A teacher education program with a focus on urban education, student-centered learning, and innovative teaching tools. 

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship master's program is a practice-focused program that prepares new teachers to enact student-centered learning and to use innovative teaching tools in urban schools, premised on the belief that children are curious, creative, and competent. Coursework and intensive field experiences build on content expertise and support the development of pedagogical content knowledge. Teachers leave the program inspired to use the power of teaching to deepen student learning, transform schools, and increase educational equity.

Part of Penn GSE’s Collaboratory for Teacher Education

What Sets Us Apart

800+ 800+ hours of field experience: More than 2x the average program
1 Year Expert instructional coaching during a year-long apprenticeship in an urban school community
  A focus on innovative, student-centered teaching strategies that promote active learning

About the Program

In the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship program, students develop their practice through a complex interaction of coursework, classroom experiences, feedback from mentors, consultations with instructional coaches, and shared dialogue with cohort members and faculty.

Entry term(s)
Summer
Course requirements
11-12 courses

Research apprenticeship10-month student teaching apprenticeship

Culminating experienceWeb-based inquiry portfolio

Certificate/Licensure offeredFaculty recommendation for Pennsylvania Instructional I certification

Duration of master’s program10 months

OrientationOrientation for accepted students is required and takes place in early July. Contact the program for more information.

Format(s)
  • Full-Time
Teacher Programs & Certifications
Overview

This urban-focused program prepares our students to become reflective, collaborative, and transformative teacher leaders. Throughout the 10-month program, coursework is designed to weave together research-based core practices for problem- and project-based learning that integrate with apprenticeship experiences.

Unlike most pre-service teacher programs, this program starts in July. Apprentices spend the summer months immersed in the Philadelphia neighborhoods where they learn how each school is part of the fabric of its surrounding community. By late summer, apprentices begin their teaching placements in a Philadelphia public or charter school, giving them nearly an entire year in the classroom. Throughout the year, apprentices develop their student-centered practice as they learn at the side of an experienced classroom teacher and receive input from instructional coaches and mentors. When our graduates seek employment, they already have a full year of teaching experience on their résumés.

Degrees and certifications offered

  • Elementary education M.S.Ed. (Grades PreK-4)
  • Middle level education M.S.Ed. (Grades 4-8)
  • Secondary education M.S.Ed. (Grades 7-12)
  • Urban education minor for Penn undergrads
  • Submatriculation for Penn undergrads and Quaker Consortium undergrads
  • Teacher Certification in Pennsylvania
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Program Highlights

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program is a unique teacher education program committed to a student-centered approach to teaching and our belief that young people are curious, creative, and competent. 

Year-long apprenticeship in urban classroom

The year-long UTAP apprenticeship differs from traditional teacher education programs where students might spend only a short period—perhaps as little as 12 weeks—student teaching. Our apprenticeships begin in the summer and span 10 months, with over 800 hours of fieldwork, immersing our apprentices in the teaching environment. 

Summer start

Starting in the summer is a unique benefit of the UTAP program, setting it apart from other teacher education programs. Apprentices begin their field placements at community-based sites in the same Philadelphia neighborhoods where they will be placed in the fall. This allows our apprentices to develop a legitimate entry into the community, getting to know both children and their families, and beginning to experiment with student-centered practice explored during summer coursework. 

Purposeful mentorship and instructional coaching

Mentored field experiences are the core of UTAP’s practice-based approach to teacher preparation.

  • Classroom Mentors are highly-skilled, practicing teachers who share their classrooms and knowledge with apprentices every day.
  • Instructional Coaches are key members of our clinical faculty who co-teach courses and facilitate school-based studio days with partner schools to model practices in real time with real students.
  • Penn Mentors work with apprentices at the school site weekly to provide ongoing support and help bridge university coursework to the field. Most Penn Mentors have 10 to 30 years of teaching experience in urban classrooms. 

A diverse and committed cohort

The UTAP program is cohort based: all apprentices begin and move through the program together, sharing classes and experiences in their schools. Grade level and content area specializations allow for smaller cohorts with a shared focus. We seek to build a diverse cohort of students who have demonstrated commitment to urban education and student-centered teaching. 

Advocacy & leadership: equity in education

UTAP prepares graduates to take on leadership roles, particularly those that position teachers as advocates for all students, effectively advocating for students within marginalized communities. 

Practitioner research to develop rigorous content teaching

UTAP models an inquiry stance, in which our apprentices see themselves not only as consumers of research but generators of it, using their own classrooms as sites for ongoing research and self-reflection to support deep student learning of content. View selections of Inquiry Portfolios developed by our students:

Curriculum and Certification Requirements

Master’s degree options

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program offers three M.S.Ed. options which align with the Pennsylvania Department of Education certification bands: elementary (grades PreK-4), middle level (grades 4-8), and secondary (grades 7-12) education.  

