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Fingerprinting for Field Experience Educators (Student Teachers)
Field Experience Student: often referred to as a "student teacher," this is an individual participating in field-based placements in school settings who is working toward meeting requirements to qualify for a future credential as a teacher.
Educator Preparation Program: a Colorado traditional program at an institution of higher education approved by the Colorado State Board of Education for the preparation and eventual licensure of educational professionals.
Criminal History Check: a nationwide fingerprint-based criminal history check.
Background Investigation: a detailed investigation conducted by the Colorado Department of Education's Enforcement Unit of events or incidents in an applicant's past which may meet one or more of the Colorado legal definitions to disqualify an applicant to receive a credential. Click for more information on what might disqualify you from licensure.
The Colorado legislature has enacted changes to procedures for fingerprint-based criminal history checks for field experience students who are enrolled in an approved Colorado educator preparation program. These changes allow the results of criminal history checks obtained by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to be routed to CDE and for CDE to make the results available to authorized agencies.
For field experience students, this means that when you submit fingerprints for this reason your criminal history result can be accessed by both:
The Colorado educator preparation program where you are enrolled, and
The school district(s) and/or charter school(s) where you will be placed for field-based learning.
Most important: Although CDE will receive the criminal history information from CBI/FBI, CDE will not complete a background investigation based on the information received (unless you have submitted an application for a credential). CDE will act only as pass-through for criminal history information for your educator preparation program and/or the school district(s)/charter school(s) in which you are placed. This allows the educator preparation program and/or the school district/charter school placing you to make an informed decision when placing you as a field experience student.
This process may be helpful in a variety of ways:
CDE will be authorized to act as a repository for criminal history information for criminal history information submitted by field experience students. CDE will make that information available to authorized parties through a single point of contact.
School districts and charter schools will use their existing eLicensing Verification Access to verify criminal history information for field experience students placed in their schools.
Field experience students who have a criminal history will know earlier in their program whether a review of their background may need to be conducted upon their application for a license.
This process may reduce the number of times educators must be fingerprinted as they move through their program.
When criminal history information is returned, CDE may post a warning status to the field experience student's COOL account, which may indicate "Enforcement Review Needed." If we receive no criminal history information from the CBI/FBI, we will post the status of "Cleared FP Background Check". A blank status will indicate that CDE has not received any result from both the CBI and the FBI. As stated previously, in cases where a background investigation is necessary, we only begin that investigation after the submission of a qualifying application. This background investigation process can take months (and in rare cases, years) before a final disposition is made. Click here for a detailed list of the different types of statuses and what they mean.
You must be enrolled in an approved traditional Colorado educator preparation program and know where you'll be placed in a field-based learning experience in a public school before you can be fingerprinted as a Field Experience Student.
- Create your lifetime account in the COOL eLicensing system or verify that you are able to log in to your existing account if you have already registered. If you do not complete this step, CDE will not have your account in which to file the results.
- Gather the following:
- A digital image of your valid college/university student ID card which clearly displays your student ID number
- The name of the school district(s) or charter school(s) where you will be or have been placed in for your field experience
- Complete the "Programs" section in your COOL account. (Log in to COOL via the button above, select "My Profile" in the blue header (above your name) and then "Programs" in the Preparation section.)
- Schedule your fingerprinting appointment with one of CBI's approved fingerprinting vendors.
I am the Licensing/Certification Officer of a Colorado Educator Preparation Program - How do I Use eLicensing Verification Access?
eLicensing Verification Access allows a certification/licensure officer at Colorado Educator Preparation Program (EPP) to access criminal history information based on the fingerprint results submitting by their students who are participating in field placements in Colorado schools.
eLicensing Verification Access Requirements
- Access may be granted to certification/licensure officers of a Colorado approved educator preparation provider who supervise students participating in field placements in Colorado schools. Access is not guaranteed and is solely at the discretion of CDE.
- CDE recommends that this access be restricted to only the certification/licensure officer.
- To obtain access, you must submit a complete "User Access" application (go to COOL and select the "Non Educator" link in the footer) and you must be approved by CDE as an Educator Preparation Program Licensing Coordinator.
- You must provide and be able to access an email account in your name from your college or university's domain. Use of personal email accounts will result in denial or revocation of access.
- You must possess your field placement student's college/university ID number to conduct a check.
