The Center for Urban Education (CUE) with the University of Northern Colorado hosts a grow-your-own paraprofessional to teacher pipeline program. CUE offers teacher preparation degree programs for Colorado licensure in elementary, early childhood and special education. Housed at the University of Northern Colorado’s Denver campus, the CUE teacher candidates complete a K–12 classroom apprenticeships; a broad liberal arts curriculum; and focused teaching methods courses.

The Center for Urban Education is designed to accommodate a non-traditional student body that ranges in age from 18-65 years old and includes individuals shouldering the responsibilities of work, school, and family simultaneously.

CUE offers the elementary majors a concentration in English as a Second Language or a concentration in special education. The approach fashioned by CUE for its students effectively addresses key issues confronting the field: teacher supply, teacher quality, teacher diversity, and the preparation of teachers for success in urban settings.

CUE is different from traditional teacher preparation programs in two ways. First, the apprenticeship allows students to graduate with more than 3000 hours of classroom experience vs. 800 hours in a traditional teacher education program. Next, block scheduling (five week-long courses) allows students greater focus with their academic work, and better access for students with family and work commitments who could not attend a traditional program to obtain their teaching license. The Center has achieved great success developing paraprofessionals to be teachers who understand and appreciate urban students.

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