ELA Teacher Qualifications

Why Do All DPS Teachers Have an ELA Designation?

Denver Public Schools is a district rich in diversity, with over 34,000 English-language learners in the district representing over 170 languages.

To ensure that we are properly preparing all our students for a bright future, our English Language Acquisition (ELA) department provides educators the resources necessary to help our English-language learners participate and succeed within the classroom and beyond.  

English Language Acquisition Teacher Qualifications

Three ELA designations exist for teachers and their classrooms: ELA-T, ELA-E and ELA-S. All teachers new to DPS are required to meet the ELA-T qualification requirements by May of their first year in the district.

  • ELA-T: Required for all teachers new to DPS. As a teacher new to DPS, you are required as a condition of your employment and a federal consent decree to complete the ELA-T coursework (39.5 hours total) by May of your first year in the district.
    • The required ELA-T coursework is as follows:
      1. ELA 101 (1-hr online course)
      2. ELA Foundations (3-hr online course)
      3. The Denver ELA Program (3.5-hr in-person course)
      4. Academic Language in the Content Areas (eight-week course  with three in-person sessions and five online sessions)
      5. Either of the following:
        • English Language Development (eight-week course with three in-person sessions and five online sessions); note: this course is created for elementary and ELD secondary teachers
        • Sheltering (eight-week course with three in-person sessions and five online sessions)‚Äč
  • ELA-E: Required for some teachers. Some teachers will be designated as ELA-E depending on the student population of their classroom/school. Obtaining ELA-E qualification requires completing additional coursework (a total of 77.5 hours are required). If designated as ELA-E, teachers will be notified by HR regarding the timeline for completing the coursework. While many ELA-E designations are made before the beginning of the school year, some are not, given fluctuations in student populations. However, should your ELA designation shift from ELA-T to ELA-E, you will be notified by HR and/or your principal.  
  • ELA-S: Required for individuals hired into a position designated as ELA-S. For classrooms that necessitate a bilingual teaching environment (English/Spanish), teachers are required to become ELA-S qualified and pass a Spanish Language Proficiency (SLP) exam, the first two parts of which need to be completed before starting an ELA-S teaching position. Note: If you did not apply for and accept a position designated as ELA-S (this designation would have been in the job title and/or job description), this designation will not apply to you.

DPS is committed to helping every teacher gain the knowledge and instructional techniques to help our English learners succeed. Please refer to the ELA Interactive Guide available on the ELA Teacher Qualifications webpage to sign up for courses and to view a complete semester schedule, course designation worksheets and information on the Spanish Language Praxis exam and ELA waivers.

(Note: There is currently no option for new teachers to waive the required ELA-T coursework. The only exception is for individuals that have a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse endorsement from the CDE or a masters degree or PhD in bilingual and ESL education; individuals that meet this profile will only have to complete ELA 101 and the Denver ELA Program courses. To verify your eligibility for this waiver, please email ELA_WaiverRequest@dpsk12.org)

Once you have started at DPS, please take the following steps to begin completion of your required coursework:

  1. Locate your ELA designation letter emailed by Human Resources.  Please note that this letter is sent within one month of your start date.  If your principal determines that additional training is required, Human Resources will send you a follow up email with your updated designation and deadline.   
  2. Upon locating your designation letter, click on the link provided to view the ELA Teacher Qualification Interactive Guide
  3. In the Interactive Guide, scroll down to your designation checklist (page 4).  Please note that this page will list all courses required by your designation.
  4. Once you have reviewed your designation checklist, you may register through Schoolnet under the PD Search by typing in the course name, or through the ELA Interactive Guide by locating the desired course and clicking on the appropriate section link.
  5. As per your employment contract, you must complete at least two courses within your first 60 days of your employment.
  6. Please note that you may review your designation and deadline at any point under the ‘Activities’ tab of your Professional Development Profile on Schoolnet.

For further inquiries, please contact HR Connect at 720-423-3900 or the ELA department at ela_teachertraining@dpsk12.org.

 Thank you for your commitment to DPS and our vision of Every Child Succeeds.

Questions about training requirements or waivers? Visit the ELA Teacher Qualifications webpage or call HR Connect at 720-423-3900.


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