For more information on courses, program requirements, and certification requirements, visit the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship M.S.Ed. program in the University Catalog

Options for Undergrads

Our program also offers also offers multiple ways for undergraduates at Penn to engage with GSE. Learn more about our education opportunities for undergraduate students.

Our Partners

School District of Philadelphia

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program partners with the School District of Philadelphia, working together in over 25 schools throughout the district. 

School District of Philadelphia Residency Program

The School District of Philadelphia-UTAP Residency Program offers teachers preparing to teach in the STEM areas additional support and mentorship while in the UTAP program and during the first three years of professional teaching. 

Weiss Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship

The Weiss Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship seeks to attract talented, committed individuals with backgrounds in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—into teaching in high-need Pennsylvania secondary schools. This Fellowship opportunity is open to students in Penn GSE’s Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program. Read more about the Weiss Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship at Penn GSE.

Hollyhock Fellowship

The Hollyhock Fellowship Program supports highly motivated, early-career high school teachers to persist and thrive in the classroom by providing them with rich learning opportunities with colleagues nationwide and mentorship. 

Breakthrough Collaborative

The Breakthrough Collaborative trains college students and their teacher-mentors to partner with and support students from under-resourced communities on their paths to college, seeking to reverse education inequities.

Partner Schools

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program partners with a wide range of schools in Philadelphia. Students complete a survey to help us with an appropriate placement that will maximize their opportunities to grow as teachers. 

Kensington Health Sciences Academy

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program began partnering with KHSA in 2016 with the support of the Penn Futures initiative, which brings Penn interns from Penn GSE, Penn School of Social Policy and Practice, and Penn Nursing to learn together at one school site. KHSA is a neighborhood school serving youth in grades 9-12 with rigorous academic courses integrated with career and technical education programs of study, including health related technology, dental assisting, and pharmacy technician. KHSA is also part of the Philadelphia Mayor’s office network of community schools.

Penn Alexander K-8 School

The Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School (Penn Alexander School, or PAS) is the product of a partnership among the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and the University of Pennsylvania. The goal was to build a model university-assisted K-8 public school for West Philadelphia children. The partnership with Penn has allowed the school to keep class size low. Many groups at Penn, particularly the Graduate School of Education and the School of Social Policy and Practice, support PAS in its commitment to providing high-quality public education to neighborhood children through a child-centered, research-based program. PAS opens its teacher professional development to teachers from neighboring schools, sharing its special opportunities with others.

Science Leadership Academy @ 22nd Street

Science Leadership Academy is a project-based learning-focused high school developed in 2006 in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) and the Franklin Institute science museum. SLA’s founding principal has led the creation of the Innovation Network, established by the SDP in 2015. The district’s goal for this network of schools is to break new ground in urban education and improve student achievement through innovation, advancement of project-based learning, self-directed goal-setting, and skill building for students’ lives beyond school as central to effective learning.

Southwark K-8 School

The Southwark School is a neighborhood school located in South Philadelphia, the area in which immigrant populations traditionally settle. The school student population reflects the rich diversity of current families, and frequently accommodates new waves of immigration. Currently almost half of the students are considered English Language Learners with home languages including Spanish, Nepali, Mandarin, Burmese, and Vietnamese. The school provides supportive classroom environments for ELL students, and is supported by a number of neighborhood and broader ranging partner organizations. Southwark was recently named as one of the mayor’s “Community Schools,” which will allow it to become a neighborhood hub, providing services beyond the academic needs of the children it serves. 

Guiding Principles

Our program prepares ethical, reflective, collaborative, and visionary educational leaders. Our prospective teachers leave the program prepared to use the power of teaching to deepen student learning, transform schools, increase educational equity, and move into leadership roles. We are guided by the following commitments:

Commitment to Diversity & Equity

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship program asserts that: 1) diversity is a strength; 2) we have a role in preparing participants in a diverse, democratic society; 3) by preparing the next generation of teachers, we can contribute to disrupting cycles of injustice in today’s culture and society. 

Commitment to Inquiry

We cultivate teacher capacity to engage in inquiry about their teaching practice and the systems that support and hinder student achievement. Apprentices conduct research in their classrooms, becoming not only consumers of research but also generators of it.

Commitment to Practice

Teacher education and development need to focus on the practice of teaching—not just building teacher knowledge. Penn GSE as a research university is uniquely positioned to generate research to identify core teaching practices that apprentices learn and adapt to a range of classroom and school contexts. 

Commitment to Partnership

Cross-institutional partnerships are essential to the growth of new teachers and the schools and communities they serve. Our program collaborates with key stakeholders, community organizations, and schools to provide professional development, develop curricula, and place apprentices to support student learning. Learn more about our school partners in the Penn GSE in Philadelphia map

Commitment to Research-informed Work

Too many reform efforts in teacher education are insufficiently studied to determine quality and impact on student learning. Through a partnership with the Penn GSE Collaboratory for Teacher Education, our program is committed to drawing on research to inform practice and conducting the rigorous research necessary to determine the impact of our teacher preparation program on student learning.

