July 12, 2022 –It was a banner legislative session for teacher residencies and the teaching profession more broadly in the state of Colorado. On May 26, 2022, Governor Polis signed HB22-1220, “Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation.” In addition to requirements around alternative preparation and demonstration of content competencies, the bill creates: a student educator stipend program, an educator test stipend program, and a temporary educator loan forgiveness program. The student educator stipend program awards funds to a qualifying candidate’s educator preparation program to compensate them for their student teaching/clinical experience in an academic residency position. Candidates in a 16-week residency may receive up to $11,000 while those in a 32-week residency may qualify for up to $22,000. Review this fact sheet for more information. The educator test stipend program awards stipend money to approved preparation programs to reduce financial barriers for eligible students preparing for state licensure exams. The temporary educator loan forgiveness program pays the qualified loans of an educator who is hired for a hard-to-staff position. More than $50 million in federal economic recovery and relief funds are being used to support these programs. This is a great win for teacher residency and teacher education candidates!
This legislation builds on several years of teacher residency and teacher residency program support in Colorado. For example, in 2018, the state passed HB18-1189, “Expanding Effective Teacher Residency Programs” which created the Teacher Residency Expansion Program to be operated by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). The goals of the grant program were to identify and expand promising and effective strategies and practices of teacher residency programs. Three Colorado teacher residency programs received grants, including one in the NCTR Network – PEBC. In addition, in 2019, the state passed SB19-190, “Teacher Preparation Program Support.” Among other things, the act creates the teacher mentor grant program which provides money to school districts, boards of cooperative services, and charter schools that partner with educator preparation programs to provide training and stipends for teachers who serve as mentors for teacher candidates participating in clinical practice.