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Old 02-17-2013, 06:16 PM
24 posts, read 28,218 times
Reputation: 17


Hello everyone!

I have been a long time lurker on these boards, but now that I am going to move I decided to ask for the community's help.

I currently live in Connecticut, but I am planning on moving to Colorado this summer. I am going to take a trip out there for a week to scout the area and try to decide where I should live / best place to get a job.

Just a little background in case it will help:
I am a 23 year old teacher and I have quite a bit of money saved up for the move. I visited the state on a cross country road trip last summer and fell in love with the mountains. Ideally, I would like to live as close to the mountains as possible.

From my research, it sounds like the only place a teacher has a chance of getting a job in the state is in one of the big cities on the eastern range (Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder, Colorado Springs). If this is true, I was planning on visiting those four cities during my trip.

Which leads me to my question:

If I only have a week to spend, what should I see and where should I go in: Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder, Colorado Springs.

Keeping in mind I am looking for potential places to get an apartment and hopefully look for a teaching job (I know the market is never great for us).

Any ideas?

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Old 02-17-2013, 07:06 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,389 posts, read 39,704,721 times
Reputation: 23407
I would get REAL serious about getting a job in a Mtn community. Too much competition in larger districts, too far from Mtns.

There is a price to pay for living in Mtns, but REALLY there is nothing that substitutes actually being there everyday in Mtn environment, and watching the weather change several times / day. You are young, now is the time to make the sacrifice and get the connections necessary to afford living in mtns. (There are fairly reasonabe ways to live in Mtns, but the VISITORS (i.e. weekenders from Denver) will never know or care to know.

I would consider Glenwood Springs as you can find several districts within driving range.

Estes Park is decent sized district but NOT a good location if you are a downhill skier (great for XC / shoeshoe)

Buena Vista, Gunnison, ...

If you have to go east side, then Colo Springs is as close as reasonable to mtn. Denver, I would not even stop for gas there. (tho it will be cheaper than mtns... don't burn any daylight looking for jobs / housing there)

IF you are a teacher and moving to Mtns and plan a career, I wouldn't consider Co in the top 5 destinations. YMMV

AK, WY pay and fund schools MUCH better. ID, UT, MT probably all superior to CO for Mtn living and teaching. SD would be a choice for me, as NO STATE INCOME tax is a plus during earning yrs. (AK, WA, WY, SD are all mtn states with no income tax, and NV too).

I see your age will be an issue (probably don't have 15 yrs experience). BUT the right job and... should work well. If you have school debt... then the no-brainer is to work on an Indian Reservation for debt forgiveness. (GOOD (worthwhile) experience too)

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 02-17-2013 at 07:19 PM..
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:52 PM
Location: Colorado
1,712 posts, read 3,037,123 times
Reputation: 1747
A couple things to know, schools do not hire the way they do in Connecticut! You must e-mail the principal of the school where you would like a position with your cover letter and resume. You apply to the district for a particular position, but the principal is the one that makes the decision by him/herself instead of a department head.

If you have taught for three years already, it is easy to convert your license to Colorado, but start now! if you haven't taught for three years, you'll need to work on getting your CO certificate. You'll notice that the salaries are much lower than CT ones, small communities pay even less.

Start looking seriously at each district's website starting in March. Each district has their own day that they update their openings. Another teacher I knew had a spreadsheet with the days that the districts he was interested in updated so that he would see all the new openings and be able to apply for them.

In March, there are two large teacher job fairs, both are at about the same time. One at the University of Northern Colorado (Greeley) and another in Denver. I had plenty of interviews at both. I would go to both if you can to get your name in the systems.

Congratulations! I'm originally from CT as well, I taught there for four years before I moved out here.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:00 PM
9,830 posts, read 19,525,426 times
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There are some teachers on this board that can chime in, but at least from what I have heard, someone in your shoes will not have it easy to get a job.

One thing you can do if you really want to live in the mountains, not just live on the prairie and maybe see the mountains in the distance like Denver, is check out some of the mountain districts in places like Summit and Eagle County and also some of the isolated rural places. Sometimes due to cost of living or remoteness, that creates a situation of frequent turnover, it is possible to get a job as a teacher with no real work experience. I knew a few teachers in Eagle County and often they had second jobs as well.

The reality that will smack you around is the fact that just about everyone else wants to move to Colorado too and in Colorado a lot of jobs like this are very competitive. If you are serious, I wouldn't worry about being picky about where you are going to live. I would find every district out there in Colorado and apply to every single job you would be suited for.

I'd also plan out a second option for income for what you might do if things don't go your way.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:25 PM
24 posts, read 28,218 times
Reputation: 17
Thanks for the advice so far everyone.

