Teacher PREP (Teacher Preparation, Retention, and Empowerment Project) was a partnership between the Paraprofessional Resource and Research (PAR²A) Center at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD), as the lead agency in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and state designated agencies that offer alternative certification programs, to serve high-need charter schools and local education agencies (LEAs). The project provided a seamless transition for paraprofessionals, recent college graduates, mid-career professionals and unlicensed teachers (teachers who are teaching but not licensed to teach in subject area) to teaching positions in high-need schools in most endorsement areas through an alternative licensure program. The project prepared a total of 166 teachers over the five project years by recruiting and selecting 30 eligible candidates each year. To ensure project participants’ success and retention, the project provided a full array of student services including advising, coaching, tuition assistance, mentoring in school districts and guided induction to the teaching profession. All project activities were coordinated through a consortium to include LEAs, Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), alternative certification programs and the CDE to develop an alternative certification system that will sustain beyond the grant period. This grant was fully funded through the Transition to Teaching programs of the Office of Innovation and Improvement by the U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.
Project Outcomes – The project has resulted in increased capacity at several levels.
Internal capacity of high-need school districts has been increased by:
- Providing them with “home grown” teachers who will stay in the profession as a result of their deep roots in the community. The project has transitioned a total of 166 talented candidates representing 124 districts including 93 rural districts to teaching positions. We surpassed our target of 150 candidates!
- Identifying and training mentor teachers who support future generations of teachers. Our mentor training is available as a one credit graduate course both in a face-to-face and an online format. Click here for information on Mentor Training.
- Opening doors for continued professional development opportunities for the teachers and mentors.
Capacity of partner alternative licensure programs by:
Providing resources and supports that contribute to the rigor of their program. The project partnered with eight alternative licensure programs across the state including UCD’s own alternative licensure program ASPIRE to Teach. Our other partner alternative licensure programs were part of several BOCES, including: Pikes Peak; Centennial; Northeast; Southeast; San Luis Valley; and, Uncompaghre and we also partnered with Metropolitan State University of Denver. Many of our partner programs have utilized ASPIRE online modules as part of pedagogical instruction for the candidates in their alternative licensure program. Click here for information on ASPIRE modules.
Capacity in the state by:
Maintaining and enhancing existing partnerships and resources among districts, BOCES and alternative licensure programs.
Capacity of the field by:
Providing data to others who would build similar programs. Our rigorous evaluation results have confirmed the effectiveness of our project.
High need LEA is defined as a district that:
- serves not fewer than 10,000 children from families with incomes below the poverty line (as that term is defined in section 9101(33) of the ESEA), or for which not less than 20 percent of the children served by the LEA are from families with incomes below the poverty line; and
- has (1) a high percentage of teachers not teaching in the academic subjects or grade levels that the teachers were trained to teach, or (2) a high percentage of teachers with emergency, provisional, or temporary certification or licensing.
High-need charter school is defined as a school that:
- has 40% or more students on free and reduced lunches OR is physically located in a high-need school district.
- has shortage of highly qualified teacher as described above under (2).
For further information on the Teacher PREP project, email Ritu Chopra or call 303-315-6361.
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