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Innovative teacher education initiative announced

man at podium with woman standing behind him

President Larry Dietz spoke at the press conference announcing the Teach Chicago Tomorrow initiative with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Photo from the Mayor of Chicago’s Office.

The College of Education (COE) is excited for Teach Chicago Tomorrow, a new initiative with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) that was announced at a recent press conference. This new initiative is part of a long-term strategy to prepare quality teachers who are committed to CPS schools.

The COE, along with CPS and CCC, are working together to create an innovative teacher education program that prepares Chicago students to teach in their local schools. Graduates from the program will have deep community bonds, extensive field experience, and coursework designed around the needs of CPS students, all of which will help ensure that future teachers will be equipped to meet student needs and will persist in the field.

After high school, students will enroll at CCC and then transition to a teacher education program in the COE to complete their bachelor’s degree. In an effort to reduce the barriers for students interested in a career as a teacher, all courses for this program will be held in the City of Chicago.

headshot of James Wolfinger

Dr. James Wolfinger

“This is an exciting program that enables us to bring Illinois State’s first-rate education to more students in the Chicago area,” said COE Dean James Wolfinger. “The faculty and staff in the College of Education are thrilled to partner with Chicago Public Schools and the City Colleges of Chicago in this innovative program designed to prepare a new generation of students for the twenty-first century.”

COE has deep roots in many Chicago neighborhoods and this is an additional way to engage community partners and prepare teachers for urban education.  Many of those neighborhood roots are directly related to the work of COE’s National Center for Urban Education (NCUE). To support the goals of this partnership, NCUE will coordinate Summer Bridge programming for all participating students. Programming will be developed and executed jointly by partnership members, leveraging lessons learned and best practices from existing bridge models, most notably NCUE’s STEP-UP model.

Maria Luisa Zamudio, new executive director of the National Center for Urban Education

Dr. Maria Luisa Zamudio

“The Summer Bridge program is essential to increase student retention and support student success,” said NCUE Executive Director Dr. Maria Luisa Zamudio. “The National Center for Urban Education is thrilled to participate in this initiative in collaboration with Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago.”

As the premier college for teacher education in the Midwest, the COE at Illinois State is committed to addressing the teacher shortage and preparing more teachers for the City of Chicago and the state. This initiative will set the stage for rethinking how we prepare excellent educators.

“We at ISU look forward to working with our partners to create an innovative teacher education program that prepares quality teachers for the City of Chicago, teachers who reflect the population of one of the most wonderfully diverse cities in the country,” said Illinois State University President Larry Dietz.

View the video of the entire press conference announcement.

Teach Chicago Tomorrow is one component of the new CommuniTeach initiative within the College of Education. CommuniTeach will develop teachers who complete their education locally and will teach in their own communities.

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