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August 8, 2013 - The incoming class of master’s students in Penn GSE’s Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP) received a warm welcome from Dean Andy Porter at their orientation session on July 1. “You don’t know where your careers will take you,” he said, “but you can be sure that by the time you’re done, thousands of students—and their parents—will remember you for what you’ve done for them.”
The new cohort has already found themselves in unexpected places. The 10-month, full-time M.S.Ed. program has a unique launch. Each July students spread out to get to know their schools—and the workings of the community around them – before they begin teaching in the fall. Those who follow the Secondary Education path spend the summer working in community-based organizations, while students interested in Elementary Education do a study of the neighborhoods surrounding the schools where they will be student-teachers.
This summer, UTEP students worked with youth at sites as varied as a community garden in West Philadelphia; in the Upward Bound STEM program; at the Parent-Infant Center preschool and camp; in the Nephrology Unit at Children’s Hospital; and the Moonstone preschool in South Philadelphia. One recent afternoon found new master’s candidates working with kids at Neighborhood Bike Works, a Philadelphia nonprofit that empowers urban youth by giving them access to an environmentally healthy mode of transportation.