Penn GSE

Teacher Education Program


Penn GSE Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program offers three study options which align with the Pennsylvania Department of Education certification bands: early elementary (grades PreK-4), middle level (grades 4-8), and secondary (grades 7-12) education. All three programs share common organizational structures that help student teachers 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 immersed in the Philadelphia neighborhoods where they will student teach, learning how each school is part of the fabric of its surrounding community. Over the summer, students begin their coursework, which is always focused on relating theory to practice. Summer courses include:

  • School & Society (all three programs)
  • Teaching & Learning in Urban Contexts (secondary)
  • Beginning segmants of science & social studies methods (elementary/middle level)
  • the yearlong course Teaching Diverse Learners, in which issues of special education and second language learning are addressed
  • In addition, apprentices in the elementary/middle level program engage in "early start" literacy and math sessions to help prepare them for their work with young people

A Full Year in the Classroom with a Full Year of Coursework

Our students begin student teaching in a Philadelphia public or charter school on the first day of the school year. They 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 weave together current theory, research, and practice to integrate with student teaching experiences so that students learn to think deeply and critically about their emerging practice in the classroom.

Student teachers attend seminars and panel discussions that address a variety of subjects related to helping teachers understand the growth and development of their students, how to engage the arts in promoting engagement in learning as well as the use of technology to support student learning. Throughout the program, students learn about various forms of assessment and relate these to Pennsylvania Common Core and content standards for learning.

Support from Mentors

In addition to our expert faculty, dedicated mentors support our students throughout the ten-month program. Students work with Classroom Mentors – highly skilled, practicing teachers – who provide hands-on guidance, problem solving, and feedback in the moment. Penn Mentors provide on-going feedback and support, conduct mock interviews, and write letters of recommendations. 

Becoming a Penn GSE Urban Teacher Education Alumnus

After completing the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program, students graduate with a Master's of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) degree and Pennsylvania teaching certification in early elementary, middle level, or secondary education.