FAQ

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

Who is eligible to participate in TIP?

The Teachers Institute of Philadelphia is open to full-time teachers of grades K-12 in the School District of Philadelphia. TIP does not serve charter, private, or parochial schools. Our participants (called Fellows) commit to remain in the teaching profession and School District of Philadelphia (SDP) for at least 5 years. They must also demonstrate a willingness to support TIP during and beyond their year(s) of seminar participation. We ask Fellows to serve as ambassadors to the rest of the SDP by presenting their work they have done at TIP at peer network and professional development events.

What is a TIP seminar?

Semester-long TIP seminars enable Fellows to learn new content with esteemed professors in the field. During the seminars, Fellows write an original curriculum unit based on the knowledge they have acquired. Seminar topics include the arts, humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields; subjects vary from year to year based on input from TIP Fellows. We seek to offer seminars that best help teachers to cover their school’s curriculum.

Like regular university seminars, TIP courses are discussion-based. The curriculum is more flexible, however, in that we encourage Fellows to suggest topics of study beyond those listed in the seminar leader’s syllabus. The open format of the seminars promotes exchange among participating teachers, who share curriculum ideas with one another as they learn new material from the professor.

An experienced Fellow acts as the coordinator of each seminar, performing classroom management tasks and providing support to the other Fellows on the writing of the curriculum units.

When and where are TIP seminars?

Seminars meet fourteen times, starting in late January and running through mid-May, on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 4:30-6:30. Seminars take place either at the University of Pennsylvania or Temple University, and Fellows are given access to the libraries and online resources of the institution where they are enrolled.

How will a TIP curriculum unit help me in the classroom?

Because they are written from a teacher’s perspective, TIP units are different from the pre-packaged ones most teachers are encouraged to use. Our units are created by School District of Philadelphia teachers who are familiar with the rigors of teaching in an urban environment. Each unit solves specific problems that arise in teaching content to a particular grade level and school setting. They are also intended to help teachers cover District, state, and national academic standards. The units provide innovative ways to confront teaching challenges and try to inspire both the teacher and the student in the classroom.

TIP curriculum units are a resource to all teachers, regardless of whether they are able to enroll in a TIP seminar. We invite you to browse our online repository of units here. Should you choose to try a TIP unit, we ask that you fill out a brief survey telling us of your experience using it in the classroom.

Is there any cost to participate?

TIP offers its seminars free-of-charge to Fellows. Upon completion of the seminar and submission of their curriculum unit, teachers receive a stipend to cover the cost of books, materials and incidental expenses such as childcare and transportation. Fellows who assume leadership positions in the Institute’s seminars (e.g. Seminar Coordinator) receive an additional stipend amount. Fellows who complete the program also receive Act 48 professional development credits.

How do I apply?

Applications for the next TIP seminar cycle, which begins in January will be available on our website in September.

Didn’t find the answer to your question? Feel free to reach out to us at teachersinstitute@sas.upenn.edu.