The Colorado Department of Higher Education has awarded nearly $2 million to 17 collaborative projects designed to recruit and retain more educators as part of the Plan Into Action grant. The program was established in partnership with the Colorado Center for Rural Education as part of House Bill 18-1332, which was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper this May 2018.
Plan Into Action grants fund deep, meaningful partnerships among EPPs and the school or school district(s) or BOCES they serve, focusing on one of the following strategies:
- Increase the number of teachers trained through traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs to include teacher residencies and Grow Your Own programs;
- Increase the number of dual licensure program offerings in teacher shortage areas;
- Increase the use of technology to support long-distance supervision and support for educator candidates and newly licensed educators.
- Align teacher preparation program content and endorsements with the needs and expectations of LEPs, and;
- Align teacher preparation programs with specific needs of local education providers and collaboratively implement innovations.
Supporting “grow your own” programs and improving teacher mentorship were two of dozens of recommendations outlined in a strategic plan and complementary report submitted to the Colorado state legislature on Dec. 1, 2017. Read the press release.
Plan Into Action Grant Awardees
Awardee: Fort Lewis College School of Education
Proposal Title: Southwest Rural Educator Recruitment & Retention Project
Award Amount: $125,000
School District Partners: Durango School District 9R
BOCES Partner: San Juan BOCES
Additional Partner(s): Southwest Boettcher Teacher Residency
Project Description: The partnership between Fort Lewis College (FLC) School of Education, San Juan Board of Cooperative Services (SJBOCES), member school districts1, Southwest Boettcher Teacher Residency (BTR), and Durango School District 9R propose several targeted recruitment efforts to increase the number and diversity of educators, particularly Native American and Hispanic educators, in high need endorsement areas in the Southwest portion of Colorado. The Southwest Rural Educator Recruitment & Retention Project will (1) build a coherent “Grow Your Own” Teacher Academy with experiential activities and 12 credits of online teacher licensure courses; (2) increase the number of dual endorsement candidates in identified shortage areas; (3) align educator preparation with specific needs of rural schools by increasing diversity of pre-service teachers’ placements and use of long distance observation technology.
Awardee: University of Northern Colorado School of Teacher Education
Proposal Title: Aspiring Teachers @ UNC: Growing Educators through Concurrent Enrollment
Award Amount: $120,324
School District Partners: Briggsdale School RE-10J, Brush RE-2J, Eaton RE-2, Estes Park R-3, Morgan County RE-3, Pawnee RE-12, Platte Valley RE-7, Prairie RE-11J, RE-1 Valley, St. Vrain Valley Schools RE-1J, Weld County RE-1, Weld RE-9, Weldon Valley RE-20J, Wiggins RE-50J
BOCES Partner: Centennial BOCES
Project Description: The overarching goal of the Aspiring Teachers Program @ UNC is to “grow our own” group of future teachers who more closely reflect and understand the population of the rural community in which they live. We aspire for this program to make a career in teaching more accessible to rural high school students through concurrent enrollment. Students will take two foundational teacher preparation hybrid courses and earn up to 6 credit hours. Through Aspiring Teachers at UNC, rural high school students will come to the UNC campus for two intensive face-to-face residencies for community building and curriculum instruction. The Aspiring Teacher Program will support students as they take their first steps toward becoming culturally aware, highly effective teachers who have the opportunity to return and give back to their own communities.
Awardee: University of Colorado Denver School of Education and Human Development
Proposal Title: The Partnership for Rural Educator Preparation (T-PREP): Developing ‘Grow Your Own’ Pathways for STEM and ECE Teachers in Rural Colorado
Award Amount: $124,999
BOCES Partners: South Central BOCES, Sante Fe Trail BOCES
Additional Partner: Colorado Rural Education Collaborative
Project Description: The scope of work proposed in this grant will deepen and expand existing partnerships between the University of Colorado Denver (UCD), community colleges and district partners in southeast and southcentral rural Colorado. This grant will address the need to prepare highly qualified teachers who will stay to teach and lead in rural communities by building on the success of inaugural grow your own elementary BA/licensure programs at Otero Junior College (OJC) in La Junta and Trinidad State Junior College (TSJC) in Trinidad. Specifically, the project will:
- Create four new rural pathways; an ECE pathway at TSJC, secondary math and science pathways and a dual license elementary/middle school math pathway at OJC
- Build recruitment pipelines from local high schools, paraprofessional and early childhood educators
- Provide scholarships to students in the pathways
- Provide professional development to rural teachers who host candidates
The immediate outcomes of this grant are sustainable pathways into rural teaching and rural district/communities with the capacity to partner in preparing teachers. The short and long-term outcomes are highly qualified teachers who are grown from the local community and who are committed to stay, teach, and lead in the community.
