Our Model

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The next chapters in urban teacher preparation

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New Teacher Mentoring

UNITE has designed a unique professional development and mentoring program for new teachers in urban schools. Beginning teachers attend monthly workshops and seminars which are catered to the challenges of teaching in high needs schools. Experienced UNITE educators mentor new teachers for a three year period, ensuring that new teachers are supported and feel confident to remain teaching in high needs schools. New teachers form a networking cohort that each member can rely on for support and growth.




University Chapters

UNITE university chapters are the foundation of UNITE membership. University chapters give college students the opportunity to learn what it takes to be an effective urban teacher by breaking down urban school stereotypes, visiting underserved schools and communities, and engaging in community awareness and culturally responsive teaching practices. UNITE pre-service teachers who are engaged in urban educational issues and are aware of quality teaching practices are more committed to urban teaching than their peers.


Urban Student Teaching

UNITE partners with school districts to offer an urban student teaching program to colleges and universities. During this program, student teachers live and teach in an urban community and learn the importance of the relationship between community, families, and schools. Student teachers attend weekly mentoring sessions to discuss their experiences and attend workshops focused on being prepared to be hired in a high needs school upon graduation.





First Summer

The summer between student teaching and a teacher’s first days in the classroom are filled with interviews, moving, and pressure to secure a job. Many recent graduates will go three to four months without setting foot in a classroom. UNITE’s first summer programing gives recent graduates an opportunity to teach within a summer school program, be coached by experienced educators, and hone their teaching skills. UNITE works with urban school districts to secure full time teaching positions for members who complete the First Summer Experience.

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UNITE’s Urban Teacher Preparation Model


Our four step model supports, challenges, and prepares our members from college through their first years in the classroom. Each step of the process integrates a emphasis on creating culturally responsive educators equipped with a diverse toolkit of urban experiences and instructional strategies.

Our Results


92% of our teachers who completed the First Summer program were offered a teaching position in a high needs school.

Over the past four years, over 200 student teachers have participated in aspects of our Urban Student Teaching programming in Chicago.

70% of UNITE university chapter members who graduated between 2008-2010 and continued on with UNITE’s programming are still teaching in high needs schools across the country!

More than 20,000 Chicago Public School students are being taught by a teacher who has attended UNITE programming for new teachers.