The bill requires the Colorado department of education and the Colorado department of higher education to create the framework for a grow your own educator program that includes the following provisions:
- Enrollment in a grow your own educator program at a participating institution of higher education;
- Employment with a school district or a district or institute charter school (charter school) under a teacher of record license during the student's final year of the grow your own educator program;
- Payment of tuition by the school district or charter school for up to the student's last 36 credit hours of the grow your own educator program;
- In exchange for payment of tuition, the student's commitment to work in the same school district or charter school for 3 years after completion of the grow your own educator program; and
- A state grant to the employing school district or charter school to pay a portion of up to the final 36 credit hours of the student's in-state tuition at the institution of higher education, limited to 50 new students annually, with a limit on the number of grants distributed to each school district and to institute charter schools.
Institutions of higher education and participating school districts or charter schools are required to enter into an agreement that includes provisions set forth in the bill. Further, school districts or charter schools and teachers of record employed by the school district or charter school are required to enter into an agreement that includes provisions set forth in the bill. The bill prioritizes the award of grants to participating school districts or charter schools first for graduates of Colorado high schools who commit to teaching in a community that is experiencing a teacher shortage in a grade level or content area and second to students who commit to teach in a rural school with a teacher shortage in a grade level or content area.
The department of education shall report to the education committees of the general assembly in any year in which a grant is awarded concerning information on students and school districts or charter schools participating in the program.
The bill establishes a teacher of record license for a student who has completed all or substantially all of the course work requirements for a baccalaureate degree, but has not completed teacher field work requirements. A student who holds a teacher of record license may be employed by a school district or charter school through the grow your own educator program or through a teacher of record program established in the bill. The student must work for a school district or charter school that has identified a critical teacher shortage and has a vacant position for which no other qualified applicant has applied. A teacher of record license is valid for 2 years.
The bill creates a second program that authorizes local education providers, as defined in the bill, to implement a one- or 2-year teacher of record program. As part of a teacher of record program, a local education provider, as defined in the bill, may employ a person holding a teacher of record license in a vacant position if there are no other qualified, licensed applicants to fill the position. The department of education shall report annually to the education committees of the general assembly concerning information relating to teacher of record programs.
The bill amends the special services intern authorization to allow the authorization to be renewed for a second academic year if the intern is employed by a school district or board of cooperative services and the intern has not completed a program of preparation for a special services provider due to unforeseen circumstances or hardship.
The bill amends the school counselor corps grant program to define 'school counselor' to include a person who holds a special services intern authorization. The bill amends the behavioral heath care professional matching grant program to include state-certified professionals qualified to provide services to children and adolescents.
The bill creates the partnership for rural education (partnership) at the Denver campus of the university of Colorado to collaborate with other institutions of higher education to bring customized solutions to local education providers experiencing teacher shortages. The partnership shall prepare and submit an annual report to the department of education, the department of higher education, and to the general assembly concerning data collected and strategies identified by the partnership to address teacher shortages in the state.
The bill make appropriations to implement the bill.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)