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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Teaching in Denver
What does a typical day look like?
Once I am a full time teacher, will I teach over the summer?
What part of Denver will I be teaching in?
How safe are the schools?
I am interested in teaching special education but nervous about that type of job. What does it really mean to teach special education?
How long is the commitment?
Why should I become part of Denver Teaching Fellows?

Licensure
What does "alternative licensure" mean?
Will I receive state licensure?
What exams will I need to take?
Can I receive a waiver or exemption from the subject area exam, based on my undergraduate coursework or professional experience?
How much will my licensure courses cost?

Qualifications
What type of person is a good candidate for Denver Teaching Fellows?
How do I know if I am eligible for Denver Teaching Fellows?
Am I eligible if I have no prior teaching experience or prior coursework in education?
Are individuals who have substituted in Denver eligible for the program?
Why aren't licensed teachers eligible to apply, and what should they do to start teaching in Denver?
What if I don't have a 3.0 GPA?
Do I need to be a resident of Denver to apply?
I’m interested in teaching bilingual Spanish, but I don’t want to teach at the elementary level. Do I have other options?

Application Process
How do I apply to become a Teaching Fellow?
Can I include letters of recommendation with my application?
Do I need to send transcripts with my application?
What happens after I submit my application?
What happens during an interview event?
When and where do interviews take place?
Do I have to interview in Denver?
What is the application deadline?
How can I get more information?

Admission and Enrollment
I applied to DTF but wasn't accepted. Can I appeal the decision on my application?
Can I defer acceptance into the program?
Can I re-apply to the program next year if I am not accepted?
I meet all of the Teaching Fellows eligibility requirements. Why wasn't I accepted?
When does the program actually begin?

Your Teaching Position
What will I be teaching?
How do I know what subject I am qualified to teach?
Where will I be teaching?
How does the process of securing a school placement work?
Can I choose where I will teach?
When will I know where I will be teaching?
Can I change my teaching placement after I have started teaching?
Will there be other Fellows teaching at my school?

Training and Resources
Once I become a Fellow, how will I be prepared for the classroom?
How intensive is summer training?
How long is summer training?
Will I be paid for training?
What kind of ongoing resources and connections are available to Teaching Fellows?

Compensation and Benefits
What is the starting salary for Denver Teaching Fellows?
What employment benefits do Fellows receive?

 


 

Teaching in Denver

What does a typical day look like?
Schools days are typically about seven hours long; however, class schedules, length of the school day and school year may vary from school to school. Teachers also spend time outside the classroom preparing lessons and grading schoolwork. Fellows will attend professional development sessions or faculty meetings after school hours, in addition to licensure coursework. A teacher's first year is incredibly intense, regardless of his or her background or preparation. Fellows should be prepared to work long hours.
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Once I am a full time teacher, will I teach over the summer?
Fellows will participate in an intensive summer training program before entering their classrooms for the first time. Review the Training & Resources section for more details. However, once you are a full time teacher, you would not be required to teach over the summer. Many teachers elect to teach summer school, although the number of positions is limited.
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What part of Denver will I be teaching in?
Denver Teaching Fellows will work in high-need schools, typically with records of low academic achievement. While the program staff considers a candidate’s geographic and school preferences when possible, the needs of the school and the candidate’s subject area eligibility are given priority during the placement process. Ultimately, we want to place teachers where they are needed most within the city, regardless of neighborhood. For more information, review the Securing Your Teaching Position page of this website.
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How safe are the schools?
We believe our schools are safe. We encourage concerned candidates to visit the areas in which they may teach during a regular school day to determine their own level of comfort with the environment.
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I am interested in teaching special education but nervous about that type of job. What does it really mean to teach special education?
Special education is designed around the concept of individualized curriculum to provide greater support for certain students. One of the most exciting aspects of a placement in special education is the opportunity to be both advocate and teacher. While teachers are first and foremost responsible for academic goals, they also work to develop a positive school environment for students with special needs.  The best way to get a sense of what it means to teach in a special education class is to talk to a teacher or visit a classroom. Applicants should also familiarize themselves with the basic information available in the Teaching Special Education section of the website. More information about and training on supporting students with special needs will be available during the summer training and through the Fellow’s licensure program.
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How long is the commitment?
We hope that Fellows will commit to a lifetime career in education. The goal of the Denver Teaching Fellows is to add to the existing network of dedicated teachers in Denver Public Schools who are passionate about educational equity and ready to work actively to achieve results in their classrooms on a daily basis.  We expect all Teaching Fellows to teach for a minimum of three years. We also hope that outstanding individuals who enter the teaching profession through the Fellows program will continue their career as educators in Denver, fulfilling our shared mission of closing the achievement gap for years to come.
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Why should I become part of Denver Teaching Fellows?
Your knowledge and experience can help ensure that every child in Denver has access to a high quality education.  We know that there is an achievement gap in this city and in our nation, and we know that high-quality teachers are the single most important factor in raising student achievement.  As a Teaching Fellow, you will join a network of like-minded professionals dedicated to closing the achievement gap and to making a difference. Click here to learn more.
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Licensure

