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Educator Talent COVID-19 FAQs

Overview

Our staff has received numerous inquiries regarding the impacts of COVID-19 as it relates to several educator talent initiatives such as to educator preparation, educator effectiveness, and licensing. In response, we've created the Educator Talent COVID-19 FAQ webpage to provide timely information on our most frequently asked questions. Updates and additional program and/or policy guidance related to the impact of COVID-19 is also available on CDE's COVID-19 Resources for Schools webpage.

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How do COVID-19-related closures impact access to Praxis exams?

With testing center closures, ETS has provided relief in the following ways:

  • Waived rescheduling fees for candidates whose scheduled exams were canceled during this time.
  • Temporarily reduced the price of practice tests by 30% and extended the subscription to 180 days and 15 uses.
    • Candidates can enter the code PRACTICE at checkout to receive the discount.
  • Expand testing windows permanently, beginning in September 2020, to help alleviate testing capacity concerns.
  • PRAXIS at Home - a new service that allows teacher candidates to take many of the same tests offered in testing centers online through a collaboration with Proctor U.
    • To reschedule from a test center to an at home test, contact Praxis customer support from Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. ET, at 1-800-772-9476 to reschedule free of charge. You must contact customer support at least three days before your test date, not including the day of your test, in order to reschedule to an at home appointment. Important note: Rescheduling through your ETS account will result in a non-refundable rescheduling fee.

For the latest information or to register for PRAXIS at Home, please refer to the ETS website.

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What happens when a candidate, due to COVID-19-related closures, is not able to take the PRAXIS test(s) needed to obtain a license?

CDE invites all first-time licensure applicants -- including recent Colorado graduates, Colorado alternative teacher candidates and holders of third TEE authorizations -- seeking an initial license to submit applications sans test score reports, which we will hold open through Nov. 30, 2020.* This will allow:

  • Districts to verify background checks (and CDE to investigate backgrounds, as necessary)
  • Districts to verify a candidate's pending application
  • Candidates time to take the requisite exam(s), upload the score report(s) into their application and receive an initial license.
  • Candidates to meet in-field requirements for the December 2020 HR data submission/report.

*This provision applies to in-state candidates who only are missing test scores. Applications submitted with other or additional deficiencies may be determined to be incomplete and may not be granted this extension.

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Test scores are required for program completion. As an Educator Preparation Program (EPP), can we sign the APV when a candidate completes the program but hasn't completed a required Praxis content exam?

For traditional candidates, EPPs may complete the form as usual, but should check the "no" box and, in the space provided, indicate "Needs PRAXIS exam(s) / Delay due to COVID-19." This will allow the candidate to apply for a license and have until Nov. 30, 2020 to complete the required exams(s) (see preceding question). Additional licensure-specific FAQs may be found here.

For alternative candidates, this would apply only to those needing to take and pass the PRAXIS 5354 special education exam, and program staff may complete the APV as indicated above. (Please contact CDE's director of licensure, Tanya Klein, if you discover an outlier situation.)

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How do we address student teachers and/or residency candidates who were completing their final experience this semester with school closings due to COVID-19?

On March 12 the Colorado Department of Higher Education, in collaboration with CDE, provided guidance to all deans of educator preparation programs on how programs have the ability to determine that a candidate's quantity and quality of clinical experiences are sufficient prior to graduation and recommendation for licensure. Institutions of higher education themselves have the best ability and decision-making around program completion. The departments purposefully addressed this guidance to the deans of the Schools of Education so that each institution can work with all of their educator endorsement programs for local discussions and determine consistent practices during this time. All questions about specific endorsement programs should be directed to School of Education leadership.

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           Where do I find information that CDE is sharing with schools and districts on COVID-19?

CDE has a collection of fact sheets and guidance for local school districts, parents and students on our COVID-19 Resources for Schools website.

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Will the deadline for educator preparation programs to align to the 90 Clock Hours of English Learner Standards be extended due to the suspension of in-person learning?

