Work during our third project year continues to focus on providing capacity building services to guide stakeholders’ use of the geographic information system (GIS) map to analyze placed-based data and develop strategies appropriate for addressing contextual factors that impact the local educator pipeline.

A collection of resources to support exploration and application of GIS map data in local contexts have been published. These include a

  • Facilitation guide and workbook to support Colorado teams in exploring the GIS map, facilitating conversations on the data presented in the map, and developing recommendations to strengthen Colorado’s educator workforce pipeline;
  • Bright Spots report on several districts and schools in Colorado that have experienced success with retaining teachers through effective strategies in schools with high-need populations and geographic factors associated with lower retention rates; and
  • Story map highlighting the information, insights, and lessons learned from Bright Spot districts and schools that may be helpful to others considering the implementation of similar partnerships, programs, or practices.

To further help guide and support local efforts to improve educator recruitment and retention, R12CC, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), launched a community of practice (CoP) at the beginning of February. Through the CoP, local teams of stakeholders engage in collaborative analysis, discussion, planning, and action to strengthen efforts to improve educator preparation, recruitment, hiring, and retention and diversify the workforce.

Teams—comprised of K–12 educators, educator preparation program staff, BOCES staff, and other key educational stakeholders—participating in the CoP analyze data using the GIS map to identify local challenges and opportunities to address shortages and the lack of diversity, design and implement action plans based on problems of practice, and collaborate with colleagues from across the state on common challenges. As a result of the community of practice, teams will create and implement plans that are data-driven, equity-focused, and built for sustainability with stakeholders engaged throughout the process.

A second effort in Colorado launched in early 2021 includes collaborating with CDE to develop an updated version of the Colorado Dropout Prevention Framework. Through past quarterly workshops with CDE staff, team members have engaged in an iterative process to identify prospective content and format revisions that have both informed an initial prototype version of the updated framework and will facilitate forthcoming versions.

To gather input from Colorado education stakeholders on the existing dropout prevention framework, focus groups were initiated in February and will continue to be offered in the coming months. In conjunction with ongoing feedback from CDE in the current workshop series, insights gained from focus groups will inform iterative framework revisions.

These overlapping efforts are intended to increase CDE staff’s knowledge of relevant evidence-based dropout prevention practices and understanding of strategies to engage stakeholders in a process to continuously improve the framework, while also beginning to elicit feedback from the field on how to improve the framework. Ultimately, these efforts will support CDE in disseminating a revised framework and providing tailored technical support on implementation to districts and schools.