Our Faculty

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship program faculty members have—and value—K-12 teaching experience. Our faculty members are all engaged in research that brings them into the schools and communities with which we partner, and they are exceptionally accessible and welcoming to students. They are deeply invested in teacher education and preparing teachers who will represent the values of the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship program.

Penn GSE Faculty Abby Reisman
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University
Penn GSE Faculty Kate Kinney Grossman
Director, Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program
M.A., Teachers College, Columbia University
Penn GSE Faculty Ed Brockenbrough
Associate Professor and Calvin Bland Fellow
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Susan A. Yoon
Professor
Ph.D., University of Toronto
Penn GSE Faculty Janine Remillard
Professor
Ph.D., Michigan State University
Penn GSE Faculty Michael J. Nakkula
Professor of Practice
Ed.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education
Penn GSE Faculty Davinah Sharnese Smith
Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D., Temple University
Penn GSE Faculty Zachary Herrmann
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Ed.L.D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Caroline Brayer Ebby
Adjunct Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Program Leadership and Affiliated Partners

Program Leadership and Staff

Kate Kinney Grossman
Director 

Maureen Cotterill
Program Manager
maureenc@upenn.edu 

Pat Friess
Administrative Coordinator
pfriess@upenn.edu

Affiliated Program Faculty

Kate Dean
Assistant Principal, School District of Philadelphia
M.S.Ed., University of Pennsylvania

Melissa Donner
Instructional Coach, English

Timothy M. Hall
Lecturer
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University

Peggy Hickman
Instructor, Penn GSE
Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin

Rashmi Kumar
Technology Instructor

Brad Latimer
Math Instructor, 7-12

Jenny Lunstead
Literacy and Field Placements, P-8

Gillian Maimon
Literacy Instructor P-8

Taryn Ortlip
Instructional Coach, Mathematics

Carol Rulli
Science Instructor and Field Placements, 7-12
Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

Shubha Sarode
Instructional Coach, Science

Andrew J. Schiera
Adjunct Professor, Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program, Penn GSE
Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

Kristian Ogungbemi

"The biggest benefit of the Penn GSE program was spending almost a year in front of a classroom. I learned how to build relationships with students and be responsive to their needs."

Kristian Ogungbemi

Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program M.S.Ed., 2018

Our Graduates

Our alumni work in public service as teachers, principals, superintendents, foundation program officers, school board members, community leaders, and international educators to advocate for curricula, resources, and policies that provide access to quality education for communities that are underserved or marginalized.

Alumni Careers

  • Biology Teacher, South Lakes High School
  • Chemistry Teacher, School District of Philadelphia
  • Founding Teacher, The Launch School
  • Fourth Grade Teacher, Russell Byers Charter School
  • History Teacher, Berlin Bilingual School
  • Language Specialist, University of Pennsylvania English Language Programs
  • Principal, School District of Philadelphia
  • Science Curriculum Specialist, School District of Philadelphia
  • Secondary Mathematics Teacher, Hill-Freedman World Academy
  • Third Grade Math/Science Teacher, Houston Independent School District

Admissions & Financial Aid

Please visit our Admissions and Financial Aid pages for specific information on the application requirements, as well as information on tuition, fees, financial aid, scholarships, and fellowships.

Contact Information

Contact us if you have any questions about the program.

Office of Admissions and
Financial Aid

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania
3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-6415
admissions@gse.upenn.edu
finaid@gse.upenn.edu

Program Contact

Maureen Cotterill
Program Manager
(215) 898-7364
maureenc@upenn.edu 

Pat Friess
Administrative Coordinator
pfriess@upenn.edu

Please view information from our Admissions and Financial Aid Office for specific information on the cost of this program.

Penn GSE is committed to making your graduate education affordable, and we offer generous scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.

Your Future Starts Here: Teacher Education in Penn GSE’s Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program

The Penn GSE Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program prepares you to be an ethical, reflective, collaborative, and visionary educational leader. You will graduate from our program prepared to use the power of teaching to deepen student learning, transform schools, increase educational equity, and move into leadership roles.

Financing Your Teaching Degree at Penn GSE

We believe in the value of learning to teach. A quality education is an investment in your future, and we take pride in helping every student find a way to make it work. The majority of our students receive scholarships averaging $10,000. Many of our students use the Federal government’s Direct Loan program as well. Find out more about financing your teaching degree at Penn GSE.


Learning to Teach at Penn GSE

Penn GSE Dean Pam Grossman, renowned expert in teacher education, welcomes applicants to the Urban Teacher Apprenticeship Program.