Published: Feb. 10, 2023

CU Boulder's teacher preparation excellence recognized by the state 

At the Colorado Board of Education meeting on Feb. 8, all of the CU Boulder School of Education’s teacher preparation programs were lauded and received sweeping reauthorization following a state review.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) and Colorado Department of Education (CDE) have joint authority to reauthorize traditional Colorado educator preparation programs at universities and colleges across the state. The CU Boulder School of Education was reviewed in the fall 2022 through a site visit that brought together reviewers and CU Boulder faculty, students, alumni and local school district partners.Maia Parkin

I think that CU Boulder is really preparing its students for a classroom of tomorrow—a future classroom where we’re being critical and looking at things that are relevant to our students and in a way that we as teachers can also enjoy,” said Maia Parkin, teacher education student.

As a result of the peer review, all 10 of the CU Boulder teacher endorsement programs up for review earned full reauthorization, including culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) education, CLD bilingual education specialist, elementary education/CLD dual program, English language arts, mathematics, middle school mathematics, music, science, social studies, and world languages. 

“We are immensely proud that our teacher preparation program received full reauthorization from the state,” said Dean Kathy Schultz. 

“Our students, alumni and faculty shine in all areas of our teacher education program from culturally and linguistically diverse education, which is embedded in our elementary education major, to content-specific secondary education and more. We are delighted that the state reviewers and our peers recognize the excellence of our programs.”

CU Boulder received high praise for alignment with state standards, and notably, reviewers applauded CU Boulder’s commitment to thorough reading instruction, a special focus area for the CDE. In the past year, very few other university programs have earned reading instruction reauthorization on the first pass, so praise in this area exceeded a very high bar. 

Additionally, reviewers commended what the CDE and CDHE final report called the School of Education’s “true partnerships” that benefit student teachers and partner schools. “CU Boulder is invested and engaged with district leaders to explore needs and determine how their program can best benefit districts and young people,” the report stated. “District leaders lauded the high level of collaboration they feel, the stability and dedication of program leadership, and the commitment to equity throughout the program.”

In addition to educator knowledge and partnerships, CU Boulder programs were evaluated on program design, clinical experience, and program impact. Overall, the reauthorization team was particularly impressed with CU Boulder’s:

  • Conscientious program structures: Program coursework and experiences are tightly aligned to the goals of social justice, compassion, and advocacy.
  • Commitment to field experiences: There is a conscious and consistent effort to ensure that candidates gain real-world experiences early and often in their programs, particularly in the CUTeach (STEM secondary education) and Music Education programs.
  • Strong support structures: Students reported authentic connections with accessible faculty. There is a coherent model employed for building community and there are clear supports for students experiencing crises.
  • Constructive responsiveness: Program staff are highly responsive to the needs of candidates and partners. School districts and community representatives spoke highly of the program’s timely and substantive address of concerns and sustained dedication to continuous improvement. Graduate programs are tailored and adapted to student demographics and licensure pathways.

“After months of deep reflection and developing a self study for the reauthorization process, we are pleased to be recognized by the departments of education and higher education for the thoughtful work of our faculty, students, alumni and school partners,” said Ashley Cartun, director of teacher education. “We are so proud of the community we have created, our teacher candidates, and our transformative teacher preparation programs.”

Current student Maia Parkin told state reviewers that her professors at CU Boulder care about their students and engage in their passions as they respect teacher candidates’ independence as a learner and future teacher.

“I think that CU Boulder is really preparing its students for a classroom of tomorrow—a future classroom where we’re being critical and looking at things that are relevant to our students and in a way that we as teachers can also enjoy,” Parkin said.