On April 20, 2021, the R12CC hosted a webinar titled “Strengthening the Educator Workforce Pipeline—Free Resources and Supports for Tackling Educator Shortages” in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education. Education stakeholders from across Colorado were introduced to tools available to support their efforts to better understand and address educator shortages. The one-hour webinar offered participants an introduction to a brief that provides a scan of state policies and initiatives currently being implemented across the nation to attract, prepare, recruit, and retain highly qualified educators.

Addressing Educator Workforce Shortages—A State Comparison Brief features seven common strategies for mitigating educator shortages with various state-level examples including a state crosswalk, a sample of states’ responses to COVID-19’s adverse contribution to the nation-wide educator shortage crisis, and resources and tools for strengthening the educator pipeline.

Focused on understanding a variety of local data—from economic and working conditions to turnover and shortage areas—the webinar also introduced participants to an interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) map that can be used to facilitate place-based decision making in tackling shortages. The GIS map dashboards are customized through framing stakeholder-informed essential questions and visualizing local data to help users identify and better understand contextual challenges that may be contributing to educator shortages.

To encourage stakeholders to move from knowledge to action in strengthening the educator pipeline, R12CC will provide technical assistance to interested teams of Colorado stakeholders this summer. Technical assistance will focus on guiding the teams to use the GIS map for analyzing placed-based data and developing strategies appropriate for addressing contextual factors that impact the local educator pipeline. In addition, each team will be invited to participate in a monthly community of practice where they will have opportunities to share, learn, and partner with colleagues in the co-development of action plans to address educator shortages.