Programs that have already submitted and are in the review process may see a delay in their approval if closures impact access to peer reviewers. Educator preparation program (EPP) submissions for these standards have been going for nearly two years, so there are few programs left for approval by the final deadline of June 30, 2020. We will work individually with the handful of programs remaining to meet this deadline or determine an extension if needed.

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How can our alternative teacher program support our candidates during this time of in-person learning suspension and the transition to remote and distance learning?

Continue coaching and mentoring support through remote options as teachers shift their instruction online. Think about how to adjust your remaining coursework for the program for the candidates' own remote learning opportunities, reflective coaching conversations on digital platforms in lieu of face-to-face observations, an adjusted timeline that could extend into the summer months or continue into the fall semester. CDE will continue monthly Office Hours, or more often if needed, for our alternative programs to problem solve and brainstorm on innovative solutions and flexibilities for our alternative preparation programs.

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Will there be an extension for the Title II IPRC due to COVID-19 closures?

Yes, the U.S. Department of Education has issued an extension for the Title II IPRC (Institution and Program Report Card). The new due date is Friday, May 29, 2020. All Title II contacts should have received an email from Title II on March 20, 2020, granting this extension.

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Will there be an extension for the Designated Agency Data Collection (DADC) due to the transition to remote and online learning?

For designated agencies that need additional time to complete the DADC, the deadline has been extended to Sept. 30, 2020. Please note that submitting your data earlier will allow you to finish the 2019-2020 collection prior to beginning to collect new data for the 2020-2021 academic year, as well as allow you to avoid adding to your tasks to complete during the busy beginning of the next school year.

What does the Governor's Executive Order say about Educator Effectiveness?

Governor Polis on April 1 suspended the requirements of the state law for the 2019-2020 school year on performance evaluations. This includes all the legal requirements for Colorado school districts, charter schools, and BOCES based off S.B. 10-191 for licensed personnel.  This suspension of this school year allows schools and districts to focus on providing alternative learning opportunities for their students.  Each LEA has the autonomy through local control to finalize none, some, or all of their educators' evaluations for the 2019-2020 school year.  For further guidance on local decision making, you can find further guidance here.

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Will districts, charter schools and BOCES be required to submit educator effectiveness ratings next year in the 2020-2021 HR Collection?

No. The Governor's Executive Order pauses the requirement on districts, charter schools and BOCES (together, “Local Education Agencies or LEAs”) to annually evaluate licensed personnel this year (2019-2020). State Board of Education rule, 1 CCR 301-87 (6.01) sets forth the requirements for the collection and reporting of educator effectiveness measures. CDE will not request educator effectiveness data in the 2020-21 HR Collection, and, instead, will allow and recommend that districts zero-fill the educator ratings fields in the 2020-21 HR Collection.

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May a district, charter school or BOCES still complete educator evaluations for the 2019-2020 school year?

Yes, LEAs may choose to complete the educator evaluation process for all or some educators.

To be clear: All the Executive Order does is suspend the state statutory requirement that LEAs evaluate licensed personnel for the 2019-2020 school year. Whether an LEA may finalize evaluations for some, all or none of its teachers, administrators and special services providers in the 2019-2020 school year—for purposes of improving instruction or making personnel decisions—is up to the LEA. An LEA's options may vary depending on the terms of its evaluation system and any collective bargaining agreement. If uncertain of any question regarding educator effectiveness at the local level, an LEA should consult with its legal counsel.

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*NEW* What options are available in the Colorado Performance Management System (COPMS), also referred to as RANDA, for an LEA who may choose to evaluate none, some or all of their educators this year?

