taught, addressed and practiced in their programs. These standards equate to approximately 6 semester hours or the equivalent of 90 contact hours. More information on this process can be found on the English Learner Educator Preparation Pathways page. It is important to note that these standards supplement, not a supplant, the culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) endorsement, and can and should be aligned to the CLD endorsement standards as noted in 1 CCR 301-101 if the educator preparation entity is seeking to graduate students with dual endorsements in a content area and in CLD.

As preparation programs demonstrate to CDE that they meet these requirements in their programs, those programs will be listed on this page.

Pathway to Becoming a Designated Agency

The flowchart below describes the basic steps to becoming a Designated Agency in Colorado. Please note the updated timelines for program reauthorization reviews.

flowchart depicting steps to become a designated agency

Authorization and Reauthorization Submission Timeline

Event Type

Application/Matrices Submission Timeline

Review of Submission Occurs
New Educator Preparation Program Authorization June 1-  November 30 January, 1-2 days
Authorization of Added Endorsement Program June 1 - November 30 January, 1-2 days
Reauthorization visits scheduled for September, October, November, and December June 30 July, 1-2 days
Reauthorization visits scheduled for January, February, March, April, and May October 31 November, 1-2 days


Requirements for Adding an Endorsement to an Existing Designated Agency's Program

  • Complete the Educator Preparation Standards Matrices (see above) for each endorsement area you intend to add to your program.
  • Complete and submit the Designated Agency Added Endorsement Application.
    • *** Note: You will be asked to upload one excel matrix per endorsement area in the online submission. You will also be required to combine all supporting documentation for each endorsement area into one document and attach using the supporting documentation upload. Supporting documentation includes syllabi, course offering schedule, etc. Please ensure you have all supporting documentation combined and ready to submit prior to starting the online application.