State relaxes standards for Mancos teachers

New designation allows district to hire unlicensed teachers

The Colorado State Board of Education has awarded Mancos School District Re-6 “innovative status,” which allows the district to hire unlicensed teachers and give less frequent evaluations, Superintendent Brian Hanson said Friday.

“If we can find someone with a bachelor’s degree who wants to teach, let’s get them in,” he said.

The decision comes at a time when the district is having a hard time hiring highly qualified, licensed teachers, Hanson said. The new designation allows him to hire a nonlicensed teacher who then has three years to obtain a Colorado license.

The designation also allows the district to hire nonlicensed instructors who are experienced in a field or trade. For example, the district could hire a woodworker to teach a shop class several hours a week, Hanson said.

“It gives us flexibility to get nontraditional teachers in our classrooms,” he said, adding that it will be easier to recruit and retain teachers.

Under the designation, new teachers will face a probationary period for three years and be evaluated each year, he said. Teachers who don’t face probation will be evaluated once every three years.

Annual reviews were “overwhelming,” he said.

District officials started working on an application for the designation about a year ago, Hanson said.

The district also asked to be exempt from certain CDE data reporting requirements and state assessments, such as the Partnership for Academic Readiness for College and Careers test, Hanson said. The state board rejected those requests.

“I’m happy it was awarded, but disappointed we didn’t get the other two (privileges) we wanted,” Hanson said.

jacobk@the-journal.com