Guest (Substitute) Teaching


Become a Guest Teacher or Substitute Paraprofessional with DPS

Guest teaching is an opportunity like no other. You can:

  • Work with students on a part-time or full-time basis
  • Enjoy a flexible schedule
  • Build lasting relationships with students, schools and other teachers
  • Earn a higher hourly rate when you become a Super Guest Teacher
  • Work in any of five regions, and serve more than 160 schools, including charter schools

Guest teaching is a popular pathway into the teaching profession. It’s an ideal way for you to gain some real-world experience in the classroom, so you can decide if you would like to pursue additional education to secure your teaching credentials. The district provides our guest teachers with comprehensive training and supports, including:

  • New employee orientation training
  • Guest teacher orientation training, including our Guest Teacher Handbook 2018-19
  • Classroom management training
  • SmartFind Express (SFE) systems training
  • Student safety procedures and mandated reporting training
  • Health Care Benefit Offerings depending on position and work activity

There are a couple of requirements for becoming a guest teacher. First, you must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, which would qualify you to apply for the proper license with the Colorado Department of Education (3-year substitute authorization, Initial or Professional License or a 5-year substitute authorization).  The CDE link is Once you clear the hiring process, we ask that our Guest Teachers work a minimum of five (5) assignments a month. However, we are able to make exceptions to this requirement for certain situations (i.e. retirees, building subs, student teachers, and 2nd jobs).

There are a few steps in order to become a guest teacher for DPS. First, you must have the proper licensure (or your pending receipt showing your license is in process) from the Colorado Department of Education.  Acceptable licenses are 3-year substitute authorization, Initial or Professional License or a 5-year substitute authorization. Next, you would need to apply to the guest teacher posting here.   After your application has been received, an interview invite will be sent. If your interview is successful, the hiring on-boarding process would begin.

There are two types of substitute paraprofessionals, one for Special Education and one for Early Childhood Education (ECE). Both positions require an associate’s degree (48 credit hours) or a high school diploma with a passing score on the TABE D test.  Passing Workeys score prior to June 2018 in Reading for Information and Applied Mathematics will replace the TABE D test requirement.

Complete the on-line application and apply to the posting. If selected, notification will be e-mailed to you and the on-boarding process for hiring will begin. Once selected for hire, the submission of references and completing a background check will be needed.

2018-19 Substitute Para positions

Click here if you are interested in applying to be a Special Education Sub Para.

Click here if you are interested in applying to be an Early Childhood Education Para.

Yes. You would need to apply to each position and be hired for each position.

The pay for being a guest teacher is $106.80/day ($13.35/hour). After working 60 full day assignments, the rate increases to $146.80 a day ($18.35/hour). The retired teacher’s pay is $123.20/day ($15.40/hour), increasing after 60 full day assignments to $160.72/day ($20.09/hour).

Special Education Substitute Paraprofessional is $14.39-15.14/hour

ECE Substitute Paraprofessional is $13.00-13.82/hour

Rate of pay is based on experience.

Yes. DPS is divided into five geographical regions. After you are hired, the automated system, SmartFind Express, will allow you to select any or all of the regions. More information is provided during orientation and is also available in our training guides located on this website.

We encourage guest teachers to work as many days as possible.   We do ask that our Guest Teachers work a minimum of five (5) assignments a month. However, we are able to make exceptions to this requirement for certain situations (i.e. retirees, building subs, student teachers, and 2nd jobs.

All district employees are paid two days a month.  These dates typically land on the 7th and 22nd.

Resources for Current Guest Teachers and Substitute Paraprofessionals

SmartFind Express (SFE) is DPS’s system that searches for and makes guest teacher assignments when DPS teachers, Special Education paraprofessionals and Early Childhood paraprofessionals report a planned or emergency absence.  All DPS guest teachers and guest paraprofessionals must be registered in the SFE system in order to search for and accept guest teaching assignments.

After you are hired by DPS as either a guest teacher or guest paraprofessional, you will receive an e-mail as soon as you are able to register in the SFE system. You must register over the telephone. The telephone number is 720-501-6291. Your access code will be your DPS employee ID and your initial PIN will also be your DPS employee ID. You can then change your PIN. Once you have registered over the phone, you can also access the system on-line at

Directions and user manuals for using the SFE system are accessible on this website, the guest teacher website at

Please follow the directions for changing your PIN, recording your name and verifying your call-back number. Once you have completed those actions over the telephone, please log into the system and complete the following steps:

  • Update your availability schedule – the system will assume you are available every weekday, all day, to fill jobs. If you can only work specific days or partial days, you must update your schedule so you won’t be contacted for jobs you cannot fill.
  • Select your classifications – you must indicate in the system which subject areas or grades you prefer to teach. You may select as many as you wish. If you are a teacher, please make sure you select only those classifications that start with the word TEACH. If you are a paraprofessional, please make sure you select only those positions that begin with PARA.
  • Select the locations where you prefer to work – please note that you should select location groups, not individual locations, if you want more opportunities to work. To select location groups, scroll to the bottom of the list, past the names of the individual schools.
  • Please note that you can change this information at any time. It is your responsibility to keep it current.

