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Educator Talent - Policy Updates

This webpage offers an overview of legislation passed in 2017, 2018 and 2019 by the General Assembly and State Board of Education rule updates that will be implemented by the Educator Talent Division at CDE. For all other policy updates, please visit the CDE Policy and Funding webpage. Information regarding implementation, grant opportunities and tools and resources for districts are available on this page.

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Educator Talent Rules Updates: On Nov. 10, the Colorado State Board of Education approved revisions to the Rules for the Administration of the Educator Licensing Act of 1991 (1 CCR 301-37) and the Rules for the Administration of the Educator Recruitment and Retention (ERR) Program (1 CCR 301-113).

Created by Senate Bill 21-185, the ERR Program will support members of the armed forces and nonmilitary-affiliated educator candidates entering the education profession and local education providers to recruit, select, train and retain highly qualified educators across the state. Qualified applicants may apply to receive up to $10,000 in financial assistance towards educator preparation program costs if they commit to teaching in a rural district for three years. The application process will open by February 2022. Visit the Recruitment and Retention webpage for more information and updates.

Revisions to 1 CCR 301-37 include the incorporation of professional development requirements established during the 2020 legislative session and changing the duration of professional teacher, special services, principal and administrator licenses from five to seven years. Senate Bill 21-185 also allowed the expansion of content areas for which an adjunct authorization may be issued. Previously, adjunct authorizations were only issued in content areas not available on a teacher or special services license. Now, adjunct authorizations may be issued in any content area for which a person holds a bachelor’s or higher degree or has five or more years’ full-time experience. Details and the application checklist are available on the Initial Adjunct Instructor Authorization webpage.


  • HB 13-1219 Statutory Changes to K-12 Education, Educator Preparation Program Report - The Educator Preparation Program Report (EPP Report),  provides information about the effectiveness of programs that train teachers, principals and special service providers in our state.  Additional information, including an overview of the expanded version of the report, an interactive dashboard, report highlights and executive summary, are available on the Educator Preparation Program Report webpage.

  • SB 19-003 Educator Loan Forgiveness Program - This bill authorizes the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) to offer loan repayment on qualified loans for educators who serve in hard-to-fill positions in Colorado. Please visit the Colorado Department of Higher Education's website to learn moreProgram Update:  Due to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Colorado state budget, the Colorado Educator Loan Forgiveness Program did not receive an appropriation from the Colorado General Assembly for the 2020-21 fiscal year, and thus will be inactive for the 2020-21 fiscal year.  As such the program is not able to accept any applications nor make any awards at this time.

  • SB 19-190 Teacher Preparation Program Support - This bill directs the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Colorado Department of Education to work with the deans of schools of education to review, research, and identify best practices in teacher preparation with the intention that all educator preparation programs meet or exceed those best practices. The legislation also directs the department of education to collaborate with the department of higher education to create a mentor teacher endorsement for teachers.
  • HB 18-1309 Programs Addressing Teacher Shortages - During the 2018 legislative session, changes were made to state law related to programs to address the teacher shortage. This bill creates the teacher of record license and associated program to allow candidates who have completed all, or substantially all, of the required coursework for completion of a bachelor's degree but have not yet completed teaching field work requirements to be hired as teachers of record. CDE must create rules for the administration of the teacher record license and program.

Amendments were also added to the special services intern authorization, and changes were made to the definitions of 'school counselor' and 'school health professional' to include a larger subset of educators in the relevant grant programs. This bill also allows SSP intern authorizations to be renewed for a second year.

  • SB 18-229 Student Teacher Criminal History Checks - A new fingerprinting process for future educators who are completing field experience placements is now available. This new process aligns with SB 18-229 regarding fingerprinting for future educators who are enrolled in Colorado educator preparation programs and placed in school districts as student teachers or alternative candidates. While this new process will provide enhanced visibility of a field experience student's criminal history and potential barriers that their history may present in their pursuit of educational licensure, it is critical for for all stakeholders to understand that field experience students WILL NOT undergo a full background investigation based upon any criminal history results returned until they fully meet the requirements and submit an application for a CDE-issued credential. For details regarding this new process, visit the Fingerprinting for Student Teachers page.

Information on educator fingerprinting for the Colorado Applicant Background Services (CABS) is available on the CDE Licensing Fingerprint Requirements page.

2020-21 Educator Shortage Survey results now available - CDE surveyed the state’s school districts and BOCES about the employment of teachers and special services providers (SSPs) in the 2020-21 school year to provide a complete picture of how Colorado is being impacted by the educator shortage. View a summary of the 2020-21 state-level educator shortage results with information provided separately for teacher, SSP, building leadership (principal/assistant principal) and paraprofessional positions. Data is also presented by teaching subject area, SSP type and rural designation (small rural, rural, non-rural). Also available are the summaries of the 2018-19 shortage survey results and the 2019-20 shortage survey results. Detailed information for the 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21 school years about the number of positions filled by specific shortage mechanisms (including hiring long-term substitutes, retired educators, alternative licensure program candidates and emergency authorizations holders), the number of positions that went unfulfilled and recruiting strategies used is also available through the interactive dashboard and corresponding downloadable Excel files on the Educator Shortage Survey Results webpage.

Educator Shortage Funding Opportunities

  • Colorado Rural Teaching Stipend - The Colorado Center for Rural Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education encourage talented teacher candidates to student teach in Colorado rural school districts and to become a teacher in a Colorado rural school district.  The Colorado Rural Teaching Stipend provides student teachers in rural districts with up to $4,000 of financial support during their final field experience.  Visit the Colorado Rural Teaching Stipend webpage for details including the application and eligibility requirements.
  • HB 18-1189 Expanding Effective Teacher Residency Programs (PDF) - The goal of this program is to identify and communicate to school districts, charter schools, and BOCES the best practices, effective strategies, and critical components of effective teacher residency programs and thereby facilitate expansion of the effective teacher residency programs across the state. This bill provides funds to CDE to contract with institutes of higher education (IHEs) and alternative teacher programs who are currently operating effective teacher residency programs with local education providers (LEPs). The IHEs and alternative programs will expand their respective programs with other LEPs as pilot programs that must include specified components. CDE will annually submit a report to the State Board of Education, Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Colorado Department of Higher Education, Governor's Office, and education committees of the General Assembly on the effectiveness of the program. 

The application process for Expanding Effective Teacher Residency Programs is now closed. The following IHEs and alternative teacher preparation programs were awarded grants to be implemented over three years.

  • Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC): $264,000
  • University of Colorado Denver: $205,000
  • Western State Colorado University: $129,047

The 2017-2018 Colorado Center for Rural Education (CCRE) Stipend Report and Executive Summary are available below. The CCRE Stipend Report provides a comprehensive review of each of the four stipends CCRE has awarded to rural educators since January 2017 (Colorado Rural Teaching Stipends, Concurrent Enrollment Educator Qualification Stipends, National Board Certified Teacher Stipends, and Rural Alternative Licensure Stipends). The Executive Summary summarizes key points of the report in a one-page handout.