Awardee: Center for Rural School Health and Education at the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education
Proposal Title: Increasing recruitment of school mental health professionals in Southeast Colorado
Award Amount: $123,950
BOCES Partner(s): Southeast BOCES, Sante Fe Trail BOCES
Additional Partner(s): Colorado Rural Education Collaborative
Project Description: The goal of this proposal is to create a robust rural school mental health workforce in order to increase classroom teacher retention rates and meet the mental health needs of students. The Center for Rural School Health & Education (CRSHE) at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education along with the Southeast BOCES, the Santa Fe Trail BOCES, and the Colorado Rural Education Collaborative (CREC), will work together to build and sustain a rural school mental health workforce that can simultaneously meet the mental health needs of rural students and alleviate some of the pressures classroom teachers face in trying to meet these students’ emotional needs. Research shows classroom teacher retention rates are higher when schools provide sufficient support personnel. However, Southeast Colorado is facing extreme shortages in school psychologists, social workers, and counselors. In order to bolster teacher retention rates, we propose to increase the mental health workforce via three approaches: a rural immersion experience; an online professional learning community; and a mental health workforce strategy that culminates in a 5-year hiring forecast with cost-effective, innovative strategies to meet workforce demands in Southeast CO.
Awardee: University of Colorado Boulder School of Education
Proposal Title: Creating a Sustainable Teacher Force in Northeast Colorado
Award Amount: $124,661
BOCES Partner: NE BOCES
Project Description: This project builds on a successful partnership between the NE BOCES and the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education (SOE) supported by an initial CDHE grant that laid the foundation for our work together. The current proposal elaborates four strategies to address teacher retention and recruitment for this region: A Teacher Leadership master’s degree, with an initial focus on Social Emotional Learning; an on-line dual endorsement in Special Education and Teaching Culturally Diverse Students (CLD); a summer institute for new and veteran teachers; and an immersion program for prospective student teachers and field placement coordinators. Over the past few years, the NE BOCES has relied on hiring teachers through an alternative teacher preparation program that does not provide them with the necessary skills and experience. The focus of this proposed project is to provide new teachers prepared in this way with opportunities to attain the knowledge they need to successfully teach the increasingly diverse group of students coming into their schools. Through multi-pronged strategies and professional development experiences, we aim to provide necessary support for new and veteran teachers through necessary coursework, while also building a new pipeline of educators committed to rural schools.
Awardee: St. Vrain Valley Schools
Proposal Title: Pathways to Teaching (P-TEACH) Proposal
Award Amount: $125,000
Education Preparation Partners: University of Colorado Denver
Additional Partner(s): Front Range Community College, Google
Project Description: St. Vrain Valley Schools is the seventh largest school district in Colorado. Like many communities statewide, St. Vrain faces challenges in recruiting strong candidates for hard-to-fill positions, including those for Title I and bilingual programs, special education, early childhood education, and secondary math and science. To address these issues, St. Vrain is creating a Grow Your Own teacher recruitment and preparation program called Pathways to Teaching, or “P-TEACH”, in partnership with the University of Colorado Denver, Front Range Community College, and Google. The goal of the program is to inspire and prepare the next generation of teachers via concurrent enrollment pathways leading to a bachelor’s degree in education. The program will initially launch in fall 2018 with an early childhood education (ECE) pathway. Under this proposal, the district would expand P-TEACH to create additional pathways in special education, culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) education, and STEM. P-TEACH will be open to high school juniors and seniors and diverse students will be recruited for participation. The program will include 12 concurrent enrollment coursework credits in education and 12 credits in the academic core. Participating students (60 per cohort) will have access to fieldwork experiences, internship/externship opportunities, and postsecondary readiness activities.
