Teacher preparation - best practices - teacher mentor grant program - license endorsement - teacher preparation program requirements - appropriation. The act directs the department of higher education and the department of education (departments) to work with the deans of the schools of education to review, research, and identify best practices in teacher preparation. By January 1, 2020, the departments must jointly adopt guidelines to assist educator preparation programs in adopting and implementing the best practices. The departments must also jointly prepare a report concerning the best practices, the guidelines, and regulatory and statutory recommendations to ensure that the policies and criteria for approving educator preparation programs align with the best practices. The departments must submit the report to the Colorado commission on higher education, the state board of education, and the education committees of the general assembly. By March 1, 2020, the educator preparation programs must each submit a report to the departments demonstrating how the program will implement the best practices over the following 3 years.
The act creates the teacher mentor grant program in the department of higher education to provide money to school districts, boards of cooperative services, and charter schools that partner with educator preparation programs to provide training and stipends for teachers who serve as mentors for teacher candidates participating in clinical practice. The act specifies requirements that a partnership's teacher mentor program must meet to receive a grant, including paying the mentor teacher a stipend. The act directs the departments to work with interested parties to identify best practice standards and guidelines for teacher mentoring and requires the department of higher education to adopt the standards and guidelines by January 1, 2020.
Beginning in the 2020-21 budget year, the department of higher education must annually prepare a report concerning implementation of the teacher mentor grant program and submit the report to the Colorado commission on higher education, the state board of education, the department of education, and the education committees of the general assembly.
The act relocates with nonsubstantive changes the existing collaborative educator preparation grant program and the "Rural Colorado Grow Your Own Educator Act", which provides grants for teaching fellowship programs.
The act directs the department of education to collaborate with the department of higher education to create a mentor teacher endorsement for teachers who hold master certificates and provide mentoring and oversight for teacher candidates. The act allows a teacher to use service as a mentor teacher as an approved professional development activity for license renewal.
Before passage of the act, the statute specified the requirements that an educator preparation program must meet to be approved. The act adds 2 requirements: An educator preparation program must include instruction in the science of reading and must include at least one full, continuous school year of clinical practice.
For the 2019-20 state fiscal year, the act appropriates $1,217,787 from the general fund to the department of higher education to implement the teacher mentor grant program.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)