I know that I am giving up a good job, but my career isn't the number one thing that I care about. I'm more of an experiential person and I feel like the time is right for a number of reasons.

I do not doubt that it will be difficult to get a job in Colorado, but I have a pretty good resume for a young teacher and I do a very good job at interviews. The reason that I asked about the cities is because they will probably have more jobs available. However, I am not opposed to working, day care, tutor, etc. to pay the bills while I find a teaching job. I plan on applying all across the western half of the state as soon as I get my license (it's in the process, should be easy because we have reciprocity).

Is it viable to live in the mountains and work in a city? Or is traffic, driving time, etc too long?

Thanks again
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:01 PM
Location: Colorado
1,712 posts, read 3,037,123 times
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What do you consider "in the mountains?" I'm in Colorado Springs and I see Pikes Peak everyday. I'm about a 40 minute drive to truly be in the mountains.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:06 PM
24 posts, read 28,218 times
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In general I mean that I do not want to live in the eastern half of Colorado. However, as close to being close to the beautiful mountains for hiking, camping, etc. the better. Coming from CT where I have already hiked all the major 'mountains' (if you can call them that) I think that living 30-60 from the legitimate mountains would still be pretty good.

I am looking for the beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation, and slightly slower pace of life. Also, I am fairly liberal and don't really want to live in a conservative-mindset town.

Also, thanks for the heads up on the job fairs. The UNC one is right in the middle of my planned scouting trip! Perfect timing!
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:45 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,389 posts, read 39,704,721 times
Reputation: 23407
The UNC job fair is a good one for prospective teachers.

I would still focus on BEING in the Mtns and avoid commute UNLESS it was from Woodland Park to Colo Springs, or Lyons to Boulder or Longmont. It is tough to commute down the hill in early morning weather.

Try the Eagle County option mentioned above. If you can swing living in Eagle county you can probably look to tutoring and offering some advanced instruction for the kids of WEALTHY trust fund babies who now have their OWN kids and do EVERYTHING possible for their EDU (many prefer Montessori type edu or WELL paid nanny / private instruction.)

There are options, you just need to be creative. Get onto some blogs from mtn towns and get GOOD connections there. EXPLORE OPTIONS and don't accept the status quo. Find out the most successful EDU opportunities in mtn towns. Maybe you could teach a 'Singapore curriculum' to mtn kids . (As an international worker and a hiring 'technical manager' and homeschooler myself, tho from a family of educators, teaching, and educated (in Colorado) (whole family / siblings all homeschooled while TEACHING day shift... you don't want my feedback on USA EDU system, but thx for your contribution to CHANGE it.)

Good luck. Bring lots of money and stamina. You can make it work,

Don't worry CO is now plenty liberal for you, most of the conservatives have been forced to leave. I've been gone for decades (but still own property and pay taxes and visit there several times / yr) . I just don't get to VOTE there, and have to live with all the decisions that are rammed down mine and most other job creator's throats. No representation, same as most western / mtn states that got California-ized 30 + yrs ago.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:16 PM
Location: Littleton, CO
3,111 posts, read 4,881,407 times
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First of all, there is always teacher turnover. Teachers retire, some leave, either for greener pastures or for a new profession, and some get fired. What is most important is the hiring timeline.

Teachers who wish to retire will notify the district in the next couple of weeks (they could potentially lose out on some bonus money if they retire suddenly in the summer), school districts are required to notify teachers whose contracts will not be renewed by mid-April. This means that the schools will be hiring from mid-March to mid-May. There might be jobs after that, but they will be few and far between.

The biggest district in the mountains is actually Jefferson County. The Jeffco mountain school area enrolls about 20,000 students in the mountains directly west of Denver. The rest of the district has 65,000 more students in the western suburbs of Denver.

Your chances of getting a job is much greater if you stick to the cities. If you stay west of I-25, then it is pretty easy to access the mountains.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:24 AM
24 posts, read 28,218 times
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David, thanks for your insight.

The fact that teaching jobs have a high turnover is one of the things keeping me confident. I am currently in the process of getting my CO teaching license, but I am waiting for some pieces of paperwork to arrive in the mail.

Thanks for the information on Jefferson county as well. It seems like Colorado advertises their teaching jobs a little different than CT. In CT, we have a website, ctreap.net, where most of the major districts post open jobs. However, it seems like CO doesn't have a central location for this information and instead each district posts their own openings. Is this true, or is there a magical website like ctreap.net that I have been missing?

Also, just a question for experienced teachers: When should I submit my letter of resignation to my current school? They are in the process of planning the budget for next year and my principal is asking for meetings to discuss next year's curriculum. I want to give my school the proper respect and time to find a replacement / not mess up their plans. However, I also want to have enough time to solidify my own plans. Any ideas?
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