Press Release: Educators Turn to CEA Online Professional Learning During Coronavirus Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 7, 2020

     Enrollment in COpilot surges for free, peer-to-peer distance learning coursework to enhance student outcomes during school closures

DENVER –  For three years, the Colorado Education Association’s online professional learning platform, COpilot, has proven educators can soar when given the chance to learn from one another to help every student thrive. With school buildings now closed due to coronavirus, educators have made COpilot the go-to source in Colorado to get up-to-speed on distance learning quickly.

“Teaching is a team experience and educators have always turned to one another for advice and guidance to improve their practice and meet student needs. It’s so much more critical for educators to do that now, and fortunately, we have wonderful technology in place that’s bringing educators together to take on today’s immense challenges with distance learning,” said CEA President Amie Baca-Oehlert.

Featuring courses and lesson plans designed and taught by CEA members, COpilot offers educators resources and support in one convenient place that can be accessed at any time. In response to the coronavirus crisis, CEA has offered special, abbreviated sections of some of the most useful technology classes to help educators who are having to quickly shift their content from the classroom to digital platforms.

Google Classroom is one example of the technology courses taught on COpilot. The free web service simplifies the process of sharing files between teachers and students. Elisabeth Frank, a teacher in the Cherry Creek School District, learned how to use this service to create, distribute and grade assignments in a remote learning environment.

“I am not a tech person at all, and I learned an incredible amount from my COpilot course. Kids have already started to work on assignments and turn them in,” said Frank in her course feedback. “Only because of this class, I am able to grade, comment, and send back work to a student. I am able to use the various functions in Google Classroom because of COpilot. Thank you so much for helping me prepare for remote learning.”

Teacher Becky Roup took the same COpilot course in the rural town of Holly, just miles from the Kansas border. “I didn’t feel 100 percent confident about making a Google Classroom, but I jumped right in with what I learned from my COpilot class. This has proven to be the BEST professional decision I have ever made. Gaining these skills through COpilot helped me to make the remote learning shift for my students more bearable. Thank you for that!”

The response to COpilot’s special course offerings was astounding. In just 48 hours, 287 educators signed up for more than 450 course enrollments. CEA is working through a waiting list to support many more educators who want the training.

CEA broke new ground with COpilot in 2017, becoming the first association of educators in the country to launch a statewide, interactive tool delivering peer-to-peer teaching support. COpilot celebrated eclipsing the 10,000-enrollment milestone this spring.

“I am so proud of our respected teaching experts who are taking the lead even during this pandemic to share their knowledge on COpilot with educators who need quality, relevant professional learning now more than ever,” added Baca-Oehlert. “We are at our best for students when educators step forward to lead the profession and share the wisdom they’ve gained. COpilot’s continued popularity tells us these courses will make a difference for many more educators to impact their students’ success.”

COpilot’s course facilitators earn money for teaching their courses, which can help an educator afford to live in the state with the least competitive teacher pay in the country. COpilot is available to all educators in Colorado. Media wishing to connect with a COpilot participant should contact Mike Wetzel, CEA public relations director, at mwetzel@coloradoea.org or 720-454-5729.

# # #