SEHD undergraduate woman in classroom teaching children

The University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education and Human Development won a prestigious national award for promoting diversity in teacher education, the 2018 AACTE Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. AACTE is the largest and most significant professional association for teacher education.

“Diversity, social justice, and inclusion are key values held by CU Denver’s School of Education and Human Development,” said Rebecca Kantor, dean, School of Education and Human Development, CU Denver. “Our innovative and differentiated teacher preparation pathways develop excellent teachers who possess the cultural competence needed to serve students of diverse languages, cultures and abilities in urban and rural classrooms. We put our values into action by providing individuals from diverse communities and backgrounds, and in various stages of life, opportunities to pursue teaching careers in ways that fit their needs.”

A woman enrolled in NxtGEN teaches in an elementary school classroom.
A student in the NxtGEN Teacher Residency program in the classroom. NxtGEN is moving the needle on teacher diversity.

SEHD is being honored, in part, for its approach to addressing the teacher shortage and teacher turnover in Colorado. The school has launched multiple innovative pathways into teaching designed in close partnership with schools and districts.

SEHD has a successful track record identifying diverse talent, preparing individuals to teach and helping new teachers develop resilience for the pressures of teaching. The goal is to retain new teachers in the workforce.

Examples of Differentiated Teacher Preparation Pathways at CU Denver SEHD

Teacher Diversity: NxtGEN Teacher Residency
NxtGEN Teacher Residency is a four-year undergraduate program designed to attract, nurture and retain diverse teachers who may also be first-generation college students or from low-income communities. The program hits a sweet spot attracting students interested in returning to their home communities to teach.

The distinctive curriculum includes paid para-professional roles in Denver Public Schools, culminating in a final full-year teaching residency. Graduates earn a BA, a Colorado teacher license and a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education endorsement. To date, this program has prepared 211 teachers for high-needs Colorado schools.

Alternative Licensure: ASPIRE to Teach
This high-quality, low-cost, customized alternative licensure program is the largest program of its kind in the state and has prepared 925 teachers statewide since it launched in 2013. The program enables career-changers to earn alternative licensure while also earning a paycheck in a Colorado classroom.

Through ASPIRE to Teach, CU Denver is helping to make an impact on Colorado’s teacher shortage, especially in rural districts, by attracting experienced professionals from different fields and from various stages in life to the teaching profession.

A Residency Pathway to the Classroom: MA + Teacher Licensure
This program targets candidates who hold a BA in other fields and want to go into teaching. It is distinctive for providing deep apprenticeship experiences over a full year of school. This teacher residency program has been perfected and proven through 25 years of ongoing work with partner schools. Students learn from award-winning faculty and career teachers.

Rural Community College Pathway: Four-year education degree at Otero Junior College
Students earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education entirely at Otero Junior College’s 1,500‐student campus in La Junta, Colorado. During the first two years, students complete OJC courses; the third and fourth years are taught by CU Denver (in‐person and online). Seniors complete a full year residency program. A local rural residency coordinator facilitates school partnerships, provides intensive coaching, and supports a strong learning community. The program serves as a model of other rural communities that want to offer local teaching degrees.

SEHD’s teacher prep programs demonstrate excellence in multicultural education and diversity

Read AACTE’s news release and EdPrepMatters blog post to learn how this annual award recognizes the infusion of multicultural education and diversity concepts throughout all components of educator preparation in a school, college or department of education. The winners are selected according to rigorous standards by the AACTE Committee on Global Diversity. SEHD’s team will accept the award in March at AACTE’s 70th Annual Meeting.

Based in Washington, D.C., AACTE is a national alliance of 800 colleges and universities with educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom. The AACTE awards program has been recognizing excellence since 1996 in both member institutions and individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of educator preparation.

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