While the requirements to become an Illinois or Indiana teacher are rigorous, all Chicago-Northwest Indiana corps members end their two-year commitment as certified teachers.
Corps members must pass the basic skills assessment (ACT, SAT or Test of Academic Proficiency) and the appropriate content test(s) for the state in which they’re teaching. In most instances you can opt out of taking the Basic Skills Assessment with previous ACT or SAT scores, however, the content test(s) are required for all corps members.
Corps members are assigned to their university partner based on where they are hired to teach (for example, some schools in Illinois partner with Dominican and others with Relay, where you are hired will determine your university partner).
State Law requires that corps members enroll in an alternative certification Master of Teaching program with one of our partner universities—Dominican University or Relay Graduate School of Education.
Chicago corps members receive the state’s Educator License with Stipulations (ELS) during their first year. They go on to complete their Professional Educator License (PEL) at the end of their second year, provided they have fulfilled all coursework, processing, and testing requirements. All Illinois corps member will receive their Masters of Teaching in their assigned subject area.
State Law requires only one year of coursework (and no Master’s Degree) via our university partner: Calumet College of St. Joseph.
Northwest Indiana corps members receive the state’s Transition to Teach license during their first year, which is valid for three years (and renewable), provided they have fulfilled coursework, processing, and testing requirements.
Certification and university partner coursework can cost up to $17,500 over two years so corps members should be prepared to invest that much in certification cost. However, tuition can be significantly lowered via the AmeriCorps award. From 2014-2016, corps members (eligible for the full AmeriCorps Award) paid between $6,000-$7,000 in tuition and fees towards their certification. This is subject to change every year.
Yes. All Illinois corps members are required to complete a master’s degree in order to receive their license. This is a requirement of the State of Illinois, not of Teach For America, which took effect in 2015. If you teach in Northwest Indiana a Master’s degree is optional, given different State Certification Laws, and you can decide at the end of your first year if you would like to opt into that track.
It depends. In most instances if you completed a four year college degree leading to licensure in a different state you will be able to transfer that to Illinois or Indiana. If you are able to fully transfer your license you will not need to attend a university partner. If you are not able to fully transfer your license you will work with the Onboarding Team to understand next steps.
Download our Matriculation Packet to see what our incoming corps members receive once they decide to join us in Chicago-Northwest Indiana.
This packet has information on the onboarding process, program requirements, summer training, and much more.
Note: This is a Matriculation Packet from the 2015-2016 school year, so please ignore the program dates and deadlines!
One of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods, it’s a great choice for our numerous corps members that are placed in schools in nearby Woodlawn, Washington Park, and Englewood. Located on the city’s south side, it’s home to the University of Chicago, which means that Hyde Park residents benefit from an array of fantastic bookstores and public lecture series. On the university’s campus are the Oriental Institute and the Smart Museum of Art, and just under two miles away is Chicago’s famed Museum of Science and Industry.
In the summer, corps members go swimming off of Promontory Point, which also offers amazing views of the Chicago skyline. Hyde Park is also ideal for music lovers, who can pick up some vinyl at Hyde Park Records, check out a concert at The Promontory, or experience the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.
Located on the northwest side of Chicago, this neighborhood is well known for its vibrant murals, historic boulevards and phenomenal food. Humboldt Park itself is one of the city’s most beautiful green spaces, where kids get to imagine playing for the Cubs or White Sox in a replica baseball stadium, residents enjoy Latin Jazz festivals and domino games near the inland beach, and families take photos at the famed boathouse.
In the summer corps members can often be found in the park or cruising along the 606, an abandoned rail line turned elevated trail that runs through Humboldt, Logan Square, Bucktown and Wicker Park. In the winter months, residents can visit the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (which was once the horse stables for the park), explore the various shops on Division, or do what Chicagoans do best: eat! Humboldt has an endless array of restaurants, and though it’s famous for its Puerto Rican cuisine, it has fantastic sushi, burgers, and bakeries as well.
During the 2015-2016 school year we placed 19 corps members in Humboldt Park schools. One of our partners, Roberto Clemente Community Academy, is doing great work in the community, recently becoming an International Baccalaureate school and exceeding the district’s graduation rate and college acceptance rate!
Hammond is the fifth largest city in Indiana, and one of the oldest in Lake County. It’s located at the very northwestern corner of the state, right along the Indiana – Illinois border. Home to 80,000 residents, it is the most populated city in its county and is part of the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area. Sitting along Lake Michigan, Hammond has spectacular views as well as numerous recreational and entertainment opportunities.
Corps members, and the larger community, have a diverse group of activities to keep them occupied year-round. Popular attractions include:
We’ve been partnering with the City of Hammond since 2011 and have had corps members placed in six schools within the district.
Visit Hammond's website for more info.
Started by Teach For America alum Jeff Nelson (Chicago, ’04), OneGoal is the country’s only teacher-led college persistence initiative. By identifying and supporting effective teachers to lead high-need students to strong academic outcomes, OneGoal seeks to make college possible for all, regardless of geography or family income.
The program begins by recruiting exceptional teachers committed to putting their students on a path to college. Throughout their junior and senior years, those students (OneGoal Fellows) then receive a comprehensive system of supports and resources designed to prepare them to apply, enroll, and graduate. To date:
OneGoal began its Chicago work in one South Side high school in 2003. Today, the organization partners with 50 teachers in 23 high schools to serve nearly 1,300 students city-wide. OneGoal is a fantastic example of another regional organization working towards educational equity.