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News Release - Statewide Partnership Tackles Colorado’s Teacher Shortages

Feb. 3, 2020

Statewide Partnership Tackles Colorado’s Teacher Shortages

Backed by K-12 school system, universities, state agencies, business, and nonprofits, TEACH Colorado launches a digital teacher recruitment platform.

DENVER – TEACH Colorado is officially launching today with a mission to increase the quality, quantity and diversity of the state’s teacher pipeline. TEACH Colorado is a partnership among Colorado’s school districts, educator preparation programs, state agencies, and business and nonprofit groups to launch a comprehensive digital platform that recruits talented Coloradans into the teaching profession and provides the support they need to enroll in an educator preparation program.

TEACH Colorado is led by Colorado Department of Education (CDE), Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC), Colorado Education Initiative (CEI), and TEACH. Funding support is provided by the lead partners, Microsoft, Rose Community Foundation, Colorado Education Association, Boettcher Foundation, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and Workforce Development Council. 

“As a former high school educator and administrator, I am so excited to bring this comprehensive resource to Colorado,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of CDHE. “TEACH Colorado makes it easier to get into the classroom, so educators can focus on making a difference.”

TEACH Colorado combines a media and outreach campaign with a robust digital platform to support future teachers, including: 

  • A one-stop-shop web portal (TeachColorado.org) with free tools that help prospective teachers understand the profession, find an educator preparation program that fits their needs, and navigate through the process of applying
  • A statewide PSA ad campaign, including TV, radio, and digital advertising that point prospects to TeachColorado.org. Titled “Teachers Have Better Work Stories,” the advertising campaign highlights the creativity, leadership, and excitement that teachers experience daily in classrooms across Colorado.  (The ads can be viewed here)
  • A “Talk-to-a-Teacher” program and on-call advising at no cost to participants
  • Scholarship opportunities and reimbursement for application fees to educator preparation programs

“As a teacher, you can change lives every day by revealing the joy of reading to your students, exploring important scientific discoveries, or opening up new exciting career paths,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “TEACH Colorado will be a one-stop shop to help anyone explore a fulfilling career as a teacher.”

“We are thrilled that teachers will be intentionally ushered into our profession and feel fortunate to support and benefit from the dynamic partners who came together to make this dream a reality," said PEBC President and CEO Sue Sava.

Studies confirm that highly qualified teachers create the largest outcomes for students, and the benefits of a great teacher last throughout a student’s life. Yet, Colorado - like states across the nation - faces a teacher shortage. 

According to CDE’s survey data for the 2018-19 school year, the state’s schools had to fill 7,773 teacher vacancies. Districts hired more than 900 long-term substitutes, retired teachers or emergency hires to fill the gap, while 264 positions remained unfilled all year. 

This shortage hits particular subjects and rural areas the hardest, with special education experiencing the largest subject area shortage; small rural districts filled more than half of their teaching vacancies with long-term substitutes or other emergency hires. Compounding this issue, many districts struggle to find teachers who reflect the cultural and linguistic diversity of Colorado’s increasingly diverse student population.

“This important partnership brings together a broad cross-section of education institutions, business, government, philanthropy and nonprofit stakeholders, which speaks to the broad and widespread commitment to the next generation of teachers,” said Rose Community Foundation’s senior program officer Janet Lopez.

In 2017, the Colorado General Assembly passed HB17-1003, which required the CDHE and CDE to produce an action plan to address teacher shortages. Among many proposed solutions, the plan suggested launching a statewide public awareness campaign like TEACH Colorado to help reverse trends.  

All 55 educator preparation programs in Colorado and 178 school districts have been invited to participate and benefit from the shared resources and communications. 

All media should reference the one-stop-shop web portal for prospective teachers: www.colorado.teach.org

Media inquiries

For more information, check out our press page: https://colorado.teach.org/press