DISTRICT | October 14, 2020
An Open Letter to CPS High School Students and Their Families from Yesenia Olvera, College and Career Coach, Benito Juarez Community Academy
Come back, give back. It’s a powerful message, one that resonated with me as I approached my own graduation from Benito Juarez Community Academy not so long ago. It gives me joy to give back to a community that believed in me; to tell students, “If I could make it, so can you.”
As a College and Career Coach at Benito Juarez, I often talk with students considering a career in teaching. Even though the transition from high school to college can seem complicated or intimidating, there’s an encouraging and inspiring quality in these young aspiring teachers.
They are motivated, passionate, and have a sense of mission looking ahead to a career that will make a difference in their communities. And yet, they recognize they need support along the way. My CPS colleagues and I are happy to be there and, starting this fall, share our new Teach Chicago Tomorrow initiative with them.
This new initiative is driven by a belief in the power of a more diverse teacher workforce — one in which students are taught by educators who look like them, come from their communities, and are invested in their neighborhoods.
We will welcome more Black and Latinx educators in the years ahead by providing support to help aspiring teachers navigate the path from high school to college to career. And in doing so, we will provide educational and economic opportunities for African American and Latinx students and take another step toward fulfilling our equity goals.
Teach Chicago Tomorrow provides a structured pathway for students to successfully complete college, earn their teaching credentials, and begin their CPS career. The Teach Chicago Tomorrow Pathways Partnership combines the resources of CPS, City Colleges of Chicago, and Illinois State University. If you’re interested in the Pathways Partnership, you’ll want to fill out the interest form.
Students who do not participate in the City Colleges-ISU partnership may choose a different pathway to a teaching degree, such as enrolling in a four-year college after high school. Such alternate pathways are supported by informational toolkits and counseling from the CPS Teach Chicago Tomorrow team and academic counselors at colleges and universities.
If you’re graduating in 2021 and decide to create your own path to a teaching degree rather than participate in the Pathways Partnership, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our new Toolkit. The toolkit spells out the six essential steps for choosing a college and staying on track all the way to your education degree, licensure, and new CPS teaching job!
If you’re interested in becoming a teacher, watch this video to learn more about your options, and then, of course, go talk with your college and career coach or counselor. We are here to help you think through big decisions like this.
Whichever path you choose, remain hopeful and persistent. We are here to help provide you with the right resources and tools to ensure your success. There are a lot of resources out there; take advantage of them.
On behalf of all college and career coaches and counselors, we wish you all the best on your path ahead!