English Language Acquisition

Denver Public Schools is rich in diversity, with more than 34,000 English-language learners representing more than 170 languages. To make sure we effectively support our English language learners, all DPS teachers are provided English Language Acquisition (ELA) training. This training and other supports for teachers are conducted by our ELA department.

Detailed information on the ELA teacher qualification requirements can be found below. To review and sign up for ELA courses, please visit the ELA Teacher Qualification website. If you have questions about the different requirements, please contact ELA_Training@dpsk12.org.

Please note: Your classroom's ELA designation will be emailed to you within 1-2 months after your official start date. If you have questions about your classroom's ELA designation, please contact HR Connect at 720-423-3900 or Connect_HumanResources@dpsk12.org.


English Language Acquisition Teacher Qualifications

DPS has three ELA designations for teachers and their classrooms:

  • ELA-Transitional (ELA-T)
  • ELA-English (ELA-E) 
  • ELA-Spanish (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 to complete the ELA-T coursework (39.5 hours total) by May of your first year in the district.

Teachers new to DPS and hired before the start of the school year can complete this essential coursework during the summer, prior to starting their teaching role. We strongly encourage teachers to exercise this option. To do so, plan to attend the DPS Summer Academy during June/July of 2017. Teachers who complete the ELA-T coursework during Summer Academy will receive a $2,000 stipend for this work. (Note: Additional compensation is not offered to teachers who complete this coursework during the academic year.)

Sign up for ELA-T classes via the ELA Teacher Qualification website.


ELA-E, required for some teachers

Some teachers are designated as ELA-E based on the student population of their classroom or school. Obtaining an ELA-E qualification requires additional coursework; a total of 77.5 hours of ELA training are required.

While many ELA-E designations are made before the beginning of the school year, some are not, given fluctuations in student populations. If your ELA designation shifts from ELA-T to ELA-E, you will be notified and given a timeline for completing your coursework.

Sign up for ELA-E classes via the ELA Teacher Qualification website.


ELA-S, required for individuals hired into positions designated as ELA-S

This designation is for teachers who work in bilingual (English/Spanish) classrooms. ELA-S teachers are required to become ELA-S qualified and pass a Spanish Language Proficiency (SLP) exam, the first two parts of which must be completed before starting an ELA-S teaching position.

Click here for more information about the SLP Exam.

Note: If you did not apply for and accept a position designated as ELA-S, this designation will not apply to you. 

Sign up for ELA-S classes via the ELA Teacher Qualification website.


Waivers: New teachers typically cannot waive the required ELA-T coursework. The only teachers eligible for waivers are those who have (1) a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse endorsement from the CDE; or (2) a masters degree or PhD in bilingual and ESL education. If you meet this profile, you 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.

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