Awardee: Regis University
Proposal Title: Project ASPIRE 2 Capacity
Award Amount: $123,926
School District Partners: Morgan County, Brighton 27J, and Moffat County No. 2 school districts
Project Description: Regis University, Morgan County, Brighton 27J, and Moffat County No. 2 School Districts are proposing improving teacher efficacy and retention through providing 45 teachers and 5 administrators with an Academic Certificate and/or CLDE added Endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (CLDE). This ambitious objective meets the first outcome for the evaluation process of the Plan into Action grant by establishing a sustainable partnership between the IHE, a high needs small Front Range district, and two rural school districts. This partnership is strengthened through leveraging the Plan into Action grant with the Federal TEACH grant, providing a large number of educators (50) with the skills needed to improve instruction for the ever-increasing number of English Learners (ELs) in their districts. Offering university graduate credit leading to an Academic Certificate and/or Endorsement in CLDE goes one step beyond professional learning for educators and administrators in rural and high needs districts, leading to teacher retention, improved salaries through graduate credit, and improved student achievement.
Awardee: Colorado College
Proposal Title: Proactive Positioning of Future Educators for Rural Community Success
Award Amount: $63,199
BOCES Partner: Southeast BOCES
Additional Partner(s): University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Project Description: An important element of any effort designed to support educator pipelines to rural school districts is the ability to provide pre-service educators an authentic opportunity to teach and contribute within the context of Colorado’s small, local communities. This project addresses this oversight through the development of a structured immersion activity for college students from both Colorado College and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in a collaborative partnership with Southeastern Board of Cooperative Education Services in southeastern Colorado. The goal of the collaborative partnership is to develop a strategic community education plan for each respective community.
Awardee: South Central BOCES
Proposal Title: Supporting Mentors and Mathematics Teachers in South Central BOCES
Award Amount: $115,909
Additional Partner(s): University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Generation Schools Network
Project Description: Building on a successful Math-Science Partnership grant awarded to South Central BOCES (SCBOCES), University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), and Generation Schools Network (GSN) in 2017-2018and a distance-learning grant awarded to the BOCES in 2016-2017 that provided distance learning technology to member districts, this project will address an immediate need in rural districts served by the SC BOCES. Our fundamental goal is to employ technology in developing a mentoring infrastructure that increases the capacity of in-service teachers to mentor early career teachers and pre-service teachers. Specific project sub-goals include: (1) supporting 35 pre- and in-service teachers through virtual and hybrid professional development opportunities; (2) building capacity in 10 in-service rural teachers to serve as mentors for 20 early career teachers; and (3) establishing a stronger recruitment pipeline from UCCS to rural school districts in Colorado facing teacher shortages, especially in the area of math. Project activities include a combination of face-to-face (e.g., on-site meetings, a four-day Summer Institute hosted by UCCS), and virtual professional development opportunities (e.g., virtual PLCs, asynchronous learning and coaching activities) throughout the year. This project will collectively address critical issues surrounding math teacher preparation, retention, and placement in rural southern Colorado school districts.
Awardee: Colorado Christian University
Proposal Title: Project LINK: Linking a Professional Learning Community (PLC) with Rural Novice Teacher Persistence
Award Amount: $106,515
BOCES Partner: Colorado River BOCES
Additional Partner: University of Denver
Project Description: Rural school districts are challenged to provide professional development to teachers, given financial limitations and access to resources such as tuition and the traditional delivery of a university course (Monk, 2007). The School of Education Professions at Colorado Christian University (CCU) is seeking to strengthen the persistence of novice rural Colorado teachers through funding from the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) Addressing Teacher Shortages – Putting the Plan into Action Grants. Beginning September 2018, CCU will partner with Colorado River BOCES to support 25 teachers currently participating in induction programs at either Garfield County School District 16 or Garfield County School District Re2. Through an increased use of technology, Project Link will enhance the current induction programs by providing long-distance supervision and support and an online professional learning community (PLC) that includes monthly professional development topics, mentoring support, and a graduate level 3 credit course. Based on six years of experience preparing teachers in rural schools through a fully online delivery model, CCU has established a successful track record for the implementation of this grant.
