Chicago Public Schools

CPS grows its own talent through Teacher Residency Program

CPS is recruiting for its teacher residency program, giving aspiring teachers real world experience and a paycheck, while they work toward the necessary degrees and certifications to lead a classroom.

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Teacher shortages are making headlines nationwide, and Chicago Public Schools is spearheading a new program to help address those issues.

Students at Pilsen’s Finkl Academy know Mr. Giovanny Navarro well.

He used to work as a paraprofessional at the school, but now, is a part of CPS’s Teacher Residency Program to one day lead his own classroom.

“I just feel grateful there are programs like this one, that encourage people to get their certification," he said.

Finkl Academy’s principal, Nancy Quintana, noticed Navarro’s passion and skillset, and encouraged him to pursue the education necessary to become a teacher.

His specialties are bilingual studies, special education, and math: all subjects that are difficult to recruit for.

“This program has now helped us close the gap,” Quintana said. “Not just in Chicago, but we have a national shortage of teachers to begin with.”

Schools are forced to get creative to tackle the shortage, while not compromising quality.

Last year, Illinois had more than 5,000 open teaching positions. Educators only expect that number to rise.

That’s why CPS is taking an innovative approach to grow its own talent.

“Now I have the right tools and resources to help the students,” Navarro said. “I just feel happy to be back in this school. I worked here, started here, and I knew this was the school I wanted to come back to.”

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