CDE has prepared guidance for the 160+ districts/BOCES who use COPMS (RANDA) as their evaluation platform to help finalize any evaluations and to close out the 2019-2020 evaluation year. This guidance will help if a district wants to finalize evaluations for all or some of their educators but needs to make adjustments based on allowed flexibilities for this evaluation year. For example, a district may only want to evaluate on the four rubric standards and not on measures of student learning or to adjust their measures from what was planned. These guidance documents will have the information to support LEA decisions and to close out the 2019-2020 evaluations properly within the COPMS (RANDA) system.

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Do LEAs have to give educators their final summative rating two weeks before the school year ends?

No. The Governor's Executive Order suspends this and all requirements from SB 10-191 to allow flexibility for this school year. However, LEAs may still choose to do this if they wish.

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What is the impact if you have a probationary teacher who could be earning their third consecutive year of effective evaluation ratings to move them to non-probationary status if rehired for the next school year?

Although the statutory requirements are paused, LEAs may choose to complete an evaluation of any teacher, and may wish to consider the completion of the 2019-20 evaluation for a teacher to move to a non-probationary status if rehired. As a reminder, a probationary teacher acquires non-probationary status after “three consecutive years of demonstrated effectiveness, as determined through his or her performance evaluations and continuous employment.” § 22-63-203(1)(b), C.R.S.

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How are first- and second-year probationary teachers affected if they are not able to have the three consecutive years of educator effectiveness ratings?

Although the statutory requirements are paused, LEAs may choose to complete an evaluation of any teacher, and may wish to consider the completion of the 2019-20 evaluation for an educator in this situation. Additionally, there is the possibility that current year legislation (when resumed) may address this concern and consider the lack of a 2019-20 school year educator evaluation as no interruption in the consecutive year count for probationary educators. Please note this is not a final determination as it would have to be taken up upon the reconvening of the legislature for this spring.

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What is the impact on non-probationary educators who have one or two years of ineffective ratings?

LEAs may choose to complete an evaluation of any educator, including any non-probationary teacher who may lose his/her non-probationary status. As a reminder, a non-probationary teacher “who has had two consecutive years of demonstrated ineffectiveness” reverts to probationary status. § 22-63-103(7), C.R.S.

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Will principal and special service providers (SSP) evaluations also be suspended?

Yes. LEAs are not required to complete evaluations of principals or SSPs including reporting data to CDE. However, LEAs may choose to complete the evaluations of any educators.

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What about portability? In the 2020-2021 school year, what years' evaluations will non-probationary teachers applying for portability need to submit to the hiring LEA?

The portability statute provides that a non-probationary teacher may provide evaluation evidence for the “prior two years” and that the hiring district will grant non-probationary status based on “two consecutive performance evaluations with effectiveness ratings in good standing.” The statute simply does not address what should happen if a teacher seeking to retain non-probationary status with a new LEA lacks an evaluation for the 2019-2020 school year.

Our hope is that employers and applicants will work together to develop a shared understanding in such circumstances, including by using the two previous evaluations (2017-2018 and 2018-2019). Ultimately, hiring LEAs will make a local decision on what evaluations to accept from newly-hired non-probationary teachers for purposes of portability.

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What impact will the pause in state CMAS testing have on educator evaluations?

Per statute, state summative assessment data cannot be used unless it is available prior to the end of that school year. For summative assessment data, such as the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) statewide annual assessments, that comes to LEAs after the end of the school year, that data is used in the next year's measurement of student learning. Accordingly, the cancellation of the spring 2020 CMAS testing does not impact the 2019-2020 evaluation process.

The cancellation of the spring 2020 CMAS testing will impact the 2020-2021 evaluation cycle, however. Next year, LEAs will need to adjust their measures of student learning frameworks to not use CMAS data. State relief is not necessary in order for them to make these adjustments because statute requires use of state summative data only “when available.”

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Will the deadline for LEAs' assurances regarding educator effectiveness be extended?

Educator effectiveness assurances are due by July 1, according to state board rules. The assurances collected by July 1, 2020, pertain to educator evaluation practices planned for 2020-2021 school year.

