Information for Educators
Shape the Future of Education
Are you ready to embark on an enriching journey of professional development that not only captivates your interest but also equips you with skills directly applicable to your students' future careers? We invite you to take part in shaping the future of education and workforce development for top jobs and careers in Colorado through the innovative K-12 Teacher Externship Program, a groundbreaking initiative brought to life by the Department of Labor and Employment in response to Colorado House Bill 23-1198.
As a participant in this program, you'll not only enhance your understanding of STEM fields but also develop practical skills that will resonate in your classroom. The connections you forge with professionals in the STEM industry during your externship will be invaluable, enriching both your personal growth and your students' educational journey.
- Real-World Relevance
Externships allow teachers to see the real-world applications of what they teach. This connection to practical, on-the-job experiences can reignite their passion for their subject matter and underscore the importance of their role in preparing students for the future.
- Professional Growth
Externships provide opportunities for continuous professional development. Teachers can acquire new skills, stay current with industry trends, and bring back fresh perspectives to their classrooms. The sense of professional growth can be a powerful motivator for educators to remain engaged in their profession.
- Renewed Inspiration
Experiencing the day-to-day operations of industries related to their field of expertise can reignite a teacher's sense of purpose and passion. Witnessing the impact of their teachings on real-world applications can be incredibly motivating and inspiring.
- Networking Opportunities
Teacher externships facilitate connections between educators and professionals in various industries. Building a network beyond the school environment can provide teachers with a support system, new ideas, and a sense of belonging to a broader community, all of which contribute to job satisfaction.
- Student Engagement
Externships can improve teachers' ability to connect classroom content with real-world examples, making lessons more engaging for students. Seeing the direct impact of their teaching on students' future career pathways can be a source of fulfillment for teachers.
- Enhanced Collaboration
Externships often involve collaboration between educators and professionals in the field. This collaborative experience can foster a sense of teamwork and shared goals, contributing to a positive work environment and encouraging teachers to stay within the profession.
- Customizable Experiences
Teacher externships that are customizable to individual interests and professional goals allow educators to tailor the experience to their needs. This level of personalization can make the externship more meaningful and relevant to each teacher, increasing job satisfaction.
- Recognition and Value
Offering teachers opportunities for externships communicates a message of recognition and value. It demonstrates that their professional development is a priority and that their contributions to the field are highly regarded, which can boost morale and job satisfaction.
Info for Education Leaders
- Purpose and Goals
You will be able to clearly define the purpose and goals of the teacher externships you choose to sponsor, including professional development aligned with agency initiatives, industry exposure, workforce development, etc.
- Curriculum Alignment
You can ensure that externship experiences align with your agency's curriculum and instructional goals. This will help teachers integrate real-world experiences into their teaching.
- Partnerships with Businesses
Foster partnerships with local businesses, organizations, and community leaders. These partnerships provide opportunities for teachers to gain insights into industry trends and requirements.
- Program Design
A well-structured program will include pre-externship orientation, on-site experiences, and post-externship reflection. You will be able to clearly outline the expectations for both teachers and external partners.
- Selection Criteria
You will be able to establish transparent selection criteria for teachers who participate in externships. Considerations include the teachers' content areas, interests, and how the experience aligns with individual and agency-wide professional development goals.
- Logistics and Funding
In partnership with CDLE, you can work with external partners to determine the logistics of the externship, including compensation for teachers, scheduling, transportation, and any necessary accommodations. You can ensure that the experiences are feasible within the constraints of your school calendar. Until sustainable state-level funding streams can be established for this program, agencies may need to consider dedicating professional development budget dollars to support their teachers with these experiences.
- Long-Term Impact
Externships can have positive long-term impacts on teacher retention, student engagement, and community relations. You will be able to use data and feedback to continually refine and improve the program experience for your teachers.
- Legal Considerations
CDLE will provide resources and support for legal and ethical considerations related to externships, such as liability issues, confidentiality agreements, and compliance with agency policies.
Considerations for Teachers
- Direct Compensation
CDLE is working to establish funding streams to pay teacher stipends for Externship experiences. More information is coming soon.
- Salary Credits
Many districts offer credits for advancement on salary scales for Externship experiences. Please check with your district to find out more.
- Professional Development Credit
Professional Development and Continuing Education Units will be offered for Externship experiences on an hour-for-hour basis. Please see The Colorado Department of Education's site for more information.
- University Credit
Graduate-level credit for Externship experiences may be available from the University of Colorado and/or Colorado State University. More information is forthcoming about these opportunities.