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Educator Talent - Policy Updates

This webpage offers an overview of legislation passed in 2018 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 Feedback

The State Board of Education noticed rulemaking for the rules for educator licensure, endorsements, and effectiveness at their February 2019 meeting.  Public comment on any of these rule sets can be submitted online via the Educator Talent Rules Feedback Form through March 22, 2019.  After that date, comments may be submitted directly to the Board via e-mail.  A public hearing will take place on April 10, 2019 at 1:30 pm.

Process for requesting new or revised Educator Talent rules

The Educator Talent Division has outlined the process for ensuring that updates to licensure, endorsement, and educator effectiveness administrative rules are made as a result of a comprehensive needs assessment and stakeholder engagement. The State Board of Education's authority to approve rules is governed by both the Administrative Procedures Act and the State Board's Operating Procedures. Typically, a minimum of four months (6 to 9 months is more common) is required to establish new State Board rules or revise existing rules. To change a rule, add a new endorsement or for general information visit the Educator Talent Rules Process webpage to learn about the process and download the necessary forms to sponsor a proposal.

  • New English Learner Professional Learning Requirements - In order to ensure that all Colorado educators are well equipped and able to teach Colorado's diverse student population, the Colorado State Board of Education approved new rules for educator licensure in 2018.  The new rules include four quality standards and eight elements for supporting the learning of culturally and linguistically diverse students that educators must meet. 

Educator preparation programs will be required to align courses to the new standards and professionally licensed educators endorsed in elementary, math, science, social studies, or English will have associated professional learning requirements for licensure renewal. 

Educators, districts/BOCES, and educator preparation programs can find tailored and comprehensive information about the new requirements on the English Learner Educator Licensure Requirements webpage.

  • New Endorsement:  Middle School Math (grades 6-8) - The Colorado State Board of Education approved the issuance of a middle school math endorsement for teacher licensure in 2018.  Individuals may qualify for this endorsement by degree, 24 semester hours of coursework (as determined by a review of official transcripts), or by passing the PRAXIS 5169 exam (minimum score required: 165).  CDE is presently working with Colorado institutions of higher education and designated agencies for alternative preparation to "fast-track" the establishment and approval of programs for the endorsement.

  • Additional Pathways for SSP/School Counselor and SSP/School Nurse - The Colorado State Board of Education has expanded the rules for the issuance of a special services provider (SSP) license to allow additional pathways for individuals to obtain a school counselor or school nurse endorsement.

School Counselor (1 CCR 301-101 Rule 7.09) - Individuals who meet all three of the following requirements may qualify for an interim authorization with a school counselor endorsement:

  • a master's or higher degree in clinical counseling domain (e.g., mental health, clinical counseling, etc.); 

  • hold a valid LPC counseling license issued by the Colorado department of Regulatory Agencies; and

  • have three (3) or more years' experience as a licensed clinical counselor.

This interim authorization will be valid for one (1) calendar year and may not be renewed.  During the one-year period of time, the authorized school counselor must:

  • complete an approved induction program for SSPs/school counselors, and 

  • pass the PRAXIS 5421 exam (minimum score required: 156).

Upon expiration of the interim authorization and fulfillment of the exam and induction requirements, the authorization-holder may apply for a professional SSP license with a school counselor endorsement.  Please note:  Because this interim authorization may only be issued once, and because completion of an approved induction program is required, candidates must be employed by a school district or BOCES as a school counselor in order to receive the authorization.

School Nurse (1 CCR 301-101 Rule 7.05) - Individuals who meet the following requirements may receive an initial special services provider license with a school nurse endorsement:

  • hold a valid Colorado RN license issued by the Colorado department of Regulatory Agencies (or by a nursing compact state); and

  • have three (3) or more years' licensed nursing experience with school-age children.


  • 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 programs 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.  These rules are included in the current Educator Talent rules that will be heard at the April 2019 State Board of Education meeting.

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 visbility 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.

  • New English Learner Educator Licensure Requirements (1 CCR 301-37 Rules for the Administration of the Colorado Educator Licensing Act of 1991) -  In order to ensure that all Colorado educators are well equipped and able to teach Colorado’s diverse student population, the Colorado State Board of Education approved new rules for educator licensure in 2018. The new rules include four quality standards and eight elements for supporting the learning of culturally and linguistically diverse students that educators must meet. There are two primary pathways for educators to meet the new requirements:
  • The first pathway is through completion of an initial educator preparation program that addresses the new standards. 

  • The second pathway is through completion of professional development that addresses these standards.  This second pathway is only mandatory for professionally licensed educators holding endorsements in elementary education, math, science, English language arts, and social studies.  

Additional information regarding the requirements and available pathways is available on the English Learner Educator Licensure Requirements webpage.

Educator Shortage Funding Opportunities 

To help school districts, charter school and BOCES maximize the teacher shortage funding opportunities available and to see how they can be combined, each grant opportunity below will include the following icons to indicate: 

Funding opportunity for rural school districts 

Pending rule development

Grants available 

It can be combined with other funding opportunities

For a quick overview of available teacher shortage grants view the Teacher Shortage Funding Opportunities Fact Sheet.

Rural district, charter school, or BOCES within shortage area, in partnership with public or private institutes of higher education (IHE), may apply for funds to cover cost of attendance in approved educator preparation program.  For additional information, please visit Colorado Center for Rural Education's Stipends for Rural Educators webpage.   


The application process for Expanding Effective Teacher Residency Programs (HB 18-1189) is now closed.  Please look for additional communications regarding this funding opportunity in the Educator Talent Newsletter. 

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 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


Provides funds to great local Grow Your Own Educator programs in conjuction with the teacher of record program and license.  Grants are intended to cover the payment of the student's share of in-state tuition for up to 36 credit hours.  A total of $1 million is available for grants for up to fifty (50) students annually.  Each district may not hire more than two teachers under a teacher of record program per year. 

  • This bill will require rule making by the Colorado State Board of Education. These rules are included in the current Educator Talent rules that will be heard at the April 2019 State Board of Education meeting.
  • Additional information concerning the implementation timeline for the provisions of this bill will be available spring 2019.
  • Applications will be available annually beginning spring/summer 2019.

This bill also creates the Partnership for Rural Education Preparation at the University of Colorado-Denver to collaborate with other institutions on solutions to the rural teacher shortage.


$2 million has been provided by the state to invest in partnerships among educator preparation programs and schools, districts, or BOCES to invest in initiatives that address teacher shortages in Colorado.    


This grant program provides school districts, charter schools, and BOCES the opportunity to implement a wide variety of locally appropriate strategies to improve their ability to successfully retain teachers. A total of $2,742,557 is available for grants over three years (FY 2018-19 through FY 2020-21).  

  • 9 districts and BOCES were recommended for funding under this grant.
  • These recommendations will be presented to the State Board of Education for approval at the May 2019 meeting.


Stipends for teachers in rural areas for alternative preparation courses; concurrent enrollment certification, National Board Teacher certification, or special services provider certification.  Managed by the Colorado Center for Rural Education.  For additional information, please visit Colorado Center for Rural Education's Stipends for Rural Educators webpage


The 2017-2018 Colorado Center for Rural Education (CCRE) Stipend Report and Executive Summary are available below.  The 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.

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