CDE anticipates that the state board will extend that deadline this year in emergency rulemaking or that CDE will allow LEAs to adjust their evaluation systems for the 2020-2021 school year after they have submitted their assurances. This flexibility will give LEAs more time to change their frameworks for measures of students learning and measures of student outcomes for the 2020-2021 evaluation cycle (see previous question).

We are in the last year of our Quality Teacher Recruitment (QTR) grant and are worried we won't be able to spend down all of the funds by June 30 due to the closure of in-person learning. What can we do?

You can carry over these funds into 2020-21. You must submit the annual financial report to determine how much was not spent, and then we will include this amount on your FY20-21 grant award letter to reflect the total QTR funds you have to spend.

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What do we do if educators in induction programs are not able to complete all their hours with their mentor or finalize required training this school year due to the closure of in-person learning?

CDE recommends continuing these activities in the 2020-21 school year. Induction programs can be up to three years in duration. Even if your program was approved by CDE as a one- or two-year program, it is recommended that the timeline be extended to support new educators in these circumstances.

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What if an inductee is unable to finish the program due to school closures of in-person learning and is not returning to our district or school next year? Can we issue them a certificate of completion?

Programs have local discretion in this instance. If you believe the inductee satisfactorily completed most of the program requirements, you can issue a certificate of completion, however, a program is not obligated to do so. That educator can enter another induction program at their new school or district.

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As schools are using online and remote learning during the closures, can mentoring occur virtually as well?

Yes, CDE highly encourages remote coaching and support for all new teachers to continue during this time. As all teachers are being challenged during this time to support and continue educating our students, novice and beginning teachers will continue to need that extra support by administrators, colleagues and mentors.

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Can we eliminate or extend the options for the required professional development under the READ Act for teachers teaching in grades K-3 due to the closure of in-person learning?

SB19-199 requires that all K-3 teachers demonstrate they have completed the scientifically or evidence based practice training requirement under the READ Act by the fall of the 2021-2022 school year. The law provides a one year extension for districts to come into compliance with this requirement. As more details emerge about the impact of COVID-19, CDE will assess if extensions beyond the additional year are necessary.

What happens if I am unable to access a Praxis exam during the COVID-19 closures?

The following scenarios are provided so that individuals may identify themselves and then follow the associated guidelines in order to submit applications for the proper credentials.

***Registration is open for PRAXIS at Home, ETS's latest option for the nation's 30 most administered exams, with another 10 available beginning June 1. These and other exams will remain available to in-person testing once centers re-open (anticipated June 2020).***

Educators From Outside Colorado

I am an out-of-state teacher, principal or administrator (e.g., superintendent or director of special or gifted education) who first needs to pass a PRAXIS exam to qualify for a Colorado teacher, principal or administrator license.

Complete and submit an application for the license-type requested. As long as all other requirements are met, we may issue an interim authorization, which will allow you to serve in that capacity for one year while you prepare for and take the exam(s). Upon passing, you may then apply for a full credential by submitting an application to advance from an interim authorization to an initial or professional license. Should you find you need additional time, an interim authorization may be renewed one time.

I am an out-of-state special services provider that first needs to pass an exam in order to qualify for a Colorado special services license or authorization.

For school counselors and speech-language pathologist assistants, please submit an emergency authorization application. Note: Your employing Colorado school district will need to complete a form for you to include in the application.

For all other special services providers, please submit a temporary educator eligibility (TEE) authorization application. Note: Your employing Colorado school district will need to complete a form for you to include in the application.

Educators Within Colorado

I am a recent Colorado graduate (including alternative special education teachers), a Colorado alternative teacher candidate or hold a Colorado authorization I cannot renew again, and haven't yet been able to take the requisite PRAXIS exam.

I hold ...

What should I do?

How will this help me?

BA or higher degree; teacher/principal/administrator preparation program; student teaching/field experience

Apply for an initial license

1. CDE will keep your application open through Nov. 30, 2020, which will allow you time to take the requisite exam(s) and upload the score report(s) to your application.