Awardee: Colorado State University Center for Educator Preparation
Proposal Title: Colorado State University and RE-1 Valley School District Mentoring Project: Supporting and Retaining Rural Teachers
Award Amount: $124,865
School District Partners: RE-1 Valley School District
Project Description: RE-I Valley School District and Colorado State University would like to engage in a partnership to address teacher recruitment and retention needs in one rural school district. To accomplish these needs, we seek to increase the use of technology to support long-distance supervision and/or support for educator candidates and newly licensed educators. The district superintendent indicates vacant positions annually. Once employed, there is need to support the district's induction and mentoring program through targeted support, which the superintendent leads. Finally, retaining quality educators in this rural area is a challenge. The district superintendent has a collaborative relationship with Colorado State University's Director of the Northeast Regional Engagement Center for the purposes of soliciting support from the Sterling community in conveying the Sterling area as a desirable place to live. We would like to propose the following collaborative project: 1) recruit teacher candidates (TCs) from Colorado State University to complete their student teaching experience at RE- I Valley School District, 2) support district mentors in targeted training to enhance their support of teachers new to the field and/or district, and 3) develop a self-care curriculum designed to support all teachers to create sustainability within the field using community support.
Awardee: Colorado Mountain College
Proposal Title: Growing and Strengthening a Rural Teacher Education Pipeline in the Western Rockies of Colorado
Award Amount: $79,500
School District Partners: Aspen 1, Buena Vista R-31 Eagle, East Grand, Garfield 16, Garfield RE-2, Lake County R-1, Roaring Fork RE-1, Salida R-32, West Grand 1-JT, Steamboat Springs RE-2, and Summit RE-1 school districts
Project Description: Colorado Mountain College (CMC) proposes to strengthen and expand the impact and effectiveness of its developing rural educator pipelines in the Western Rockies region of Colorado. In partnership with twelve local school districts, CMC intends to expand the support for its local yearlong teacher residency program and develop a “Grow Your Own” pipeline for educational paraprofessionals. CMC and our partner school districts intend to provide direct “flexible need” scholarships to students completing their final yearlong teacher residency, supportive honorariums for recruited mentor teachers, and supportive stipends for tuition costs for recruited paraprofessionals. In addition, CMC plans to undertake a series of recruiting and outreach meetings within the local community to encourage education paraprofessionals, local high school students, and local middle school students to consider entering education as a field. To support our paraprofessional’s success in our newly implemented “Grow Your Own” pipeline CMC intends to create a series of micro-credentials to allow those recruited paraprofessionals to grow their expertise using an incremental developmental model. Finally, CMC intends to develop a concurrent enrollment pathway to assist secondary school students interested in educational careers get an early start on their postsecondary training.
Awardee: University of Northern Colorado Center for Urban Education
Proposal Title: Growing Our Own for Urban Classrooms: The Paraprofessional-to-Teachers Pipeline
Award Amount: $125,000
School District Partners: Denver Public Schools, Aurora Public Schools, Adams 50, and Adams 14 school districts
Additional Partner(s): Arapahoe, Aurora, Denver, Front Range, and Red Rocks Community Colleges; and EdConnect
Project Description: The Center for Urban Education at the University of Northern Colorado Lowry Campus works to prepare teachers from underrepresented communities. The Center proposes this Growing Our Own for Urban Classrooms: The Paraprofessionals-to-Teachers Pipeline project to recruit, develop and retain a diverse teacher corps that is prepared to support strong learning outcomes for all students. Our proposal is a collaborative, innovative staffing solution for school districts that includes a grow-our-own focus and teacher residencies for paraprofessionals. It aligns teacher preparation efforts with specific needs of local education providers. The Center’s objectives include: providing targeted monthly outreach to the CUE Leadership Council—300+ school leaders who are mostly principals and human resources directors; expanding our “Grow-Our-Own” sustainable teacher pipeline through which graduates are hired into Partner Schools; establishing word-of-mouth campaigns and MOUs—particularly with Denver and Aurora public schools; strengthening partnerships with school counselors to support students who have expressed interest in becoming teachers; creating high quality branding, marketing and promotional materials; increasing participation in our annual conference that focuses on culturally responsive curriculum and instruction and recruiting new students; providing direct-to-schools professional development regarding culturally-responsive curriculum and instruction; and hosting open house recruitment events.
