Penn GSE Program for TFA Corps Members
This two-year program is designed specifically for TFA corps members who have been admitted to the Teach for America program and have been assigned to teach in Philadelphia public and charter schools. (TFA teachers of special education attend a different university partner program.) TFA corps members may choose to earn either faculty recommendation for the Pennsylvania Instructional Level 1 Certification alone or both faculty recommendation for the Instructional Level I Certification and the M.S.Ed. degree.
The primary purposes of our collaboration with TFA are to:
- Support classroom teaching in the content areas
- Enhance learning about urban education
- Provide theoretical and practical frameworks for understanding pedagogy, content, and urban students
- Develop ways to build positive and meaningful relationships with students, staff and parents
- Support TFA corps members as teachers who learn from each other, from other teachers, and from students
- Enable corps members to find ways to continue to support urban education whether they stay in teaching or go on to other careers
The courses in the GSE/TFA Urban Teacher Program build upon the knowledge and skills that TFA teachers acquire about teaching through TFA along with a broader concern for building a deep intellectual understanding of urban education. The courses are grounded in years of experience of practitioners, researchers, and theoreticians.
The program follows an executive model to allow TFA corps members to focus on their classrooms. Courses are held once a week and one weekend a month.
Students who choose to receive a master’s degree take the seven certification courses plus three more courses, totaling 10 course units, over two years. Students who are already certified can pursue a master’s degree and should confer with the director of the program about courses. Master’s and certification students take the same courses for the summer, fall, and spring of the first year.
Master’s students take electives during May and June of the first year. These are usually finished at the same time that the School District of Philadelphia academic year is completed. For example, the courses offered in 2007 were: Economics of Education; Multicultural Issues in Education; Education Law and Urban Education Reform.
In the second year, master’s students take methods courses as weekend modules and seminar courses during the week. The seminar courses are Inquiry into Practice and Inquiry into Policy. These courses offer ways to conduct research in classrooms and on an issue of importance to students in the educational field. Much of the work from these courses will eventually be incorporated into the master’s portfolio.
Master’s students are required to complete a master’s portfolio at the end of April before graduation in May of their second year.
Recommendation for Pennsylvania Instructional Level I Certification will take place when TFA student teachers have completed seven courses with a 3.0 GPA and passed the requisite Praxis exams.
Further information on our program for TFA corps members in Philadelphia may be found on the following link: