Top of Page

Applications Open for Chicago Public Schools Seniors To Join Innovative Teaching Prep Program

15 February 2022

Initiative Aims to Triple the Number of CPS Graduates Hired as Teachers Each Year and Create a Pipeline of Homegrown, Talented and Diverse Teachers

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

CHICAGO – Applications are open for Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) Teach Chicago Tomorrow program, a structured pathway for CPS graduates who want to return to the District as educators. CPS hires approximately 140 CPS graduates as teachers each year, and through Teach Chicago Tomorrow the District has set a long-term goal to triple the number of CPS grads hired annually to more than 500.

These hirings will also be crucial in reflecting the needs and representations of our communities.

“Diversity is one of CPS’ greatest strengths and we value our diverse workforce, especially when it comes to who is standing before our students in the classroom,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “It’s vital that children can see themselves in those leading their classrooms, schools and our District and we continue to keep diversity, equity and inclusion in mind as we recruit and retain our team members.”

Teach Chicago Tomorrow, established in 2020, is a partnership between CPS, City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), and Illinois State University (ISU). It offers two structured pathway programs for aspiring CPS teachers, each a roadmap that makes becoming a teacher more accessible, predictable, and affordable.

  1. The Teach Chicago Tomorrow Pathways Partnership track combines the resources of the three partner institutions, who have created a structure to guide CPS graduates in enrolling in college and completing their degree program; earning a teaching credential in specific teaching specialties; and starting their CPS career. The full-time coursework takes place in Chicago, at CCC and at ISU satellite facilities.

Scholars first earn an associate degree at City Colleges of Chicago and then earn their bachelor’s degree by completing the second two years of college as an Illinois State University student. After undertaking a year-long student teaching experience within CPS schools and earning their Illinois teaching license, students will have priority for job placement at CPS schools.

  1. The Emerging Educators Program is an alternative option for students needing more time to complete college. Students take classes at CCC, part-time or full-time, to complete their associate degree and then transfer to Illinois State University or any other four-year institution of their choosing to complete their education degree program.

“Teach Chicago Tomorrow maps out a career path from CPS student to CPS teacher, and connects our high school graduates with the academic, social, financial, and career support they need to achieve their college and career goals,” said Ben Felton, CPS Deputy Chief Talent Officer. “Our Teach Chicago Tomorrow scholars will complete college successfully, earn their teaching credentials, and start their CPS career – all within four years. This program is accessible, predictable and affordable.”

Scholarships and other types of financial aid reduce the cost to $0 per year.

All students accepted into Teach Chicago Tomorrow are eligible for scholarships from City Colleges of Chicago and Illinois State University. The S.E.E.D. Scholarship (Supporting Emerging Educators Development) covers most, if not all, City Colleges tuition, books, and class materials. It will offer up to $3,000 in individual scholarship dollars each year.

Students completing the bachelor’s degree program at ISU after earning their associate degree at CCC are also eligible for the ISU Teach Chicago Tomorrow Scholarship, which reduces projected annual tuition and fees by $3,000. The combination of available scholarships and grants will reduce total expected tuition and fees to $0 per year.

CPS will also provide additional financial support through stipends of at least $1,500 for students who participate in the full eight-week Teach Chicago Tomorrow summer bridge program for CPS graduates heading into their first year of college.

"I've always known that I wanted to work with children, I just didn't know in what way. I learned about Teach Chicago Tomorrow during my senior year of high school, and the program has been incredible. I'm connected to peers who have the same dreams as me, and the scholarship was better than any other university offered me," said Angela Leon, CPS graduate and Teach Chicago Tomorrow Scholar. "My message for CPS seniors is to look into Teach Chicago Tomorrow -- there's financial support, emotional support and professional support. Teaching is an incredible job, and if you want to help other people in your career, why not help people in your community. I couldn't be happier with my decision to join Teach Chicago Tomorrow."

Learn more about Teach Chicago Tomorrow Scholar Angela Leon’s story through this brief video.

Understanding that many students face obstacles to enrolling in college and completing a four-year degree, Teach Chicago Tomorrow is designed to integrate research-based student support throughout, especially at transition points between institutions, to ensure high persistence and completion rates. The program provides academic, financial, social and career support for all Teach Chicago Tomorrow Scholars.

Admission and Application Requirements

Students eligible for the program must:

  • Have a passion for education and teaching

  • Be a CPS graduate from the class of 2021 or 2022

  • Minimum of 2.5 GPA for admission (and must maintain 3.0 throughout college enrollment) and

  • Minimum score of 21 on the ACT or SAT of 540 in English and 530 in Math

    • Alternatively students may enroll in a summer bootcamp to achieve college-readiness.

Interested students can apply by submitting an interest form (Click “Get Started”):

Early decision application deadline is Friday, February 18. The final application deadline is April 15, 2022.

A Growing Network of Diverse, Talented Teachers

Chicago Public Schools set specific hiring goals in the Five-Year-Vision, which are supported by CPS’ Teach Chicago program, a comprehensive initiative to recruit, develop and support its teaching force.

Approximately half of the teacher workforce is white while more than 80 percent of students are African American and Latinx.  Given those demographics, the District set a goal to hire an additional 3,000 African American and Latinx teachers by 2024 and as of the 2021-22 school year; to date, CPS has hired more than 2,000 Black and Latinx teachers and is on pace to surpass that goal. In 2021, 46 percent of all new teachers hired were Black and/or Latinx, compared to 33 percent of all new teachers in 2017. Additionally, the retention of Black teachers in CPS is on the rise: in SY18, CPS retained 87 percent of all Black teachers, compared to 92 percent in SY22.

In 2019, CPS launched the Teacher Residency Program, a full-time, paid teacher training program that offers a path to the profession for career-changers with a passion for teaching. Residents gain hands-on experience during a year-long residency at a neighborhood school working as a paid CPS employee, student teaching alongside a mentor teacher. Residents receive discounted tuition as they pursue a degree in teaching at one of four CPS partner higher education institutions. Upon successful completion of the program, and a commitment to work at CPS for at least two additional years, residents are hired for a full-time CPS job teaching high-need subjects such as special education, to students in under-served communities. Since the program began, the program has worked with 285 LatinX and Black resident teachers in training and helped place about 100 Black teachers in CPS classrooms.

The District recognizes that retention strategies for all employees, but especially employees of color, are particularly important. CPS has recently connected with affinity groups like Profound Gentlemen and is starting affinity groups for first-year teachers. The CPS Talent Office has also increased mentorships and principal training and support to help improve school teams and build stronger relationships.

Teach Chicago Tomorrow and the Pathways Partnership are supported by Crown Family Philanthropies and the Joyce Foundation. Key supporters of Teach Chicago include Crown Family Philanthropies and the Joyce Foundation. Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education. More information about Teach Chicago can be found at

# # #