The following program overviews provide a snapshot of what you can expect to experience in your chosen program whether you're pursuing a major or teacher licensure through School of Education. Our majors and minors are each unique and have their own distinct degree plans. Because of this, it is best to meet with an advisor to get a better understanding of what your experience will look like. Please refer to the School of Education Student Handbook for a more complete list of resources. 

  • Orientation - Each newly admitted student is required to attend orientation. 
  • Regular Advisor Meetings - For your first two years, you will be required to meet with your advisors before registering for classes, but many students prefer to meet with their advisors multiple times during the semester. Your advisor will work with you throughout your program to help create an individualized schedule to include required coursework for your chosen degree. 

  • Orientation - Each newly admitted student is required to attend in-class, online or in-person orientation.
  • Regular Advisor Meetings - Your advisor will work with you throughout your program to help create an individualized schedule that includes required coursework for your chosen content areas and keeps you on track towards graduating. Additionally, they will guide you through the licensure process and your student teaching experience, both of which you can learn more about in the handbooks below.
  • Core Coursework - 3013: School & Society is a required course that introduces students to pressing issues surrounding education within the United States and examines issues of diversity and equity from different disciplinary lenses, including history, philosophy, sociology and anthropology.
  • Licensure Exam - In order to be eligible for student teaching and to recieve your teaching licensure,  you must pass the state-approved licensure exams (PRAXIS II). Exams should be taken nine months to eighteen months prior to the semester in which you plan to student teach. PRAXIS II is a national content knowledge exam that is accepted as a licensure exam in some other states and may be taken in many locations. 
  • Student Teaching - Our program is designed to offer teaching experience amounting to 800+ hours of in-class practica work.

Student Teaching Eligibility

Becoming eligible for student teaching is a process that begins at least one year prior to your expected student teaching semester. The following items should be completed the fall before you begin student teaching. 

  • Meet with your advisor to determine preferred district and grade level
  • Complete required academic and education courses
  • Complete required practicum experiences and pass licensure exam, PRAXIS
  • Maintain an overall 2.75 GPA in your teaching field, and in education courses (3.00 for Master’s Plus students)
  • Complete the Basic Skills requirement
  • Confirm your final student teaching placement with the Director of Advising
  • Sign Student Teaching Eligibility Agreement

Application Process

You will receive a Student Teaching Informational Packet via email the semester before your expected student teaching semester. This packet will include everything you’ll need to know in preparation to student teach. All final dates and deadlines for meetings and required coursework, exams, etc. will be included—make sure you read the entire email and keep it handy over the next few months. The following details some of the steps you should complete in the fall:

  • Begin preparation of professional resume and application materials
  • Block off your calendar for no travel from August-December for student teaching commitment
  • Block of mandatory kick-off meeting in August (date provided in informational packet email)
  • Set meeting with advisor to confirm your preferred districts & grade level placements
  • Study for PRAXIS licensure exam
  • Register for student teaching coursework and seminar course

Fall Timeline

  • Late January - All application materials must be submitted
  • February - April - Applications reviewed by districts
  • July - Program course and licensure exam requirements must be completed and student teaching contract signed
  • August - Mandatory kick-off meeting for all teacher candidates prior to first day of student teaching
  • December - Student teaching ends​

Spring Timeline

  • Mid-September - All application materials must be submitted
  • September - November - Applications reviewed by districts
  • December - Program course and licensure exam requirements must be completed and student teaching contract signed
  • First week of January - Mandatory kick-off meeting for all teacher candidates prior to first day of student teaching
  • May - Student teaching ends​ (Note: even if you are graduating the same spring, student teaching placement may continue through the end of May, and you are required to be present in classroom through the dates set by your school)

The Professional Triad

Our program is designed around three key players: You (as teacher candidate), mentor teacher(s), and a university supervisor.

  • Mentor Teachers volunteer to mentor you throughout your student teaching semester and are chosen based on their desire to help a novice teacher, their strong teaching practice, and their demonstration of school/district leadership. They must also have a minimum of three year’s experience, hold a valid Colorado professional teaching license and have an endorsement in—or meet federal “highly-qualified” criteria for—the same field you will be pursuing.  Additionally, it is their role to help you in the classroom with planning and teaching responsibilities. Mentor teachers also take part in students’ overall growth plan and final assessment.
  • University Supervisors may be a full-time university faculty member, an advanced graduate student who is also an experienced teacher, or an adjunct faculty member with many years of teaching and/or school administrative experience. It is their role to visit your school and observe your work as a teacher candidate periodically throughout the semester. They provide support, guidance and teaching, communication facilitation between you and your mentor teacher, and a comprehensive assessment of your growth.

Co-Teaching vs. Solo-Teaching

Because we are guests in the mentor teachers’ classrooms, we like to first place this decision before the teacher and principal of the school. However, if they have no preference, you then can make the decision.

  • Co-Teaching: in short, the teacher candidate and the mentor teacher collaborate with one another to plan, prepare the classroom for lessons, grade pupil work, etc. Mentor teachers have an active role in the beginning to guide you through day-to-day responsibilities until you’re comfortable enough to plan and teach lessons alone. The goal of the co-teaching model is to provide the teacher candidate a realistic teaching experience (planning, teaching, reflecting, assessing student work, etc.) while the control of the classroom as a whole stays with the mentor teacher. This model is prefered over solo-teaching by the large majority of our teacher candidates.
  • Solo-Teaching: When the mentor teacher feels comfortable leaving the teacher candidate in charge of the class, the solo teaching experience will begin. This typically takes place about 5-6 weeks into the student teaching semester. During this time, the teacher candidate will work as the sole teacher in the classroom for the entire school day for up to 6 weeks. The mentor teacher may come in and out of the classroom but should not be an active participant. The goal of the solo teaching period is for the teacher candidate to demonstrate readiness to lead a classroom.

The edTPA

CU uses the first nationally available, standards-based performance assessment for pre-service teachers: the edTPA. During your student teaching semester, you will complete your edTPA capstone portfolio which will be scored nationally. You will upload your edTPA portfolio to Pearson, the organization responsible for facilitating national scoring.

The edTPA is a summative, subject-specific assessment of teaching performance that demonstrates your readiness for licensure through demonstrating what you have learned from your coursework about research, theory, and best practices related to teaching and learning. There are three main areas: (1) Planning for Instruction & Assessment, (2) Instructing and Engaging Students in Learning, and (3) Assessing Student Learning.

Post Student Teaching

If you wish to pursue a job in teaching once you graduate, you can use your experience teaching and preparing for interviews with your newly updated professional materials (resume, lesson plans, etc.) to hit the job market. Your directors and supervisors will work closely with you during the job hunt and will be available to provide you with references. You will also be officially recommended for licensure.

Student Handbook

Use this handbook to help navigate policies and procedures for the School of Education majors, minors, and teacher education programs. It is our hope that in conjunction with this tool, you may lean on our advising support for guidance. In this handbook you will find many helpful resources to guide you along the way.  

School of Education Student Handbook