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CSU-Pueblo earns $200,000+ grant to improve teacher quality

Release Date: October 26, 2015

Cora Zaletel

Executive Director, External Affairs

Colorado State University-Pueblo

719.549.2810

Press Release

PUEBLO – Colorado State University-Pueblo was one of three Colorado campuses to receive a federal grant to enhance innovative approaches to teacher preparation.  Funds from the 2015-2016 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Improving Teacher Quality, Title II, Part A will be used through 2016 to support recruitment of teachers to rural regions of Colorado and enhance professional development in the STEM fields, two areas of need in Colorado educator preparation. Representatives from the Colorado Department of Education and Colorado Department of Higher Education selected the grant winners from 11 proposals based upon factors, such as quality partnerships, number of students served, and impact on student growth and achievement.

Recipients of the 2015-16 Improving Teacher Quality Grants included:   Colorado State University – Pueblo ($209,570) -- Rural District Engagement with the South Central BOCES; Western State Colorado University ($210,000) – Increasing Statewide Outreach to Improve Rural Teacher Recruitment, and CSU Global Campus ($210,000) – STEM Professional Development. A six-month, no-cost extension may be granted, pending DHE approval. 

“We have a teacher shortage particularly in rural areas of Colorado, and this federal grant will help address this issue,” said Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, executive director of Colorado Department of Higher Education.  “Every child deserves access to a thorough, uniform education, and that starts with having talented teachers in the classroom who can help them learn, and teach them the skills they’ll eventually need as they go to college and enter the workforce.” 

According to grant Principal Investigator Dr. Jeff Piquette, associate dean of the Teacher Education Program, CSU-Pueblo, the South Central BOCES and their districts, Battelle for Kids (BfK), and Generation Schools Network (GSN) have come together as part of the work of the Colorado Rural Education Collaborative (CREC) to address the critical teacher shortage in the rural communities of Southern Colorado.  The project seeks to determine if a particular immersion model of pre-service teachers into the rural community will help with the recruitment and retention of teachers in rural districts.

“We expect the project to help bolster the teacher pipeline, create an asset-based identity for rural districts that can compete on a national level, and connect candidates directly to rural districts to fill critical teaching gaps,” Piquette said.

With the grant funds, the University aims to create and test a replicable immersion experience that can be used across Colorado to attract rural teaching candidates. In addition, the grant seeks to develop a database supported with high schools, colleges, teacher preparation programs, retired teacher associations, etc. to advertise the benefits of teaching in rural Colorado. Finally, the grant will develop and test a brand identity for rural BOCES and Colorado school districts that could become a branding template for schools state-wide to use in attracting teacher candidates from a national audience.

“The grant program strengthens and expands current partnerships among the university, regional school districts, and other nationally-recognized educational entities (BfK and GSN),” said Piquette. “It also provides a way to support CSU-Pueblo students in their pre-service programs.”

Piquette said the grant will provide funds to incentive pre-service students to participate in a summer immersion experience in a rural community and give them additional funds to use toward their teacher preparation programs.  He said the quality of preparation will be higher for those who choose to participate in this program because they are getting a more diverse and intensive experience than the University has been able to provide.​​​

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.

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