Colorado charter schools have the autonomy to hire educators who will be most effective in forwarding the school’s unique mission and instructional model while meeting or exceeding state and federal laws regarding qualified educators. CSI provides resources to assist schools in understanding educator qualifications, avenues to initial state licensure, and offers state approved induction programs for school leaders, teachers and special services providers.
Colorado law allows schools/districts to request waivers from certain areas of state statue and rule. The purpose is to allow autonomy in areas that will enhance educational opportunity and quality. Charter schools can implement their educational mission to its full potential when they are granted certain waivers. CSI schools generally request a waiver to C.R.S. § 22-63-201 which requires schools to hire administrators and teachers who hold a Colorado Educator License. However, the Colorado State Board of Education does not have the authority to grant waivers from ESSA and IDEA, the Federal statutes which outline teacher qualifications.
While many charter schools choose to waive state licensure requirements for teachers and school leaders, some prefer to hire Colorado licensed educators. Colorado Revised Statute 22-60.5-205 includes charter schools as Designated Agencies that are allowed to develop their own Alternative Educator Licensure Programs. Designated Agencies must identify a specific need(s) that they face in regards to the Colorado teacher shortage and can then create and apply to CDE for alternative preparation programs in numerous teacher endorsement areas. Alternative teacher licensure programs are either one or two years in length and must meet the criteria outlined in C.R.S 22-60.5. State Statute does not allow alternative licensure pathways for Special Services Providers.
To address principal shortages in public schools, charter schools may hire individuals as principals who can serve on a Principal Authorization. Each charter school creates individualized learning plans for these alternative principal candidates.
Induction programs help set the stage for continuous growth and support of educators at the beginning of their careers or as they transition to new organizations or new roles within an organization. Colorado Department of Education requires administrators, principals, teachers and special services providers who hold a Colorado Initial License to complete an approved Induction Program during their first three years of employment. After completion of the program, the educator receives a Colorado Professional License that is valid for five years. Colorado charter schools can apply directly to CDE for Induction Program approval, or they can participate in a CDE-approved Induction Program through CSI.