Colorado & R12CC: Strengthening the Educator Workforce Using Geographic Information Systems

Using Geographic Information System (GIS) maps to understand Colorado’s unique challenges and opportunities for strengthening the educator workforce.

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Root Cause Analysis Workbook

A ready-to-use resource for states and districts target efforts to address educator shortages, the Root Cause Analysis Workbook takes state leaders through eight steps for conducting a root-cause analysis in a deliberate way to ensure that strategies are targeted to the real cause behind equity gaps.

Region 12 Comprehensive Center (R12CC)

Work with R12CC to build GIS maps to support teams of district, school, educator preparation programs, and other partners in a facilitated analysis of Colorado educator workforce data and developing recommendations or priorities to strengthen the educator workforce.

Stakeholder and data-driven action plan to address educator shortages and strengthen the educator workforce.

Dale Lewis, R12CC Project Director
Carolyn Haug, Colorado Department of Education Lead
Jessica Giffin, R12CC Project Lead


The Challenge

Leading up to the 2019–20 school year, Colorado schools needed to fill 7,242 teaching positions representing 13.25% of all teaching positions in the state. Of those positions, 1,132 remained unfilled or were filled through a shortage mechanism (e.g., long-term substitutes, retired educators, alternative/emergency authorizations).

The Opportunity

To address these gaps, Colorado partnered with the Region 12 Comprehensive Center to engage stakeholders and identify data-base strategies and opportunities to strengthen the educator workforce pipeline utilizing the GTL Center's resources and expertise. 

The Approach

Where a person lives, learns, and works can have dramatic impact on their life outcomes. These “place- effects” are the result of unequal access to resources and opportunities. To better understand these inequities, the Region 12 Comprehensive Center (R12CC) built a Geographic Information System (GIS) application to produce customized interactive maps designed to highlight factors that may be affecting educator shortage challenges across the state. To support R12CC and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and R12CC, the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) employed a three-step process to create a locally driven, evidence-based plan for strengthening Colorado’s educator workforce.

Project Process. Step 1: Data Analysis Using GIS. Step 2: Stakeholder Engagement and Root Cause Analysis. Step 3: Evidence-Based Strategy Selection

Step 1. Data Analysis Using GIS

Visualize and analyze existing educator workforce gaps and opportunities across the educator career continuum at the state, district, school, and educator preparation program levels using a customized GIS map.

Step 2. Stakeholder Engagement and Root Cause Analysis

Engage diverse stakeholders to identify the underlying root causes for identified gaps using a modified version of the GTL Center’s Root Cause Analysis Workbook.

Step 3. Evidence-based Strategy Selection

Select and connect evidence-based strategies that strengthen the educator workforce specific to each community at the school, district, and educator preparation program level.

Strengthening the Colorado Educator Workforce Pipeline