Friday, August 3, 4:30-5:00, SUB Ballroom C, Theme: Profession

The state of Colorado continues to struggle with finding educators to fill vacant positions in the state's 147 rural districts. In recent years, rural school districts have been forced to operate without qualified a science, math or special education teacher for multiple years. The lack of educators available and interested in working in Colorado's rural schools has continued to exemplify the growing gaps between the "have" and "have not" school districts throughout the state.

In response, the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education (and their member higher education institutions) have worked to bolster the educator pipelines into the rural districts throughout the state. Specific efforts have been enacted to help retain veteran rural educators, expose emerging educators to potential careers in rural schools and support teacher candidates who are interested in completing their student teaching in remote and rural areas.

This presentation outlines the challenges and the ongoing solutions that are designed to support Colorado's rural districts and bolster the teacher pipeline to these areas. Included in this discussion is a critical examination of the problem, a review of the legislative and agency-driven solutions and recommendations for further needed action to resolve this ongoing problem.