You are here

Spark - May 2021

The Spark. A newsletter filled with information and inspiration for Colorado teachers.

Jump to a section:

Katy Anthes headshot during the Thanksgiving holiday message


Dear Educators,

It may not be popular, but I have to say that neither Superman nor Wonder Woman and not even Captain Marvel have ever held much fascination for me.

I’m just not a fan of those fantasy stories. I’m more of a realist. I like non-fiction books more than fiction, and my heroes are real people who work in hospitals and laboratories and schools. Especially schools.  

This year has been, by far, the most challenging of my career. I bet many of you would agree. At the same time, I’ve learned a lot, and I know you have too. You have worked through one roadblock after another, solved problem after problem and kept adapting and learning. 

And thanks to you, your students have also learned resiliency, self-regulation and agency. All traits that will serve them well through life.  

When this pandemic is in the history books, we will tell the stories of teachers' heroic work to support their students. You adapted your practice almost overnight, and day after day you dug deep into your energy reserves that were already stretched thin to keep your students engaged while they learned from home and after they returned to school. 

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and I hope you are showered with words of thanks from your students, families and community members because during this difficult year you have kept our children learning and in doing so helped entire communities continue to function. Please know how grateful I am for your incredible work this year, and how proud I am to serve our amazing educators in Colorado. 

In this edition of the SPARK, we have collected information about deals and discounts available for teachers this week, as well as our regular features on education-related legislation being considered and resources available for you and your classroom. I hope you enjoy reading it. Let us know if there are issues or questions you’d like us to address in a future edition of the SPARK.

Thank you, again, for supporting students in Colorado!


Be Well,



Return to top

Graphic for Teacher Appreciation Week 2021

Teachers spend a lot of their own hard-earned money for classroom supplies, and many companies are also aware of this and want to help. To share their appreciation, many businesses offer educators discounts and special deals not only during Teacher Appreciation Week but throughout the year.

To make it easy to take advantage of these offerings, we’ve put together a list of the deals and discounts on this webpage. Please note that some offers require a school or district ID to redeem.

For additional deals, visit or  Also, remember to check with your district for employee discount programs.

Thank you, again, for supporting students in Colorado!



Return to top


Graphic for Teacher Cabinet

The Education Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet seeks new members to join this esteemed advisory group to share their hands-on classroom experience while helping shape statewide education policy.

Cabinet members brainstorm solutions for some of the state’s most pressing educational challenges, such as addressing teacher shortages and retention, increasing achievement among all students and improving school safety. The advisory group is made up of teachers from around the state, representing small, medium, large, rural, suburban and urban school systems.

Commissioner Anthes created the Teacher Cabinet in 2017 to add educator voices to groups that already advise her on key education topics, including the Commissioner’s Superintendent Advisory Board and the Rural Education Council. The commissioner’s goal for creating the Teacher Cabinet was to connect directly with teachers who can offer their local perspective and ensure policy makers and legislators also hear the voice of practicing teachers.

To be considered for a cabinet position, candidates must complete an online application by Friday, Aug. 13. Please note that you will also need to email your résumé, narrative, signatures and letters of recommendation to



Return to top


Photo of Colorado's Capitol Building

In every legislative session, education bills are always a big focus. This year is no exception. Here are some bills that will have an impact on teachers:

  • HB21-1010Diverse K-12 Educator Workforce Report. This bill directs CDE and CDHE to create a report that, among other things, investigates the barriers to the preparation, retention, and recruitment of a diverse educator workforce and suggest strategies to increase diversity in the educator workforce.
  • HB21-1087Teaching and Learning Conditions Survey. Adds support professionals for participation in the biannual Teaching and Learning Conditions survey.
  • HB21-1104 - Professional Educator Licensure Renewal Period. This bill would extend the renewal period for professional educator licenses from five to seven years. 
  • HB21-1129 - Extend Deadline For Training To Teach Reading. This bill would extend the deadline for kindergarten through third grade teachers to complete evidence-based training in teaching reading until the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. Current law that was put in place under the revamp of the READ Act requires the training to be completed by the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.
  • HB21-1294 - K-12 Education Accountability Systems Performance Audit. This bill directs a performance audit of the statewide system of standards and assessments and the statewide accountability system.  
  • SB21-185 - Supporting Educator Workforce in Colorado. This bill allows a school district or charter school to employ someone who holds an adjunct instructor authorization to teach in all content areas. It also creates a new program that would allow participants to concurrently enroll in postsecondary courses in the two years directly following the year they were enrolled in the 12th grade if they are enrolled in the Teacher Recruitment Education and Preparation (TREP) program. Finally, it creates the educator recruitment and retention program to provide support to members of the armed forces, nonmilitary-affiliated educator candidates, and local education providers to recruit, select, train and retain highly qualified educators across the state.


Return to top

Graphic for 2022 TOY

Teachers can apply to become the 2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year, even if they haven’t been formally nominated. 
Becoming the Teacher of the Year is an amazing opportunity, just ask our 2021 winner, Gerardo Muñoz. "It has been such an honor to serve as Colorado's 2021 Teacher of the Year. Representing the 40,000 teachers in our incredible state has given me a chance to learn stories from all over the state and connect with people who are pushing my learning and inspiring me daily. It is truly a life-changing experience."
Additionally, the Colorado Teacher of the Year becomes the voice of the state's 55,000-plus teachers. The selected teacher becomes Colorado's nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition and will get to go to Washington, D.C., visit the White House and meet the president as well as attend the National Teacher of the Year gala. There is also a trip to NASA Space Camp as well as a visit to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game to participate in the College Football Playoff Foundation's Extra Yard for Teachers event.
Here is what the application process looks like: 
The form includes general information about you as well as information about your school and district. You will also need to write a professional biography and respond to five questions using the criteria provided.
 Applicants are also required to create and share the link to a one-minute video in which they address a critical national issue in education today and along with their proposed solutions.
Submit the following supporting materials via email to
  • Résumé
  • Three letters of support from a colleague, administrator, student or a student’s family member.
  • Publicity photo
  • Signatures from school principals and the district superintendent
Applications are due to by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 14. 
It is also not too late to nominate a colleague to apply for this honored position! Fill out this quick form by Tuesday, June 15.
To learn more about the program, visit the Colorado Teacher of the Year webpage.


Return to top

book logo


Equity Resources for Teachers

Tools and resources to help educators bring an equity lens to their systems, policies, and everyday work.

Professional Development Tool for Teachers

Educators and other K-12 professionals can search the Professional Development tool for events and on-demand resources, filtering by topic, target audience or office.


Return to top

< Return to The Spark