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Teachers Institute of Philadelphia

The Teachers Institute of Philadelphia (TIP) provides academic professional development seminars to Philadelphia public school teachers at the University of Pennsylvania.

"I have been involved with the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia for the last eight years. It is the finest professional development program for teachers that I have personally been involved with during my tenure as a teacher." -- High school science teacher

TIP's 2014 Spring Gathering

on May 28, 2014 - 15:09

TIP’s 2014 program year ended on Tuesday, May 27th with the annual Spring Gathering at Penn. The event brought participants of TIP’s four seminars together once more to celebrate the end of another successful year.

After refreshments and conversation, TIP’s director, Alan Lee, welcomed the Fellows and Seminar Leaders. One Fellow from each seminar shared reflections on their experiences and what they gained from TIP this year.

The speakers were:

Sharon Mastrobuoni (Sheppard Elementary School) – The Biology of Food

Margery Willis (Overbrook High School) and Stacia Parker (Parkway West High School) – Teaching the Holocaust: Bearing Witness

Erin Bloom (Wagner Middle School) – Native American Voices: The People – Here and Now

Meagan Rubino (High School of the Future) – Robotics for Everyone!

The speakers paid tribute to the Seminar Leaders, the collegial atmosphere of the seminars, and the resulting intellectual growth.

TIP also commemorated the retirement of two longtime TIPsters, Dale Apple and Stuart Surrey. TIP is grateful for Dale and Stuart’s service and dedication to the program. We wish them the best in their future endeavors.

Thank you to all Fellows, Seminar Coordinators, Teacher Representatives, and Seminar Leaders for making this year a great success!

Four TIP Teachers Selected as 2014 National Fellows by the Yale National Initiative

on April 8, 2014 - 13:53

The Teachers Institute of Philadelphia is pleased to announce that four teachers have been selected to represent TIP as National Fellows at the Yale National Initiative’s summer seminar program in New Haven, CT this July. The Fellows and the seminars they'll participate in are:

Erin Bloom, Wagner Middle School


Tara Ann Carter, Hill-Freedman World Academy

Understanding History and Society through Images, 1776-1914

Sydney Coffin, Edison/Fareira High School

Playing with Poems: Rules, Tools, and Games

Troy Holiday, South Philadelphia High School

Microbes Rule!

They are among 72 teachers from 12 cities and counties across the country who will participate. For two weeks in July, National Fellows will attend daily two-hour seminars, and will create innovative curriculum units for their students based on seminar content, guidance from the Seminar Leader, individual research, and feedback from their colleagues. The units will be shared on the YNI website for reference and use by teachers everywhere. Congratulations to all 2014 National Fellows for being selected for this excellent and rigorous professional development program!

To learn more about the Yale National Initiative, visit:

TIP Kicks Off the 2014 Program Year

on January 17, 2014 - 15:15

The 2014 program year got off to a great start on January 14th as this year’s cohort of Fellows gathered for an orientation reception at Penn. Director Alan Lee introduced the program, and Brett Shiel, Deputy for Teacher Effectiveness at the School District of Philadelphia, addressed the attendees, which included Fellows, Seminar Leaders, TIP alumni, and supporters from the Penn community. Penn Professor Rogers Smith and two TIP Fellows, Stuart Surrey and Terry Anne Wildman, shared insight and remarks about the program, as well. The evening ended with Seminar Leaders meeting with their respective groups in the first seminar session of the program year.

Fellows will take part in an orientation to the Penn Libraries on January 21st, and regular seminar sessions will begin the following week. We’d like to thank everyone who was in attendance for making the orientation reception a success!

2014 Seminar Program and Open House

on October 31, 2013 - 18:10

The Teachers Institute of Philadelphia is pleased to announce our seminars for the 2014 program year:

The Biology of Food

Scott Poethig, Patricia M. Williams Professor of Biology

Native American Voices: The People – Here and Now

Lucy Fowler Williams, Associate Curator and Senior Keeper of American Collections at the Penn Museum

Robotics for Everyone!

Jorge Santiago Aviles, Associate Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering

Teaching the Holocaust: Bearing Witness     

Al Filreis, Kelly Family Professor of English; Director, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing; Faculty Director, Kelly Writers House

Seminar descriptions can be viewed here.

Prospective 2014 TIP Fellows are invited to attend this year’s Open House event, which will be held on Tuesday, December 3rd from 4:30 to 6pm in Silverstein Forum, located in Penn’s Stiteler Hall (208 S. 37th Street). Seminar Leaders will introduce their respective topics.

TIP seminars are open to K-12 teachers in West and Southwest Philadelphia public schools, with the exception of STEM seminars, which are open to teachers in public schools across the city. Beginning on November 12th, consult your school’s TIP Teacher Representative to obtain an application or access one on TIP’s website. Applications are due on Friday, December 13th by 5pm. Seminars begin on Tuesday, January 14th and run through May 6th. Enrollment is limited. For more information, call 215-746-6176 or email

2013 Curriculum Units Now Available in TIP's Archive

on October 31, 2013 - 14:30

Curriculum units created by the 2013 Fellows have been added to TIP’s archive. Forty-one teachers completed the program this year, which consisted of From Slavery to Civil Rights (Steven Hahn), Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (Al Filreis), Painless Statistics for Teachers and for Teaching (Ross Koppel), and Understanding The Process of Science and the Evaluation of Evidence (Ingrid Waldron). TIP Fellows develop curriculum units for their students based on seminar content, guidance from Seminar Leaders, discussion with fellow participants, and independent research. Congratulations and thanks to our TIP teachers for their excellent work!