DCSD’s Alt Licensure Program is One-of-a-Kind

DCSD’s Alternative Licensure Program is One-of-a-Kind
Posted on 04/18/2024

With a national teacher shortage, Douglas County School District (DCSD) is taking the lead in providing an opportunity for those currently working in DCSD to obtain their teaching license. Through DCSD’s Alternative Licensure Program, those in certified teaching positions can earn a teaching license in any role as a K-12 teacher. Certified staff members have a Bachelor’s degree and are working towards their teaching license through this unique program.

“We’re thrilled to be growing our own teachers,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Amanda Thompson. “We want to retain our valuable employees and help them grow professionally. And now we’re providing a pathway for them to earn their teaching license for free!”

The cost of earning a teaching license can range between $5,000 - $15,000, depending on the institution. DCSD pays for the program and license and requires a two-year teaching commitment in return. Teachers are already working in classrooms and honing their skills while learning and earning their license ‘on the job.’

With approval from the Colorado Department of Education, the first class of DCSD’s Alternative Licensure Program is underway with 33 staff members. They started the program in August 2023 and will graduate in May 2025. The group has assigned mentors to help them throughout the program. After school, they attend two classes monthly at DCSD’s Legacy Campus. The learning will continue over the summer with online assignments.

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The response was even more than DCSD anticipated.

“We knew it would be popular, but we didn’t expect to reach capacity for the first year. We’re starting a second cohort in July,” said DCSD Learning Services Officer Matt Reynolds.

Those enrolled in the alternative licensure program have bachelor's degrees and are currently in the classroom teaching subjects such as English, math, music, physical education, art, and business. Many joined the DCSD family from other careers.

Recently, the State Board of Education approved the addition of the Special Education Generalist (ages 5-21) to DCSD’s alternative Teacher Preparation Program. This program is for staff who already have a college degree and are interested in becoming a special education teacher. The program will be available during the 2024-2025 school year.

After the students completed the fall semester, they sent notes of thanks to the alternative licensure program leaders. Here is a small sampling of the comments:

“Thank you, DCSD HR Team! The support you have given us new teachers has been unmatched. I feel prepared, supported, and cared for each day I walk into school! This program has helped me find my true passion and I’m grateful for that. Thank you for everything you do for all of us.” – Ryan Murray, Physical Education Teacher, Clear Sky Elementary School

“What a gift you have given me! The incredible opportunity to be among the first class in this wonderful alternative licensure program has been gift enough. Tonight we received a bag full of goodies from all of you. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. What a blessing this district is to its students and its educators!” – Gina Luber, Secondary Speech Teacher, Rocky Heights Middle School

“I am exhausted, but I have never been so thankful to wake up and go to work! I originally went to school to be an art teacher, however, life took me in other directions and 20 years later here I am! Without that time away and doing those day jobs that did not really mean anything to me, and without the wonderful support of the DCSD Alternative Licensure Program, I would be afraid. Getting to teach every day might have gotten lost on me! Thank you for everything you do to support teachers!” – Kami Mathisen, Elementary Art Teacher, Eldorado Elementary

“Thank you for the time and energy that you’ve put into the Alternative Licensure Program. I appreciate all the ways you have made it helpful, applicable, and especially free!” – Becca Anderson, Elementary Music Teacher, Franktown Elementary

“Thank you for all the support. We feel truly fortunate to be in this program. You are very amazing and you have made this easy for us. Keep helping the teachers who are very passionate about their profession!” – Prema Viswanathan, Art Teacher, Rock Canyon High School

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In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District's Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Aaron Henderson, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, [email protected], 303-387-0127.

Outside Agencies

Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.


Special Education records which have been collected by Douglas County School District related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of special education in the district, must be maintained under state and federal laws for the period of five (5) years after special education services have ended for the student. Special education services end when the student is no longer eligible for services, graduates, or completes his/her educational program at age 21, or moves from the district. This notification is to inform parents/guardians and former students of Douglas County School District's intent to destroy the special education records of students who exited special education services as of June 30, 2016. These records will be destroyed in accordance with state law unless the parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student notifies the school district otherwise. After five years, the records are no longer useful to the district, but may be useful to the parent/guardian or former student in applying for social security benefits, rehabilitation services, college entrance, etc. The parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student may request a copy of the records by requesting the records at this link ( Douglas County School District Transcripts and Records Requests ).