COLORADO SPRINGS — An educator employment survey reviewed by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) revealed a shortage of teachers is impacting schools statewide.

The educator shortage survey provided numbers of vacant educator positions and detailed the ways those vacancies were filled, if they were filled at all.

Data was provided separately for teacher, special service provider (SSP), principal/assistant principal and paraprofessional positions. Survey statistics are presented by teaching subject area, SSP type and rural designation (small rural, rural, or non-rural).

The survey also details information regarding the number of positions filled by specific shortage mechanisms, which include hiring long-term substitutes, retired educators, alternative licensure program candidates and emergency authorizations holders.

Highlights from the 2021-2022 state level summary include:

  • Approximately 7,000 teaching and SSP positions needed to be hired in 2021-22. This represents 10% of all teaching and 16% of all SSP positions in the state.
  • Over 300 principal/assistant principal positions and over 2,000 paraprofessional positions needed to be hired for in 2021-2022.
  • Of the 5,729 teaching positions to hire, 440 (8%) remained unfilled for the school year and 1,128 (20%) were filled through a shortage mechanism.
  • Of the 1,102 total SSP positions to hire, 192 (17%) remained unfilled for the school year and 98 (9%) were filled through a shortage mechanism.
  • Of the 302 total principal/assistant principal positions to hire, 8 (3%) remained unfilled for the entire school year and 9 (3%) were filled through a shortage mechanism.
  • Of the 2,174 total paraprofessional positions to hire, 205 (9%) remained unfilled for the entire school year and 48 (1%) were filled through a shortage mechanism. There were nearly twice as many paraprofessional positions to hire for than in 2020-2021.
  • In core teaching subjects, statewide shortages were greatest in the following areas: special education, mathematics, science, world languages, and early childhood education.
  • The most common statewide shortages in SSP categories include: school psychologists, school occupational therapists, and school physical therapists.

Shortage data allows CDE to identify educator shortage areas across the state and report to the Colorado Legislature to inform decisions regarding support for recruiting and retaining educators.