CSU + AmeriCorps: Supporting Colorado schools, developing career paths for future educators

students from Weld count
Photo Credit: Weld District 6

CSU Extension, AmeriCorps and the CSU Center for Educator Preparation have partnered to launch an innovative new program to help address the ongoing teacher shortage in Colorado. The partnership provides training and support for AmeriCorps members to serve in Colorado school districts, supporting teachers and administrators by providing tutoring, after-school programs, and other academic support for students, as well as filling in as substitute teachers. The program is funded by a grant from Serve Colorado.

Addressing a statewide teacher shortage

Colorado is currently producing approximately 50% of the teachers needed to fill positions and support students and families across the state. This is due in part to the growth in population within the state, as well as a downturn in pre-service enrollments. As a result of the current shortfall and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are experiencing an extreme shortage of trained teachers and substitute teachers.

While there is hope for the future, as the most recent Educator Preparation Report shows an increase in educator preparation enrollment, the current situation has school districts across the state stretched thin.

Melinda MacPherson, CSU Extension AmeriCorps Program Manager, explained how the new partnership could be a step towards solving the current teacher crisis.

“Our Education Support Specialist AmeriCorps members will provide tutoring services and other programming to mitigate learning loss, including substitute teaching support when there are no other substitutes available,” said MacPherson.

“Additionally, members will participate in ongoing professional development training designed to prepare them to enter an Educator Preparation Program at the conclusion of their service year. In this way, we hope that our program will become a pipeline to Educator Preparation Programs and will be a step toward solving the teacher crisis.”

Creating opportunities, growing students and supporting families in Weld County

AmeriCorps members will be placed in Weld County School District 6. During their year of service, members will serve as tutors and educators, supporting the school and ensuring uninterrupted learning for students in Weld County.

“This partnership means so many things: it makes a difference for our students to have additional resources and support, it matters to our staff to help provide coverage and opportunities, and it matters to the District to grow people in the profession,” said Amy Spruce, Director of Human Resources for Weld County School District 6. “But it really all comes back to the students… creating opportunities and growing our students.”

Developing career pathways for future educators

One of the key components of the AmeriCorps Education Support program is the partnership with the CSU Center for Educator Preparation. As a special center within the School of Education, the Center prepares and equips future teachers and principals seeking careers as licensed educators

“Members will receive professional development training planned and delivered by Principal Licensure candidates, preparing them to apply into the Center for Educator Preparation after their service year,” said Ann Sebald, Co-Director and Assistant Professor for the Center for Educator Preparation.

This formal training, combined with the real-world experience of working within a school district, sets members up for success as future educators.

Join the AmeriCorps Education Support Program today

The AmeriCorps Education Support Program is currently accepting applications and is open to both CSU students and non-students. CSU AmeriCorps members will:

  • Support tutoring and other activities to mitigate learning loss
  • Provide substitute teaching support for grades K-12
  • Access training and skills development programs needed to apply to a teacher preparation program at the conclusion of the service year
  • Serve full-time in a Colorado school district for the 2021-22 school year
  • Earn a living allowance to support them during their year of service
  • Impact student learning and improve student success

Interested applicants can get started at the links below. Applications are due November 1, 2021.