Awardee: Western State Colorado University
Proposal Title: Growing Our Own Future Educators Club
Award Amount: $96,500
School District Partners: Summit School District
Project Description: Twenty-five percent of Summit School District students speak English as a second language, and 40.5% of students identify as minorities. However, only 8% of teachers in the district identify as minorities and less than 10% are bilingual.1 To create a teaching work force that better reflects and meets the cultural and linguistic needs of the student population, and to provide guaranteed employment opportunities for Summit School District (SSD) high school students who want to become teachers and remain in the county, Western State Colorado University (WSCU) and SSD will collaborate to create a pipeline for bilingual high school graduates in SSD to pursue an undergraduate degree in education with a culturally and linguistically diverse endorsement at WSCU. SSD and WSCU will create a Future Educators Club that will provide engaging field experiences for high school students in SSD schools, activities with WSCU’s Future Educators Club, and visits to WSCU in Gunnison for both the high school students and their families. The Future Educators Club will work with the Pre-Collegiate Program and iCap in SSD to support high school students in the college application process. Through this grant and sustaining funds described below, two-to-four SSD high school students who are interested in becoming teachers will receive full tuition scholarships for all four years of their undergraduate degree program. Once on campus, WSCU will provide ongoing mentoring support for the SSD students, as well as continued interaction with SSD through the Future Educators Club and other partnership activities we create over time.
Awardee: Western State Colorado University
Proposal Title:Growing Our Own Paraprofessional Pipeline
Award Amount: $103,850
School District Partners: Summit School District
Project Description: Twenty-five percent of Summit School District students speak English as a second language and 40.5 percent of students identify as minorities, while only 8 percent of teachers in the district identify as minorities and less than 10 percent are bilingual. To create a teaching work force that better reflects the student population and to provide desired employment opportunities for paraprofessionals working in Summit County Schools, Western State Colorado University (WSCU) and Summit School District (SSD) will collaborate to create a pipeline for paraprofessionals in SSD to pursue teacher licensure with a culturally and linguistically diverse endorsement at WSCU.
To address both the shortage of bilingual teachers and the shortage of paraprofessionals in SSD, this pipeline will have two strands. Current paraprofessionals will earn their teaching licenses while continuing their employment with SSD as paraprofessionals. Additional paraprofessionals will be recruited from the bilingual community in the county and will both be employed as paraprofessionals in SSD and enrolled in WSCU’s teacher licensure program. All partnership program participants will be fully funded through this grant. Successful graduates of the program will be guaranteed employment as teachers in SSD.
Awardee: Public Education & Business Coalition
Proposal Title: Supporting and retaining urban teachers from preparation through induction
Award Amount: $124,605
School District Partners: Denver Public Schools, Aurora Public Schools, Jeffco Schools, Mapleton, and Adams 12 school districts
Project Description: The Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC), a Colorado 501(3) and state-approved educator preparation provider (EPP), is seeking funding in the amount of $124,605 to address Colorado’s teacher shortage. Supporting and Retaining Urban Teachers from Preparation to Induction will address the need to support teachers across the early years of their career with a blended coaching model that integrates both in-person and on-line observations, coaching, and feedback. Novice teachers can feel disconnected and overwhelmed by professional development that does not meet their needs. Novices who have received one-on-one coaching report that this was the most significant factors in their growth as teachers and their sense of efficacy, resilience and retention in the profession. Thus, PEBC proposes integrated coaching and support relevant to beginning teachers to foster teachers’ growth, impact, and desire to teach. This model allows for in person connections to build relationships, as well as online interactions supported with technology. PEBC will put plan into action by enhancing a residency model that has supported the initial development of more than 1,000 teachers and is directly aligned to the focus area to increase the use of technology to support long-distance supervision and support for educators.
Awardee: Public Education & Business Coalition
Proposal Title: Supporting and retaining rural teachers from preparation through induction
Award Amount: $124,160
School District Partners:
Proposal Description: The Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC), a Colorado 501(3) and state-approved educator preparation provider (EPP), is seeking funding in the amount of $124,160 to address Colorado’s teacher shortage. Supporting and Retaining Rural Teachers from Preparation to Induction will address the need to support teachers across the early years of their career with a blended coaching model that integrates both in-person and on-line observations, coaching, and feedback. Novice teachers can feel disconnected and overwhelmed by professional development that does not meet their needs. Novices who have received one-on-one coaching report that this was the most significant factors in their growth as teachers and their sense of efficacy, resilience and retention in the profession (Anthony, Gimber & Fults, 2013). Thus, PEBC proposes integrated coaching and support relevant to beginning teachers to foster teachers’ growth, impact, and a continued desire to teach. This model allows for in person connections to build relationships, as well as online interactions supported with technology. PEBC will put plan into action by enhancing a residency model that has supported the initial development of over 1,000 teachers and is directly aligned to the goal of longer-term retention of teachers via the focus area to increase the use of technology to support long-distance supervision and support for educators.