Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Officials tour Colorado looking for ideas to solve statewide teacher shortage

State education officials this week begin a statewide series of town hall meetings to gather information they can use to alleviate a severe teacher shortage in Colorado.

As many as 10 town halls are planned through summer, hosted by the Colorado Department of Higher Education and Colorado Department of Education.

As many as 3,000 new teachers are needed to fill classroom slots across the state. Many of the open positions are in rural schools.

The first meetings are scheduled Wednesday in Ridgway and June 23 in Parachute. Dates and times of other town halls will be announced through summer.

Educators, students, parents and community members are encouraged to attend and share their ideas for recruiting and retaining teachers, said Megan McDermott, spokeswoman for the Department of Higher Education.

The town hall meetings are part of an effort aimed at developing a plan to alleviate the shortage, McDermott said. This comes at the heels of legislation signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in May requiring DHE and CDE to work together to solve the teacher gap.