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Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the frequently asked questions concerning the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia.

Who can participate in the Institute programs?

The programs are open to full-time teachers of grades K-12 in the School District of Philadelphia. TIP does not serve charter, private, or parochial schools.

How is the Teachers Institute program different from many other professional development opportunities available to teachers?

The Teachers Institute differs from many programs in that it offers professional development in academic content rather than pedagogical skills and theory. The Teachers Institute of Philadelphia is unique with regard to the depth of the material presented in 14 weeks of seminars, and by the creation of curricular materials created by the teachers themselves for use in their own classrooms.

What kind of seminars are offered? How do they work?

A wide range of seminar topics is possible, and they vary from year to year. Teacher Representatives canvass their colleagues in the fall of the year as to the topics they would like to see offered. Each year, TIP offers between four and six seminars.

Seminars meet 14 times during the spring. During the sessions, the teachers (called Fellows) discuss the readings and concepts with the Seminar Leader guiding the session. They also discuss and critique each other's work as they develop their curriculum units. After the final formal seminar sessions, Fellows have one month during which they prepare the final versions of their curriculum units.

Is the Teachers Institute a new concept? Does the Institute model have a track record of success?

The Teachers Institute of Philadelphia is relatively new (launched in 2006), but the Institute model has been in operation in New Haven (with Yale University) since 1978. In these cities, the Institutes have received enthusiastic support from teachers, administrators and university leaders alike year after year. Over the years, curriculum units created by Fellows have been viewed on the Web, downloaded, and used thousands of times by teachers around the nation and beyond.

Where and when do seminars meet?

Seminars meet on Penn's campus. Meetings begin in late January and run through mid-May. Seminars meet on Tuesdays from 4:30-6:30pm unless otherwise noted. Fellows have access to the vast resources of Penn's Van Pelt Library, as well as other campus libraries.

Is it true that teachers receive payment for their participation?

Fellows who successfully complete all requirements are awarded $1,000 at the end of the session.

Is there any cost to participate?

The seminars are cost-free for participants. Teachers may be asked to purchase books and materials, but the stipend of $1,000 upon completion will more than adequately cover any expenses incurred.

How do I apply?

The online application will be available in November.