What does "alternative licensure" mean?
As an alternate route program, the Teaching Fellows program accelerates the process of bringing new teachers to the classrooms that need them the most. Rather than completing a traditional teacher education program prior to entering the classroom, Fellows engage in a short but intensive summer training program and complete further academic requirements while they teach full time, earning a full time salary. Review the licensure page of this website for more information.
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Will I receive state licensure?
Yes. All Fellows formally commit to working towards and completing their licensure requirements when accepting their offer to join the Teaching Fellows program. Fellows will begin teaching under an alternative license. While teaching full-time, Fellows will complete licensing coursework and requirements, meeting performance based standards. The licensure program and its requirements are designed to take two years to complete. Assuming that Fellows successfully meet all licensing program requirements, they will be eligible to earn their three-year Initial License upon successful completion of two years teaching. Once Fellows earn this three-year Initial License and complete their district induction, they will then be able to apply for the five-year Professional License. Review the licensure section of this website for more information.
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What exams will I need to take?
All special education and bilingual Spanish (K-6) and some math Fellows will need to register for, study for, and pass the Praxis II and/or PLACE exam before the start of the Training Institute and before enrollment in the program can be finalized. Additionally, candidates for Bilingual Spanish (K-6) positions will take a Spanish Language Proficiency exam, which is administered by Denver Public Schools. Candidates are urged to register for the exam as soon as possible; you may apply to the program prior to taking the exam. Review the Testing Requirements section of this website for more details on the content and deadlines for these exams.
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Can I receive a waiver or exemption from the subject area exam, based on undergraduate coursework or professional experience?
Yes, math Fellows who have 24 credits in math do not need to take the subject area exam.  All special education and bilingual Spanish (K-6) Fellows, however, must take and pass the Praxis II or PLACE Elementary exam before the start of the DTF Summer Training Institute.
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How much will my licensure courses cost?
More detailed information on licensure costs will be provided to Fellows upon acceptance and enrollment into the program. Fellows will be responsible for the cost of tuition. Note that most first year Fellows may be eligible for a Teaching Fellows AmeriCorps Education Award to help cover these education expenses. Review the licensure section for more information.
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Qualifications