No, you do not have to wait for a call. You can go into the SFE system online at any time and search for and accept open jobs. You can also search for jobs via the phone system. Directions for how to do this are included in the SFE substitute user guide located on the guest teacher website at

Yes, you can accept the assignment if it is still open.  You can accept the assignment either online or via the phone system.

Currently the district requests that jobs are available to be picked up by phone and online. You can view jobs online and select jobs in advance that will fill up your calendar. The system is less likely to call you when your calendar is already filled. NOTE: Even though your calendar is filled, you may still receive calls for jobs that get cancelled.

You should call HR Connect at 720-423-3900 when encountering problems with the system. Please make sure you reference the SFE substitute user guide provided on our guest teacher website at  before calling HR Connect.

There are instructions in the SFE user guide for canceling an assignment you have already accepted. If you are canceling an assignment within 24 hours of the start of the assignment, follow the steps below:

  1. Call the SFE system or go online and remove (cancel) yourself from the job. This way the system will begin to call other guest teachers and get the absence filled.
  2. Call the school and advise them you have removed yourself from the job and the reason you canceled. This helps to ensure the school is aware in which they can work on getting the absence filled.
  3. If you are unable to follow either of the steps listed above, we ask you to call the HR Connect office at 720-423-3900.

NOTE: While we understand that emergencies occur, a pattern of cancellations will result in your removal from our guest teacher pool.

If you are going to be unavailable to work for a specified period of time (on vacation, out of town, etc.), you can update your calendar in SFE to reflect the day(s) you will be unavailable to take jobs. Refer to the the SFE substitute user guide for more information. NOTE: There is a five-day-a-month requirement to remain in the guest teacher pool. If your unavailability leads you to not meet this requirement, we ask you to e-mail the guest teacher management team at with this information.

Resources for Teachers, Paras and Guest Teachers Needing to Request a Sub

You should go into the SmartFind Express system (SFE) to report either a planned, future absence or an emergency absence.  Directions for using the SFE system can be found at Please note that in order to log into the SFE system, you must first have registered in SFE over the phone. The phone number for the SFE system is 720-501-6291. After registering, you may access the system at to report absences. Your log-in to both the phone system and the online system is your DPS employee ID. Additionally, you may be required to contact your school leadership directly. Consult your principal or assistant principal for further information about school-specific policies.

You should always report all planned or unplanned absences in the SmartFind Express system. SFE is now the system of record for all attendance records for teachers and Career Tech Instructors. If you do not need a substitute, you can pick the option that says “No Sub Required.” But always put your absences in SFE.

Yes, you can arrange your own Guest Teacher. When you enter your absence, you can “Specify a Substitute.”  You can also indicate whether the arrangement has already been made or if you want the system to “Call the Substitute.”

Some absence reasons require approval. The list of absence reason codes, indicating which ones require approval and which do not, is contained in the SFE instructions, which can be found at Please note that absence reasons that require approval must be entered at least five days in advance of your planned absence.

Contact your principal or the administrator in your school who works with the SFE system. They can correct your classification if necessary. You cannot correct it yourself.

You should have two different locations and classifications in SFE (you will have a classification in each location).  When you report your absence, you will need to report the absence for each location you will be absent. The system will find a guest teacher for the day(s) you will be absent in each location.

You can attach up to three files/documents to your absence request. The guest teacher will have access to those files. You can also make comments in your absence request that will be available to the guest teacher.

The school (secretary, teacher, etc.) should create an absence in SmartFindExpress with consideration of the three situations described below. Use the SFE Administrator user guide, posted on this site or on the Principal and/or Secretary portals to obtain instructions on how to enter an absence. Remember that teachers can and should report their own absences in SFE. Administrators only need to do it in an emergency.

  1. Job can be created without prearranging a Guest Teacher or specifying a Guest Teacher.  The system will search for an available Guest Teacher.
  2. Job can be created with a prearranged Guest Teacher. The Guest Teacher  is assigned and the system will not call out to search for an available Guest Teacher.
  3. Job can be created with a specified Guest Teacher. The system will contact the specified Guest Teacher first. If the specified Guest Teacher is unavailable, the system will search for an available Guest Teacher.

