Teaching Here

Why Choose Greater Philadelphia?

why-choose-greater-philadelphia
I chose to stay in the classroom at my placement school for a third year because I believe all children deserve a quality education even when injustices are present. I want to continue creating meaningful lessons where my students can become lifelong learners. My experiences from TFA have motivated me to continue to work on my teacher craft and continue to provide essential skills for my students to lead productive lives inside and outside the classroom. - Brooke Pelli (Greater Philadelphia '14)
Every great teacher that I've spoken to has reassured me that it takes at least 5 years to become a teacher who is "worth their salt". I see the potential for the change I hope to make in this world through teaching. I want to continue to develop and become the teacher that I know all of my students deserve. I'm not sure if I will be a teacher forever, but I know I see myself in the classroom for some time to come. The honorable Muhammad Ali once said, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.’ I'm just trying to pay my rent." - Jani Cash (Greater Philadelphia '14)

What You Need to Know

what-you-need-to-know
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Salaries range from $40,000 to $48,000

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Recommended

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The University of Pennsylvania

Relay Graduate School of Education

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University of Pennsylvania – one year.

Relay Graduate School of Education – one year.

Becoming Certified to Teach

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All Greater Philadelphia corps members and alumni teachers must meet state requirements to teach in Pennsylvania schools. For the majority of corps members, this means teaching on an “intern certificate.” These certificates are awarded by the PA Dept. of Education to teachers who have passed all of their required certifications exams and are enrolled in a state-approved alternate route to certification program. Our certification partners are currently the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the Relay Graduate School of Education. All corps members are responsible to be on a certification path to be enrolled as a corps member at TFA and be working towards full licensure.

If you are or will be certified to teach in Pennsylvania or another state before your TFA commitment, please reach out to Stephanie.Rio@teachforamerica.org to discuss your status, as your steps will vary from our traditionally enrolled corps members.

  • I got my certification in another state. How do I transfer it to PA?
  • Where do corps members complete certification coursework?
  • What is the cost of registering for PA certification exams?
  • What is the cost of obtaining certification?
  • What is the cost of obtaining a master’s degree at the above partner universities?
  • If I receive an AmeriCorps award, can I apply it to certification costs?
  • Are there any other tests that I need to take?
  • Where can I find more info?
  • What is the cost of obtaining my PA Intern Certification?

It’s easiest to transfer certification if you have earned your license and taught for two years after earning it.  Pennsylvania accepts most out of state teacher certificates under the Interstate Reciprocity Agreement. If this is your scenario, you will need the following:

  • Official transcripts in college-sealed, unopened envelopes showing Bachelor's degree conferral from an accredited United States college or university
  • The Pennsylvania Certification you are seeking
  • A copy of your current and valid state certificate comparable to the PA certificate you are seeking, including official state URL for verification of status
  • Any unique educator identification number or other identifier needed to verify your credential
  • Provide proof of two (2) years of classroom teaching experience (PDE 338V Form).  You can find this form here.  Submit one form for each non-PA public PK-12 employer. 
  • Required content area test score(s) reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Education directly by the test administrator – ETS, ACTFL, or ES Pearson.
  • Complete and submit the application into the online certification management system, TIMS, for a comparable Pennsylvania certificate ($100 fee; electronic payment accepted).

More info here.

Certification can be completed through the following university partners:

  • University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
  • Relay Graduate School of Education

Approximately $120 to $275, depending on grade and content assignment. Depending on the number of attempts it takes to pass each exam, costs may add up.

 

The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

  • $13,640 over one year for general education teachers.
  • $15,200 over one year for special education teachers.

The Relay Graduate School of Education

  • $8,750 over one year. (Expected out-of-pocket cost after Relay scholarship is $7,250. Every corps member is eligible for this scholarship)

 

For more information on each program, please view this comparison chart.

The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

  • $53, 940 over two years for general education and Special Education.