What type of person is a good candidate for Denver Teaching Fellows?
There is no one profile for an ideal Teaching Fellows candidate; Fellows come from a wide range of backgrounds and bring to the program a diverse set of talents and skills. Strong candidates are those who are committed to having a positive effect on student achievement, who display excellence in their previous endeavors, and who are dedicated to reaching and influencing students—especially those in under-resourced areas—on a daily basis.
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How do I know if I am eligible for Denver Teaching Fellows?
Applicants to the Fellows program should review the strict requirements laid out on the website to check if they meet Eligibility for the Teaching Fellows program.
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Am I eligible if I have no prior teaching experience or prior coursework in education?
Yes. Individuals without prior teaching experience or coursework in education are eligible for the program and encouraged to apply. The Fellows program is specifically designed to attract high-quality applicants from diverse backgrounds into the teaching profession. Click here for more information.
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Are individuals who have substituted in Denver eligible for the program?
Anyone who has worked as a full-time, licensed teacher is not eligible for this program.  However, individuals who hold or have worked under substitute licenses are eligible to apply. Additionally, paraprofessionals are eligible to apply.  For more details, visit the Eligibility section of this website.
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Why aren't licensed teachers eligible to apply, and what should they do to start teaching in Denver?
The Teaching Fellows program is specifically designed to provide training and alternative licensure to individuals who have had limited or no education coursework or experience.  There are other paths to employment for licensed teachers and individuals who have completed teacher education programs.  For more information on employment for licensed teachers, visit the district’s HR website.
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What if I don't have a 3.0 GPA?
Individuals must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher from an accredited college or university to be eligible to apply to this program. However, the Fellows program acknowledges that GPA is one factor among many in judging an applicant, and, in some instances, consideration may be given for individuals whose GPA falls between a 2.75 and 3.0 and who display exceptional past achievement elsewhere. Candidates with less than a 3.0 GPA will have the opportunity in the online application to address any issues that may be relevant to their academic performance.  Please review the Eligibility section for more information on our eligibility requirements before applying.
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Do I need to be a resident of Denver to apply?
No. You do not need to be a resident of Denver to apply. This program is open to all qualified, determined candidates with the skills and ambitions to make a difference in the lives of students who live in Denver.  Visit the Living in Denver section of this website for more information on the area.
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I’m interested in teaching bilingual Spanish, but I don’t want to teach at the elementary level. Do I have other options?
If you qualify to teach math or are interested in teaching special education there are opportunities to teach bilingual Spanish at the secondary level. You would need to be qualified to teach the content area first, and then pass the Spanish Language Proficiency exam. Apply to the Teaching Fellows program for math or special education and be sure to indicate your proficiency in Spanish in the application.
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Application Process

How do I apply to become a Teaching Fellow?
An application consists of a complete online application form, a resume, and responses to application questions.  After reading through this website thoroughly to learn more about the program requirements and benefits, visit the Apply Now section of the website for details and to apply today.
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Can I include letters of recommendation with my application?
No. Because of the sheer number of applications we receive, we are unable to consider documents or materials other than those required for a complete application (application form, resume, and application questions). Materials that are not required will be discarded.  However, we do ask for references on the application, which we may contact to receive further insight on our applicants.
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Do I need to send transcripts with my application?
Although official transcripts are not required with the initial application for the Denver Teaching Fellows, acceptance into the Teaching Fellows program is contingent upon our receipt of an official, sealed transcript from each institution attended, and, Fellows who enroll in the program will eventually need a total of three official transcripts from each institution. Fellows cannot begin training until these transcripts have been received.  Please click here for more information.
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What happens after I submit my application?
All applications are reviewed for completeness and eligibility, and then for content. Those applicants who demonstrate potential for success as Fellows are invited to interview.  (You will also be notified if you are not invited to interview.)  You will receive notification of your application status within approximately two weeks of our receipt of your complete application. Click here for more information.
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What happens during an interview event?
The interview represents one of the most important elements of the application process, offering candidates a chance to demonstrate their strengths and commitment to making a difference in Denver’s neediest schools. Candidates will be placed in groups of up to ten, along with one to two Teaching Fellows interviewers. An interview event consists of both a group session and an individual interview. Each candidate will be asked to teach a five-minute lesson to the larger group, participate in a group discussion, write about a specific educational scenario, and engage in a one-on-one interview with a Fellows interviewer. At the event, candidates have the chance to meet other potential Fellows and to gain a deeper perspective on the program. More information about the interview event will be provided in advance.
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When and where do interviews take place?
All interviews are conducted in person in the Denver area. Most interview events are held on weekends, and each candidate will be given the opportunity to sign up for an interview event that is most convenient for him/her. We encourage candidates to apply early, as this may allow more opportunities to select a convenient interview event date.
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Do I have to interview in Denver?
Yes. We understand that it can be an investment of time and money for our out-of-town candidates to travel here to Denver to interview; however, candidates invited to interview must attend one of our interview events in order to continue the application process. Interview events are comprehensive and designed to enable you to demonstrate your commitment to closing the achievement gap and your potential to become an excellent teacher through a variety of methods. They are also your chance to meet other potential Teaching Fellows. Therefore, this is not something that we can re-create by telephone or by other means.
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What is the application deadline?
We are no longer accepting applications for the 2011-12 school year.  Please click on the Apply Now and create an account to receive email notifications when we are ready to accept applications again in the Fall 2011.
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How can I get more information?
We regularly hold information sessions for anyone interested in learning more about the program. Please refer to the Contact Us section if you would like to contact the Fellows office with other specific questions.
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Admission and Enrollment

