Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

4th Annual CTPP Summer Mentor Institute for CPS teachers

4th Annual CTPP Summer Mentor Institute for CPS teachers

The Chicago Teacher Partnership Program (CTPP) is a 5-year grant project designed to prepare highly qualified teacher candidates and to support mentor teachers with professional development and other resources. CTPP functions in collaboration with four Chicago partner universities: Loyola University Chicago, National-Louis University, Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

In addition to these universities, the CTPP partnership works with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).  Loyola’s CPS partners are Goudy Technology Academy, Horace Greeley Elementary School, Jordan Elementary Community School, Pulaski International School, and Thurgood Marshall Middle School. 

For the past four years, Loyola’s CTPP has hosted a Summer Mentor Institute. Twenty-five CPS teachers attended this year’s program from June 23–25. Sessions focused on using technology to manage instruction, effective strategies for English language learners, visual literacy, and inquiry circles to support student research.

The first day of the Institute began with a half-day presentation by Dan August, an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Thurgood Marshall Middle School. August introduced Google Forms for classroom use. Teachers created their own documents and were introduced to apps appropriate for data collection. 

In the afternoon, Heather Sinense, a fifth-grade teacher from Oak Terrace School in Highwood and a Loyola adjunct faculty member, discussed authentic learning activities to foster language and literacy development for second- language learners.  Throughout this hands-on session, participants were urged to reflect on the learning process and classroom application.

The Art Institute of Chicago was the venue of the Institute’s second day. Teachers were challenged to increase their familiarity with inquiry-based teaching methods that included observation strategies, open-ended questioning, and object-based learning.  

In preparation for their Art Institute visit, teachers started reading “The Sixty-Eight Rooms” by Marianne Malone,  a mystery book that takes place in the Art Institute’s popular Thorne Rooms Exhibit. In the afternoon, the teachers explored the Thorne Rooms, thus giving them an opportunity to apply strategies learned in the morning session. 

On the final day of the 2014 Summer Institute, Katie Muhtaris, a fifth-grade teacher at Burley School, focused on inquiry-based classroom strategies.  This session provided teachers with foundational skills to implement inquiry circles in their own classrooms.  Muhtaris shared multiple examples of how to promote curiosity and research skills using hands-on learning and video resources. 

Participants left the institute with a wealth of new knowledge and professional resources to bring back to their classrooms. Each teacher created an action plan with ideas and strategies to be implemented during the coming school year. Action plan progress will be reported at the CTPP Fall Symposium on November 20, 2014.