Schools can communicate the established hiring process posted on the HR Website under job opportunities for Guest Teachers. HR generally conducts 10 monthly Guest Teacher blitzes from July to May.  Additionally, principals can conduct an interview directly with any individual at any time. Principals should follow the hiring process for guest teachers posted on the Principal Portal:

Contact Guest Teacher Management,, and they will work with you to update your preferred list.

Yes. If a Guest Teacher works one specific region, and a school wants a Guest Teacher to be able to also work at their school that is in a different region, the guest teacher can add that school to the location list on their profile. Ask the guest teacher to update their profile online.

You can now pull reports of available Guest Teachers in the SmartFind Express system. Refer to the User Administration guide located on the Principal / Secretary Portal and this website. You can also request this same information by emailing the guest teacher program at or call the HR Connect main office at 720-423-3900.

A Guest Teacher can work a maximum of 16 days continuously for the same teacher before becoming a long-term substitute. Working 16 days continuously means working in the same assignment, for the same teacher and not taking any other assignments. These 16 days do not have to be worked consecutively. For instance, this could include a Guest Teacher who works the same assignment for the same teacher on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for a six-week period and does not take any other assignments during this same period. This Guest Teacher would be considered to have worked continuously and would become a Long-Term Substitute on the seventeenth day.
Bring this matter to your School Partner’s attention and the Guest Teacher Program. Effective on the 17th day of the assignment, a Guest Teacher effectively becomes a Long-Term Substitute. The School Partner should work with the Principal to decide to either; 1) create a job change from a Guest Teacher to a Long-Term Substitute if the Guest Teacher is highly qualified, 2) remove the Guest Teacher from the assignment if the person is not highly qualified and work with the Principal to post a Long-Term Substitute position, or 3) take into consideration if another Guest Teacher is needed to teach in the position for a few more days and then create a new job for the short time that is needed.

The hiring process is the same for long-term substitutes as it is for teachers.  If you need assistance, contact your School Partner or HR Connect at 720-423-3900.

Here are some ideas on how schools can help network and recruit Guest Teachers:

  • Attend the monthly hiring blitz. If you are unable to attend, send a designated representative to attend. (Contact your school partner or HR Connect to provide you date and times.);
  • Ask School Partner if Guest Teacher hiring flyers are available to pass out to parents at events in your school such as open houses, parent/teacher conferences, etc;
  • Pass out flyers at community events;
  • Hand out flyers at professional organization/network meetings attended by school staff;
  • Rally your teachers from time to time to recruit individuals whom they feel would make an excellent Guest Teacher; and
  • Contact guest teacher program to help you brainstorm how to build your Guest Teacher pool for your school.

If an individual has been hired by the District as both a guest teacher ECE and or guest teacher Special Education paraprofessional and as a daily guest teacher, that individual can accept jobs in both roles.

The maximum work days per calendar year for retirees are set by PERA and DPS does not have authority to change this.

Yes. Schools can access SmartFind Express, open the job that the Guest Teacher is assigned to and find the Guest Teacher’s name and contact information. The school can also add notes in the comment box when creating the job requesting the guest teacher arrive early to meet with the school secretary.

Principals should contact their school partner and e-mail the guest teacher program. Secretaries, teachers and Guest Teachers should ensure the principal is aware of the performance issue and then e-mail the guest teacher program.

Yes. Guest Teachers are given the board policies and the guest teacher handbook – both are reviewed heavily during orientation. Schools are responsible for providing their specific school policies and procedures (i.e. fire drills, lock down procedures, etc.) in the Guest Teacher folder.

The teacher will not be able to initiate the absence on their own. The SFE administrator for the school should create the absence request for the teacher.

It is recommended that at least two individuals at each school have access to SmartFind Express. If you need to enable access for another administrator in your building, send an e-mail to the Guest Teacher Program, Please include the name and the DPS employee ID of the individual you would like to have access.

Instructions for using the SmartFind Express system are located on this page, Principal Portal: and/or Secretary Portal:

Contact the guest teacher program if you need replacements for any folders that need to be completely overhauled or if you have hired a new teacher. If a folder only needs minor adjustments, please use the online template posted on the principal portal.

Yes. The Guest Teacher Program is monitoring same-day cancellations on a monthly basis and will be managing out any Guest Teachers that show an unacceptable pattern of same day cancellations. Schools are encouraged to e-mail the Guest Teacher Program with these types of concerns.

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