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CPS Wants To Turn Its Graduates Into Teachers In Push To Diversify District

Officials hope the effort will help diversify the district's faculty.

Poe teacher Kimberly Washington, who has taught at the school for 14 years, collects assignments from her Spanish class before the pandemic hit Chicago.
Maia McDonald/ Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools has unveiled a plan to turn more of its alumni into teachers in the district.

The initiative, called Teach Chicago Tomorrow, was announced by officials Tuesday. They hope it will eventually help them hire more than 500 CPS graduates to be teachers per year; as of now, the district hires about 140 alumni every year.

As part of the initiative, CPS is creating a path for alumni to follow so they can become public school teachers in Chicago: They’ll go to City Colleges for an associate’s degree and then to Illinois State University for a bachelor’s degree, though they’ll take classes in Chicago.

After doing student teaching work for a year, they’ll be given “priority” access to jobs at CPS, said CPS CEO Janice Jackson.

Officials hope the effort will help diversify the district’s faculty. CPS is facing a shortage of educators of color, officials said: About 50 percent of teachers are white, while nearly 90 percent of students are Black or Latino.

High school students in the district are being recruited to join the initiative now. Officials expect the first class of the cohort will have 100 graduates.

Counselors and recruiters will talk to students who have indicated an interest in teaching and talk to them about how to go from CPS to college to CPS, according to a city news release.

While CPS is partnering with ISU at the start of the project, the district hopes its students-turned-teachers will be able to study at other colleges in the future.