- Access will expire each year on your birth date (this means that for the first year, access will be valid for less than one year) and can be renewed yearly by submitting a new "User Access" application. We do not accept forms via email and all applications for access and renewals must be done via the COOL system.
- If you hold a credential with CDE (teacher license, substitute authorization, etc.), the account used for eLicensing Verification Access will be separate from your personal account and registered under your professional email. If this is the case, CDE will distinguish the 2 accounts and notify you via email.
eLicensing Verification Access Roles and Responsibilities for Educator Preparation Program Licensing Coordinators
- Most Importantly: Although CDE will receive criminal history information from the CBI/FBI, this does not mean that a field experience student will undergo a background investigation based upon the information received. CDE cannot conduct a full background check until the candidate submits an application for a credential for which they fully meet the requirements. CDE will act only as a pass-through of criminal history information, which will allow the educator preparation program and school district/charter school to make an informed decision when placing a field experience student.
- Each of your students must register their own account in CDE's eLicensing system prior to completing the fingerprinting process. Your students may set up their account at any time and we recommend that they use a personal email account that they check often rather than one issued by the school. Failure to register an account in the system will likely require that student to complete fingerprinting a second time once the account has been registered.
- Each student must have an assigned field placement in an educational setting prior to fingerprinting. When submitting fingerprints as a field experience student, Colorado statute requires that field experience students provide detail for the school or district where they will be placed.
- Your field placement students will complete the "Programs" section of their COOL account profile, where they will identify their Colorado preparation program, include their student ID field and field placement information and complete a self-disclosure. This will allow you, as the identified EPP, to view their criminal history information.
Applying for eLicensing Verification Access
- To obtain access, you must select the "Non Educator" link in the footer of the COOL login screen, confirm your role and then complete and submit the form to be approved by CDE as a Licensing Coordinator (LC), School District Official (SDO), Authorized User (AU) or an Educator Preparation Program Licensing Coordinator (EPP/LC).
- Note: "Non Educator" simply means that you are applying for administrative access (regardless of whether you hold an educator credential or not).
- Gather required documentation:
- An image of a valid government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license or passport).
- An image of the front and back of a valid college/university identification badge. If your employer does not issue identification, please substitute another document confirming your employment at the university.
- A completed EPP authorization form dated within the past 60 days (please note that outdated or incomplete forms will be returned and will not be used to grant access).
- Upon determination of qualification, CDE will create a COOL account for you and contact you with log in information. (When renewing, CDE will contact you when access has been renewed or restored.)
Q. I am a student currently enrolled in an approved Colorado teacher preparation program, and I currently hold a valid substitute authorization, do I need to be reprinted for student teaching?
A. No, if this is the case those fingerprints suffice for both. However, your licensure officer will not be able to see your background results as fingerprints submitting for the Educator Licensing Act cannot be used for this purpose. They can however, look you up in the public lookup to verify that you are a current holder of a substitute authorization as CDE does not issue any credentials to those who have not cleared the background check.
Q. I am a student currently enrolled in an educator preparation program and I am applying for a Temporary Teacher Eligibility (TEE) authorization. What should I do?
A. If this is the case, submit your fingerprints for CDE Licensure rather than for student teaching.
Q. I am a student currently enrolled in an out-of-state educator preparation program but I am student teaching in Colorado. What should I do?
A. Do not submit fingerprints for this purpose as this statute is only for those enrolled in an approved Colorado educator preparation program. You will need to work with the school district or charter school that is placing you to determine how they want to conduct your background check. Some districts will require that you apply for, and be granted, a Colorado substitute authorization (usually a one-year authorization) before they will place you while others may fingerprint you under the non-licensed statute or by utilizing the V.E.C.H.S. program. Contact them before proceeding.
Q. I am the licensure officer and I can't view one of the records from one of the students enrolled in our preparation program, what should I do?
A. Confirm with your student that they (1) completed the "Programs" section of their COOL account profile; (2) that they identified the correct college/university; (3) that they entered their correct and complete school identification number; and (4) that they submitted fingerprints for "Field Services" purposes. All of these criteria are required for the system to associate your student to your program, and the number is how you search for them. If all four are true and your eLicensing Verification Access is current, send an email to CDELicensingBackgroundUnit@cde.state.co.us with a detailed description of your issue so that we may research it.