To get a better sense of Colorado’s teacher shortage, state officials are hitting the road.

Officials from the the Colorado Department of Education and Department of Higher Education will cross-cross the state this summer for a series of town halls. The idea is to gather information that will help them craft a plan to reverse the trend gripping many of the state’s schools.

State lawmakers earlier this year passed legislation calling for such a plan, which is due by the end of the year.

Colorado’s traditional teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities have seen enrollment numbers drop significantly. Between 2010 and 2016 there was a 22.7 percent drop in the number of people completing preparation programs at Colorado colleges and universities.

Current teachers also are leaving the profession at a steady clip.

Some teaching jobs get no shortage of applicants. The shortage is pronounced in rural schools, while Front Range schools struggle to fill teaching positions in certain grades and subjects — for example, high school math and science.

The first town hall meeting is Wednesday in Ridgway, about 40 miles northeast of Telluride on the Western Slope.

Here’s a list of other scheduled town halls:

  • Parachute – June 23
  • Fort Collins – July 28
  • Denver – July 31 or August 1 (TBD)
  • Leadville – August 2
  • Colorado Springs – August 7
  • Otis – August 10
  • Ignacio – August 14 or 15 (TBD)
  • Limon – August 17 or 18 (TBD)
  • Las Animas – August 21