I applied to DTF but wasn't accepted. Can I appeal the decision on my application?
No. All applications are thoroughly reviewed during our rigorous application process, and admissions decisions are final. Because we receive an exceptional number of applications each year, we are unable to re-evaluate individual applications or provide personalized feedback to applicants who have not been accepted to the program.
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Can I defer acceptance into the program?
Candidates may not defer acceptance into the Teaching Fellows program; however, they may re-apply to begin teaching next fall.
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Can I re-apply to the program next year if I am not accepted?
Yes, but in order to be considered, you must be able to demonstrate improvements in your candidacy since your previous application.  The process for applicants who are re-applying is no different than that for applicants applying for the first time.  Because the needs of the school system change from year to year, even those applicants who were admitted to the program in a previous year and declined our offer of admission or withdrew from the program, must re-apply to begin teaching the following year.
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I meet all of the Teaching Fellows eligibility requirements. Why wasn't I accepted?
The Teaching Fellows program is highly selective, with many more eligible applicants than we have positions available in the program.  Our eligibility requirements are only the minimum qualifications necessary to be considered for the program, and meeting them in no way guarantees an applicant acceptance.  Neither is an achievement or experience, including prior teaching experience, sufficient to guarantee acceptance.
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When does the program actually begin?
The Training Institute is tentatively scheduled to begin in early-June and will last through July 2010. Click here for more information on summer training. Upon successful completion of training, Teaching Fellows will then start teaching full time in fall of 2010.
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Your Teaching Position

What will I be teaching?
Candidates to the Teaching Fellows program are accepted to teach specific subjects. The subject that you are accepted to teach is based on the staffing needs of the schools, your eligibility, and, where possible, your subject area preferences. Your eligibility is determined according to strict district and state regulations. Fellows are needed to teach in subjects where Denver students are currently most in need of effective teachers— math, special education, and bilingual Spanish (K-6).
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How do I know what subject I am qualified to teach?
What you are qualified to teach largely depends on your academic history and your successful passing of the appropriate content exam.  Generally speaking, to be qualified to teach a subject, you must have a strong academic background in the field. Special education and bilingual Spanish (K-6) candidates must pass the elementary Praxis II or PLACE exam.  Please visit the Eligibility section for more detailed information.
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Where will I be teaching?
Fellows will teach in high-need schools—often with less resources and greater need for strong teachers. It is the mission of the Teaching Fellows program to staff schools in high-need areas, and all candidates should be prepared to teach wherever they are most needed and can have the greatest impact on student achievement.  Click here for more details.
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How does the process of securing a school placement work?
District hiring is the process through which teachers find their specific teaching positions in high-need Denver Public Schools.  This process generally includes interactions with both principals and district hiring personnel. Although candidates will have the opportunity to express their subject area and geographical preferences, these assignments are driven primarily by school needs and by each Fellow’s eligibility.  Fellows must be extremely flexible about their teaching positions. Review Securing Your Teaching Position to learn more.
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Can I choose where I will teach?
The Denver Teaching Fellows program facilitates part of the district hiring process, but it is the responsibility of the Fellow to present him/herself as a compelling candidate for hire and the decision of the school and district to hire a Fellow to teach at a particular school.  For more information about where Fellows teach, click here.
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When will I know where I will be teaching?
Fellows will be actively engaged in the district hiring process from spring through the beginning of the school year.  Identifying and finalizing a specific teaching job is a challenging process, as there are many variables involved in predicting job openings at the school level.  You will receive more information about this process if you are accepted into the Teaching Fellows program.
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Can I change my teaching placement after I have started teaching?
You are expected to teach at the school where you are originally hired and commit to positive change in your school.
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Will there be other Fellows teaching at my school?
The Fellows program works with schools to cluster teachers in the same school or neighborhood where possible.  However, placement is due in large part to district need and the location of un-staffed positions; for this reason, we ask Fellows to be extremely flexible about their teaching assignment.
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Training and Resources

