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More than 150 CPS Teacher Residents Complete Rigorous Training Program, Enter CPS Teacher Workforce

23 June 2022

Mayor Lightfoot, CPS CEO Martinez celebrate 2021-22 cohort incoming CPS teachers who will teach high-need subjects to students in underserved communities

CPS Office of Communications

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CHICAGO — It was a time for celebration at the Chicago Cultural Center Wednesday evening as 152 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Resident Teachers marked the moment when they completed their classroom training, and prepared to take their places as full-time teachers leading CPS classrooms of their own.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and CPS CEO Pedro Martinez led the celebration of resident teachers, families, friends, educators, and others. At 152 residents, the 2021-2022 cohort is the fifth and largest group to go through the program since it was launched in 2017.

“Thank you all for your presence here today honoring these new CPS teachers who have worked so hard over the past year to reach this milestone in their careers, their lives, and in the progress of our CPS Teacher Residency Program,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “And thank you, Residents, for your commitment to future generations of Chicago’s students — your city embraces and thanks you as you mark this moment of your transition from resident teacher-in-training to full-time, teacher of record.”

The CPS Teacher Residency is a full-time, paid, teacher training program that offers a bridge to teaching — both for career changers who wish to pursue a new career in education, or for paraprofessionals who work in classroom support roles and want to become full-time teachers leading a classroom.

This August, program participants will take their place leading classrooms of their own, teaching some of the most challenging and vital subjects to students in underserved communities across our city: Special Education, Bilingual Education, Early Childhood Education, and Dance.

“Our mission is to recruit, prepare, and retain a diverse, talented and passionate cohort of teachers who are dedicated to supporting our students on their path to achievement,” said CEO Martinez. “Through the CPS Teacher Residency, we are preparing these incoming teachers to succeed in our classrooms, placing them with the children who need their skills and examples of personal character.”

Residents gain classroom experience during a year-long residency at a neighborhood school, student-teaching alongside a mentor teacher. At the same time, residents receive discounted tuition as they take coursework full-time for one-to-two years to attain their Professional Educators License—and for most, a Master’s degree in teaching at one of four local partner universities. Upon successful completion of the program, and a commitment to work at CPS for at least two additional years, residents are hired on for a full-time CPS teaching job in high-need subject areas in under-served communities.

The Residency combines a rigorous, full-year classroom apprenticeship with higher education coursework in high-need subjects. Residents are supported by a mentor teacher who helps bridge the gap between education theory and practice.

The CPS Talent Office partners with four higher education institutions to provide the academic coursework residents need to earn teaching licensure: National Louis University, Relay Graduate School of Education, Roosevelt University, and Loyola University.

Speakers at last night’s ceremony also included Principal Daniel de Los Reyes of Darwin Elementary School in Palmer Square, and Jhordan Hancock, who recently completed her residency at Daniel C. Beard Elementary School in Big Oaks and accepted a position at Sherman School of Excellence in the Back of the Yards, where she’ll be a pre-K teacher.

"A majority of resident teachers come from low-income backgrounds, two thirds are CPS graduates or parents of CPS students, and 80 percent identify as people of color – all sharing similar lived experiences to that of our students,” said Principal de Los Reyes. “CPS Teacher Residents are reflective of CPS. And through this, the Residency program is elevating talented members of our community to teach in the schools where we most need them, filling the positions that are most in-need.” 

“As a former school support staff member, who was offered an opportunity to elevate my own career, I have been an advocate for the Teacher Residency Program from day one. This is equity in action to which we shall all be proud of," he continued.

How the Residency Program Works

  • Residents begin the higher education coursework in the summer before their first year in the classroom.

  • The residents are paired in the classroom with mentor teachers during their first year, for hands-on experience and training. As CPS (Talent Office) employees, they earn salaries and health benefits during this residency.

  • After demonstrating effective student teaching, residents receive support in finding a full-time position for their second year, during which they lead their own classrooms, at a significant increase in pay.

  • Following program completion and a commitment to work at CPS for at least two additional years, residents are hired as full-time CPS teachers and receive another pay increase.

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, support and retain highly-qualified, diverse teachers specifically for high-need subject areas (such as special education and bilingual teaching) and hard-to-staff schools, promoting equity across the district. The CPS Teacher Residency is an example of one Teach Chicago program helping to move the needle on staffing challenges.

For example, the District currently has approximately 280 special education (SPED) teacher vacancies, and through the CPS Teacher Residency Program’s 2021-2022 cohort, 92 residents are now certified to teach in special education settings, and the 2022-23 cohort aims to fill 100 additional SPED vacancies.

The CPS Teacher Residency has grown steadily since 2017, when it began with a pilot cohort of 12 teachers-in-training and grew until reaching the 152 teachers in the group inducted last night. The growth is expected to continue as the program expands into new content offerings, such as the newest subject area: dance. The other fields offered include Early Childhood Education, Special Education, and Bilingual Education.

Jhordan Hancock, a CPS Teacher Resident, says the support of a mentor teacher during the residency year is a huge benefit, given the coursework and classroom challenges.

“I got along so well with my mentor,” says Ms. Hancock. “She became my ‘mom-tor.’ I want her in my life forever. The workload is crazy — but it helped me grow and learn, and showed me how much integrity I have. It’s hard now, but I’ll never regret this,” she adds.

Key supporters of the CPS Teacher Residency are the Joyce Foundation, the Crown Family Philanthropies, and the National Center for Teacher Residencies. Teach Chicago is also supported by the Crown Family Philanthropies and the Joyce Foundation, with additional support provided by the U.S. Department of Education.  


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