Penn GSE

Urban Teaching Apprenticeship



The Penn GSE Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program offers three study options which align with the Pennsylvania Department of Education certification bands: elementary (grades PreK-4), middle level (grades 4-8), and secondary (grades 7-12) education. All three programs focus on student-centered approaches to learning in urban contexts and share common organizational structures that help apprentices scaffold their learning and experiences.

A Summer Start

Unlike most teacher pre-service programs, the Penn GSE Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program starts in July. Our students spend the summer months working with Philadelphia youth in the neighborhoods where they will apprentice. Over the summer, students begin their coursework, which provides a foundation for understanding learners and contexts for learning. Summer courses include:

  • School, Society & Self (all three programs)
  • Building & Managing Collaborative Learning Environments in Urban Contexts (secondary level)
  • Social Studies Methods for Social Justice (elementary/middle level)
  • Introduction to Teaching Diverse Learners (secondary level)
  • Introduction to Teaching (elementary/middle level)

Full Year Apprenticeship – Beyond the Ordinary Student Teaching

Our students begin apprenticing in a Philadelphia public or charter school on the first day of the school year. Unlike traditional student teaching models, our apprentices experience nearly an entire year in the classroom, a unique opportunity that provides complete immersion in teaching and learning in schools, complemented by coursework and intensive mentoring. When our alumni seek employment after graduation, they already have a year of teaching experience on their résumé.

Throughout the 10 months, coursework is designed to engage apprentices in learning research-based practices that guide K-12 students to use subject area knowledge to collaborate with peers and solve problems. Instructional coaches work with apprentices and classroom mentors to model targeted, high-leverage practices during "studio days" and then provide real time feedback to apprentices when they enact these pratices in their own schools.

Support from Mentors

In addition to our expert faculty, dedicated mentors support our students throughout the 10-month program. Students work with Classroom Mentors—highly skilled, practicing teachers—who provide hands-on guidance, problem solving, and feedback in the moment. University-based Instructional Coaches supervise these field based learning experiences. They coordinate with our school partners to facilitate studio days and school-based professional develoment. Additionally, they provide ongoing feedback and support to apprentices.

Becoming a Penn GSE Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Alum

After completing the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program, students graduate with a Master of Science in Education degree (M.S.Ed.) and receive faculty recommendation for the Pennsylvania teacher certificate, awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.