2. Districts will be able to verify your background checks, your submitted application and that it is pending fulfillment of the exam requirement.

3. CDE will be able to begin to investigate/clear backgrounds, if necessary.

4. Upon receipt of the score report, CDE will issue a license (or educator interpreter authorization) effective the date you provide the test score report.

5. Fulfilling this requirement by Nov. 30, 2020, will allow you to be considered in-field for December 2020 reporting purposes.

BA or MA degree (based on specialty); completion of approved SSP preparation program; DORA license (if required)

Interim authorization #2 or Interim authorization / school counselor

Emergency authorization #2

TEE #3

Emergency educational interpreter authorization #3

Apply for an educator interpreter authorization.

BA or higher degree (and want to participate in alternative teacher preparation)

Apply for an alternative teacher license (must include a complete Statement of Assurance)

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What if I need to renew my professional license, but am missing a few hours of professional development (or don't have my certificates, because they're in my files at school) during the COVID-19 crisis?

Important Note: The following guidelines apply only to those who licenses and authorizations expire before July 1, 2020. Individuals who credentials expire after July 1, 2020, and who do not have the requisite professional development, PD or induction certificates or coursework to renew or advance their license or authorization, should wait to submit an application, as they may be able to fulfill the necessary requirements and submit a complete application in a couple of months.

I hold …

What should I do?

How will this help me?

Professional teacher, SSP, principal or administrator license; SLPA or educational interpreter authorization that will expire before July 1, 2020

Submit an application to renew the appropriate credential prior to its expiration.

1. State statute (CRS 22-4-104(7)) stipulates that if an application to renew a credential is submitted prior to the present credential’s expiration date, the present credential remains valid until CDE takes action on the renewal application.

2. CDE will hold open your application for 120 days, allowing you time to obtain additional PD, retrieve certificates, etc., and upload that information to your application.

3. Upon receipt, CDE will issue your credential.

4. Districts will be able to verify that you have a pending application.

Initial teacher, SSP, principal or administrator license and have a completed, appropriate induction program

Apply to advance to a professional license

1. CDE will hold open your application for 120 days, allowing you time to obtain or retrieve certificate(s) of completion and upload that information to your application.

2. Upon receipt, CDE will issue your credential.

3. Districts will be able to verify that you have a pending application.

Initial CTE

Apply to advance to a profession CTE authorization

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What if ...?

I hold …

What should I do?

How will this help me?

Interim authorization #1

Apply to renew the applicable authorization

1.State statute permits an interim or emergency authorization to be renewed once and a TEE or emergency educational interpreter authorization to be renewed up to twice (with documented evidence of advancement toward meeting the requirements for the full license or authorization).

2. Renewing the credential will allow you to serve in that position for up to one year while also providing you time to prepare for and take the requisite exam(s).

Emergency authorization #1

TEE #1 or #2

Emergency educational interpreter #1 or #2

Initial teacher, SSP, principal or administrator license #2 (or higher) and have not completed an appropriate induction program

Apply to renew the initial license.

1.Statute allows for CDE to renew an initial license more than once if the license-holder has not been able to complete an appropriate induction program. (COVID-19 is a perfectly good reason for not having been able to do so!)

2. Renewing the license will allow you to serve (or be eligible to serve) in this capacity for another three years and complete an appropriate induction program (if employed in that role).

An expired professional license, SLPA or educational interpreter authorization

Apply to renew your professional license ASAP.

While CDE will not be able to process your application until all information has been received -- nor will we be able to backdate it -- districts will be able to verify your pending application.

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Are CBI vendors closed for fingerprint and background check purposes due to COVID-19?

No, both of the CBI-approved vendors continue to provide this essential service. Please visit our Fingerprints page for more information on scheduling an appointment to have your fingerprints taken and electronically submitted to CBI.

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