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Colorado: Working in Education in Colorado

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Educational reform in Colorado focuses on reducing the dropout rate and increasing the number of students fully prepared for college or the workplace. Improving student achievement and preparing students for success after high school is one of the major issues facing the state.

The expenditure per student in Colorado in 2005-2006 was $8,166; the expenditure in the U.S. as a whole was $9,154, according to the Digest of Education Statistics.

Teacher's Aides

The Paraprofessional Resource and Research (PARA) Center promotes professional development for paraeducators, an umbrella term for teacher's aides, instructional assistants, and related positions. The PARA Center has information on training programs, college courses, career development, supervision, and other issues concerning paraprofessionals in schools. Comprehensive Training Opportunities for Paraeducators (CO-TOP), for example, is a model system for training education paraprofessionals.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wage for teacher assistants in Colorado in May 2008 was $24,670.

Educational Technology

The Colorado Department of Education's Education Technology Program seeks to improve student academic achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools. Grants provide districts with funds to support technology education. In 2007, approximately 700,000 public school students were enrolled in online and blended learning courses. In the same year nearly two-thirds of Colorado school districts had students taking either online or blended courses.

According to the Colorado Cyberschool Association, the estimated total cost per student in a cyberschool in 2004 was $7,210. In 2006, the total per student expenditure in brick-and-mortar schools in Colorado was $6,941. Excluding facilities and transportation costs, the costs for operating online schools and traditional schools are comparable, according to the association's findings.

An online public charter high school will open for the 2010-2011 school year. The school will use the most current technologies and customized curriculum to provide a world-class online education focusing on math and science.

Curriculum and Instruction

Colorado uses a three-tiered system for curriculum and instruction. Tier I includes research-based curriculum and instructional strategies for all students. Flexible groupings ensure that the instructional goals for all students can be met. Tier II offers supplemental instruction. Tier III provides more explicit instruction to address a specific skill need, whether accelerated or remedial.

Curriculum-based assessments can point out children who need individual assistance. This three-tiered system is aligned with state standards for curriculum and instruction.

Educational Management

The Colorado Association for School Executives is a professional organization for K-12 education leaders. The purpose of the organization is to promote educational leadership by providing professional growth, advocacy, and networking opportunities for superintendents, principals, and other school and district leaders.

Not all educational management positions in Colorado are within the school system. The Colorado Department of Human Services has positions for school administrators in youth services centers and other programs that have educational components.

According to BLS, the median annual wage for elementary and secondary school administrators in Colorado in May 2008 was $78,380; the nationwide mean annual wage was $86,060.

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