Graduates of UChicago UTEP working in Chicago Public Schools receive up to three years of substantial post-graduation support, for no charge, to ease their transition into the profession, deepen their practice, and cultivate teacher-leadership skills.
Before their first school year begins, UChicago UTEP students meet and work with their classroom coach during the final summer of the program. Together, they develop a personalized action plan for the first few months of the school year.
Alumni receive up to three years of biweekly in-classroom coaching. UChicago UTEP coaches are full-time staff members who also teach in the program. This means that coach and new teacher have a shared understanding of pedagogy and have already begun a trusting, personal relationship.
Monthly FYI (“first-year induction”) meetings convene the graduate cohort for combined peer and professional coaching support. Meeting in each other’s classrooms on a rotating basis, graduates plan for and discuss key events shared by all new teachers, such as parent night, completing report cards for the first time, and being observed by the principal.
Inquiry groups are clustered by grade level and/or subject areas, and are open to second-year teachers and beyond. Inquiry groups use a shared protocol, in which a rotating leader poses a specific question about practice and brings in evidence—in the form of student work, video, or lesson plans—that pertains to the question. The group discusses implications of the evidence and offers strategies for moving teaching and learning forward. Alumni are encouraged to involve their school colleagues beyond those who have graduated from UChicago UTEP. Inquiry group topics led by UChicago UTEP staff have included the importance of play, writing workshop, math problem solving, teacher-leadership development, and preparing for national board certification.
Quarterly workshops are open to all alumni, current students, and colleagues of alumni. One of the most popular workshops is UChicago UTEP’s Book Club, an annual event in which an author leads a discussion of his or her education-related book. Past book clubs have featured such educators as Pedro Noguera, Vivian Paley, William Ayers, Greg Michie, and Esme Codell.
An alumni fund provides monetary support for graduates to attend conferences and professional development seminars and workshops.
An online professional community is maintained by UChicago UTEP alumni and staff. Through this forum, new teachers raise questions and concerns and receive prompt and thoughtful feedback from staff, clinical instructors, and alumni who have become experienced teachers in their own right. The online community is also a place to share successful lessons, units, and other resources.