Our Story

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The next chapters in urban teacher preparation

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UNITE (Urban Needs In Teacher Education, NFP) started on the campus of Illinois State University in 2006.  Students studying and training to become teachers came together and with the support of like-minded faculty, UNITE became the first student organization focused solely on urban teacher preparation.


As the student organization grew, so did the needs it met.  Students were organizing trips to local schools to work with youth and teachers.  Those trips grew into longer trips to our nation’s large urban centers like Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and Boston.  Eventually, UNITE members graduated from Illinois State University and entered the classroom, using their UNITE training and realizing their dreams.


As more members graduated and started to teach around America, interest grew and UNITE members realized that we must grow beyond Normal, IL.  Now, as a 501c3 organization, UNITE supports pre- and in-service teachers in our nation’s urban centers.  More and more universities are creating student-led chapters while we continue to create new initiatives such as student teacher community immersion programs, employment supports, special interest workshops, student and new teacher housing and professional development for a wide range of audiences from high school students to university faculty.


UNITE was born from a dream shared by many.  Our dreamers have UNITEd to take that dream to reality and share it with more dreamers.  Our goal is simple: To meet the needs of disadvantaged youth in our nation’s urban centers by supporting the development of urban teachers.  Share your dream with us and let us share ours with you… Let’s change the future.


“We once wrote, on a plane flying back from Boston, that we were ‘flying high and would continue to fly into the future.’  We still have no idea where we are going and certainly no idea what new opportunities will come our way...”  -Dakota Pawlicki, UNITE Founder

Our Story

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