About Chicago-Northwest Indiana

Since Teach For America began working in Chicago-Northwest Indiana in 2000, we have seen incredible progress in our region. You can see this in the classroom—teachers and students surpassing limitations and expectations, and helping the city achieve record-breaking results. Since 2003, Chicago has been the second fastest improving urban city in the country as measured by the National Assessment for Educational Progress. And since 2010, Chicago’s high school graduation rate has increased by 16.5 percent, with 88 percent of the class of 2019 on track to graduate.

This progress would not have been possible without the work of countless individuals at all levels of the education system, hundreds of whom are Teach For America alumni and corps members. With a community over 3,000 strong, Teach For America is the primary talent pipeline for Chicago’s education system, and has provided greatly needed support to under-resourced districts in Northwest-Indiana. 67 percent of our alumni work in education, though upon joining the corps only 10 percent thought they would remain in the field. These individuals begin their tenure working alongside traditionally trained educators, and continue working towards shared goals as veteran teachers, principals, and nonprofit leaders:

  • Between corps members and alumni, we have over 1,000 educators currently in the classroom. 70 percent of our corps teaches high-need subjects, and they lead their students to an average of 1.4 years of academic progress annually.
  • 210 of our alumni serve as principals, assistant principals and deans. They lead 11 percent of schools in Chicago, and 72 percent lead the highest categories of school (Level 1/1+).
  • Hundreds of others work in education outside of schools. Many lead non-profits that have changed the educational landscape in our city, including The Chicago Public Education Fund, Illinois Network of Charter Schools, One Goal, KIPP, New Leaders, and Educators 4 Excellence.

While there are many examples of our impact, two stories are emblematic of Teach For America’s foundational role. First is the Piccolo School of Excellence, an elementary school led by Teach For America alum Michael Abello. 40 percent of Piccolo’s teachers are alumni and corps members, and though it was one of the city’s lowest performing schools just three years ago, it was recently rated a Level 1+ school. Teach For America also plays a critical role in supporting Noble Charter Schools. Noble is a nationally acclaimed network serving predominantly low-income students. 61 percent of their Chicago schools are led by Teach For America alumni, and 40 percent of their teachers got their start as corps members.  

Stories like Noble and Piccolo tell us that Teach For America’s model is working, but we know there is still work to be done. In Chicago, 18 percent of students now graduate from college (twice as many as ten years ago), but 76 percent of high school freshman aspire to earn their degree. In order to see students today become the leaders of tomorrow, Teach For America will continue to recruit diverse and effective leaders and prepare them to be culturally competent educators, committed to creating system level change. We will focus on developing our over 2,800 alumni as veteran teachers, school leaders, and system-level leaders, with the goal of impacting thousands of additional students every year.

We are confident that by growing and strengthening our community, we can give our students the long-term skills, access and agency needed to lead the life of their choosing.



Total Corps Size


Alumni in Region


Year Partnership Established

Teaching in Chicago-Northwest Indiana


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