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Urban Education: Student Teaching in Chicago

Chicago, Illinois


First established in the early 1960s, the ACM Urban Education Program has had a long tradition of engagement with Chicago schools and the city’s education community.  ACM student teachers in Chicago are among the best-equipped new professionals entering the field of education, and they join an extensive network of ACM alumni in the city’s schools and education-related organizations.

Recommended credit for the program is 16 semester credits or the equivalent.  Students should consult their advisors about the amount and distribution of credit before enrolling in the program.  The curriculum for the semester-long student teaching experience with the Urban Education program is as follows:

Student Teaching  

Required, 12 semester credits

Student teachers are placed in Chicago school classrooms with carefully-selected mentors and supervisors, where they fulfill all requirements for the final practicum stage of their teacher certification program.

Student Teaching Seminar

Required, 4 semester credits

Click here to see a course syllabus

In the weekly student teaching seminar course, students reflect on cross-cultural history and educational theory in the context of their day-to-day lives in the classroom. Small-group resource sessions provide additional opportunities for students to discuss issues and questions about teaching, and to receive peer feedback about their practice.

Professional Portfolio or edTPA

Each student conducts an inquiry into his/her own development as a teacher and completes all the requirements for a compelling Professional Portfolio.  For students whose home campus requires them to complete edTPA, the group will have focused sessions on completing the process. 

Community Engagement   

Student teachers participate in all activities at their placement schools, including faculty and parent meetings, in-service workshops, and school-related community meetings.  In addition, the Urban Education staff arrange for various activities outside of the classroom to allow students to experience different aspects of living in the city.  Activities from recent semesters have included:

  • Field Museum Educator Night
  • Second City - "What the Tour Guides Don't Tell You"
  • National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen
  • Chicago River Architecture Tour
  • Pizza and Movie/Game Night with Chicago-based students
  • Midterm dinner in Uptown
  • Field Museum Educator Night
  • Chicago History Museum – Educator Workshop – “The Field Trip Objective Workshop”
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – Teacher Tour
  • Chicago Cubs Game
  • Jane Addams Hull House Museum Tour and Facilitated Dialogue 
  • Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Sponsored Professional Development Seminars

Urban Education: Student Teaching in Chicago

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Janna Nobleza The Chicago Urban Education Program was the best student teaching experience; I was as prepared as I could be for my first year of teaching because of the length of the student teaching program, the support I had throughout the experience from both of my supervisors and my host teacher, and from the camaraderie of living with the other student teachers who were going through the same type of experience I was going through. I have now been teaching for a full seven years in the Chicago Public School system and have had two student teachers from a non-Urban Education school, and have a new appreciation for the program. I would recommend every teacher to go through this program – you will build life-long friendships and great colleagues and contacts. The Urban Education Program opened up a lot of opportunities here in Chicago for me, and was one of the best decisions I made for my career.

—Janna Nobleza, Urban Education, Spring 2004, English teacher at Prosser Career Academy

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