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Diverse and Learner-Ready Teachers Initiative

In 2014, the CDE, in conjunction with many stakeholders across Colorado engaged teachers of color to identify strategies that would support the diversity of our educator workforce. The result was a report titled Keeping Up with the Kids, which supports several strategies for the state of Colorado to consider and implement to support the diversification of the teacher workforce. 

To compliment that work, in March 2018, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) engaged ten states in their Diverse and Learner-Ready Teachers (DLRT) Initiative. Over 30 national organizations collaborated to support the work of DLRT.  This network worked to revise, enact or remove state and local policies that address specific challenges for diversifying the educator workforce and ensuring all educators are culturally responsive in practice.  Click here to learn more about the CCSSO DLRT Initiative.

The Colorado DLRT team started with ten members that attended national CCSSO convenings, obtained coaching with a national expert, and conducted countless meetings over a two-year period to develop a strategy to support districts to address systemic racism that impacts teacher diversity and student engagement.  Since January 2020, fourteen (14) district and BOCES teams have participated in a 3-part professional learning series, Equity for Teachers and Students, where they explored issues of equity through the lens of race with the goal of supporting leaders to create policies that enact equity and encourage the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce in support of all teachers and increased student success.

CCSSO Vision and Guidance 

The CCSSO report, Vision and Guidance for a Diverse and Learner Ready Teacher Workforce outlines the recommendations the network has set forth. 

CCSSO DLRT Teacher Pipeline Series Document Briefs

As part of the CCSSO DLRT Initiative, the Communications and Advocacy Work Group identified the need for developing a common language for policymakers around diverse teaching and learning.  The group worked to address this need by developing two resources.  First, they collaboratively assembled the following definitions for two key terms - teacher diversity and culturally responsive practice:

  • Diversity can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different.  The dimensions of diversity include race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture, religion, mental and physical ability, class, and immigration status.  Teacher Diversity refers to the representation of dimensions of diversity in the collective makeup or pool of individuals within the K-12 public school teacher workforce.  The work of the CCSSO DLRT Initiative focuses specifically on increasing the racial diversity of the teacher workforce.
  • Culturally Responsive Practice in the classroom refers to both: 1) the use of cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning encounters more relevant to and effective for all students; and 2) the embodiment of attitudes and dispositions that empower students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes.  The work of the CCSSO DLRT Initiative focuses specifically on increasing the culturally responsive practice aptitude of the teacher workforce.

​Based on these definitions, group members developed a series of short papers that would address how these two terms relate to nine key aspects of the teacher pipeline:  Accountability, Compensation, Data Systems, Induction-Mentoring, Preparation, Recruitment, Retention, Student Demographics, and Well-Rounded Education.  These papers form a series that seek to provide both language and rationale to state policymakers as they work to incorporate teacher diversity and culturally responsive practice in policy initiatives across the spectrum of teacher pipeline issues.  

The Colorado DLRT Team

Amie Baca-Oehlert • President Colorado Education Association

Mary Bivens • Director, Educator Development, Colorado Department of Education

Erin Brophy-Lindo • Human Resources Director, Aurora Public Schools

Carla Cariño • Teacher, Social Studies, North High School and 2019 Commissioner's Teacher Cabinet Member

Floyd Cobb • Executive Director, Teaching & Learning, Colorado Department of Education

Carolyn Haug • Director, Research & Impact, Colorado Department of Education

Jingzi (Ginny) Huang • Director, School of Teacher Education & Associate Dean, College of Education & Behavioral Sciences, University of Northern Colorado

Annette Konoske-Graf • Senior Program Manager, TEACH Colorado

Reneé Lovato • Operations Coordinator for the Associate Commissioner of Educator Talent, Colorado Department of Education

Colleen O'Neil • Associate Commissioner of Educator Talent, Colorado Department of Education

Joshua Quick • Director of Professional Practice, Colorado Education Association

Christina Randle • Teacher, Soaring Eagle Elementary School, 2019 Commissioner's Teacher Cabinet Member and 2018 Colorado Teacher of the Year