Once I become a Fellow, how will I be prepared for the classroom?
In the summer of 2011, Fellows will complete an intensive training program that includes observation and practice teaching in a Denver summer school classroom, daily sessions led by experienced teachers focused on the practical aspects of teaching and issues faced by teachers in high-need schools, and additional coursework related to the foundation of strong teaching practices.  Attendance at all components of training is mandatory. Please click here for more information.
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How intensive is summer training?
The Teaching Fellows training program concentrates a great deal of training into only a few weeks; thus, training is extremely demanding.  Due to the critical part that training plays in preparing Fellows to be successful in the classroom, Fellows cannot miss any portion of the training. Please review the Training & Resources section of this website for more information.
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How long is summer training?
The training program for Fellows is a full-time, six-week commitment over the summer.
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Will I be paid for training?
During the summer training session, Fellows are provided with a $2,000 pre-tax stipend. The stipend is generally distributed at the end of the summer training.  Because the time between the start of training and a Fellow’s first paycheck may be lengthy (possibly June to September), we encourage Fellows to take appropriate measures to ensure their financial well-being during this time. Participants go on the district payroll when they begin teaching. Please review the Salary and Benefits section of this website for more information.
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What kind of ongoing resources and connections are available to Teaching Fellows?
Fellows often look to develop their most basic, ongoing support network at their schools and from their cohort of Teaching Fellows.  Although every situation is different, Fellows may collaborate with and access resources from other teachers at their school, district instructional specialists, assistant principals, principals, or a grade- or subject-level team.  Moreover, summer training events facilitate connections among Fellows who often teach the same subjects areas. Fellows may take advantage of district and school-sponsored professional development programs. The Teaching Fellows program office also makes Fellows aware of professional development and networking opportunities throughout the year and publishes a regular newsletter.  New Teaching Fellows can draw on their connections with other Fellows and district teachers as a resource for planning, reflection, and shared encouragement as they strive for excellence in their individual classrooms. 
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Compensation and Benefits

What is the starting salary for Denver Teaching Fellows?
The starting salary for Fellows is the same as that for all other beginning teachers earning initial licensure through an alternative licensure program. Starting teachers in 2008-2009, with no previous classroom experience, typically earn $34,804 in their first year, depending on their education level and related coursework. Salary levels can be expected to increase once Fellows earn their Initial License after two years teaching. Additionally, there are significant bonuses available to Fellows through the district's ProComp program.  Fellows become salaried employees of the district when all teachers report back to work in August; teachers normally receive their first pay check during the first month of teaching. Candidates should refer to the Salary & Benefits section of this website for more information.
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What employment benefits do Fellows receive?
Fellows are eligible for the same benefits as all other district teachers, including health insurance and a pension plan.  For more information about benefits, refer to the Salary & Benefits section of this website.
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