Inaugural Academy Class Honored
By Robert Schroeder
National Louis University recognized more than 50 Wells Community Academy High School students on Thursday at the Chicago campus as the Chicago Urban Teacher Academy Partnership (CUTAP) enters its second year. The partnership gives high school students early immersion into the career of teaching by pairing them with mentor elementary school teachers in school settings.
Modeled after a successful teaching academy program in Fort Lauderdale, the partnership featured one class in 2010-11 and has expanded to three classes for the 2011-12 school year. The University honored Wells students who had completed their first year in the academy as well as the two classes of new students.
"As I look at you and I feel the energy in this room, the word that comes to my mind is opportunity," said Christine Quinn, Ph.D., National Louis University provost. "I hope you learn through this academy what an honor it is to be a teacher and the true value of education."
The inaugural Wells class spent the 2010-11 year paired with elementary mentor teachers at Peabody elementary. The class generated enthusiasm to launch the two new classes that will be paired with teachers at Moose and Talcott elementary schools. New and returning academy students cited the excitement and the importance of seeing youngsters learn as their primary motivation for joining the academy. Students echoed the need to build opportunity for young Chicagoans and the influence education has played in their own lives.
"The way we change the world is that we are ready to stand and share, to work with people and to understand what their circumstances are," Alison Hilsabeck, Ph.D., dean of the National College of Education said to the students. "The whole idea of how fabulous it is to look into the eyes of kids and see learning happen is an amazing thing, and it is something that a lot of adults don't have much of a chance to do."
The ultimate success of the partnership will not be realized until years from now. How CUTAP students fair in college and how many enter the teaching profession remains to be seen. This day, however, was about celebrating the achievement of a group of young pioneers in Chicago, many of whom have taken significant steps towards heading to higher education.
"Going to college is not a dream for you; it is a reality, and we know that you will make it into college," said Sy Karlin, Ed.D., assistant professor in the National College of Education. "You are here because National Louis University has made a commitment to work in partnership with Wells to help give you the necessary support that will help you get through this program at Wells and make it easier for you to get into college."