 

The Relay Graduate School of Education

  • $17,500 over two years. Expected out-of-pocket cost after Relay scholarship is $16,000. (Every corps member is eligible for this scholarship).

Please note that if you decide to pursue a master’s degree, certification costs are included in the above prices.

Yes! Eligible corps members in good standing can receive education awards that are dispersed at the end of each year of service with TFA.

For more information about your eligibility and the benefits of being a part of AmeriCorps, please click here.

In order to become certified to teach in Pennsylvania, all teachers must take one or more tests from either the Praxis series of assessments administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS) or the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT) administered by Pearson Learning. This is a requirement for enrolling in certification coursework with our university partners and for teaching in all of our partner schools. In addition, passing your exams earlier increases your chance of securing a specific teaching position in the spring or early summer, as opposed to having to wait until August or later to obtain a job.


Please be aware that those who do not pass these tests might be unable to teach in Greater Philadelphia and may need to request a deferral to join the following years’ corps. For this reason, we strongly urge you to take your exams as early as possible and to begin preparing now. Over 40% of Greater Philadelphia our corps members failed at least one test in years past.  Even for those corps members who ultimately passed, failing once meant additional out-of-pocket testing expenditures and in many cases, having to wait to secure a job. While we will recommend resources for you to use in order to prepare for your test(s) and to assist you in the registration process, it is ultimately your responsibility to take and pass all of your exams. Each of our certification partners has final deadlines for test passage.

If you are interested in joining Teach For America, please go here for instructions on how to apply.

If you have general questions, you can schedule a time to connect with us by signing up here.

If you are already a corps member who has been accepted into TFA Philadelphia and have questions about the above information, please email Stephanie Rio at stephanie.rio@teachforamerica.org

If you are an alumni new to Philadelphia and have questions about transitioning, please email Daria Silvestro at daria.silvestro@teachforamerica.org

The PA Intern Certificate costs $200.

Getting Hired

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  • What's the hiring process?
  • Do I get to choose my school?
  • Does everyone get hired?
  • When are the Hiring Fairs?
  • How do I prepare for the virtual hiring fair?

Throughout the year, we work with our school partners to develop a clear sense of where their greatest hiring needs are and how our corps members can play a role in meeting those needs. School partners' specific demand for new teachers will often fluctuate throughout the year, as staffing turnover and budgets change. Below is the typical step-by-step process for corps member hiring.

  1. Accepted into TFA Philadelphia
  2. Receive instructions from our regional team on your next steps for hiring. This includes:
    1. Follow our guidelines to update your resume.
    2. Complete the virtual hiring fair survey to RSVP for when you can attend.
    3. TFA team sends your resume to school partners, who ask to interview corps members based on their hiring needs.
    4. Finalized hiring fair schedule is sent to corps members the week of the hiring fair.
    5. Each individual interview with school partners are approximately 30 minutes and include a 5 minute demo lesson.
    6. After the virtual hiring fair, both school partners and corps members rank each interview experience.
    7. TFA ultimately determines the final placement and ask that corps members accept that offer.

All interviews for our corps members are centralized through TFA’s process listed above. Corps members are not allowed to conduct interviews on their own. There are some instances where corps members may be asked to do one-off interviews outside of the hiring fairs, depending on the timing of the year. This would also be determined by TFA staff.

Our two main priorities when placing corps members in Philadelphia schools are to 1) meet the specific hiring needs of our district and charter school partners and their students and 2) having all of our TFA Philly corps members hired by the first day of schools in their certifiable positions. When possible, after the above priorities are met, we will attempt to take into account individual corps members' preferences, however this is not guaranteed. It is our expectation that corps members accept the first position offered to them by our school partners.

Historically, most of our Philadelphia corps members are hired through our virtual hiring fair process by the first day of school. While this has been the case, we cannot guarantee that all corps members will be hired. If for some reason you are not hired by one of our school partners, you have the option to defer your offer to join the corps for the following year. Please note that in the last three years, we have placed all of our corps members by the first day of school.

This upcoming year, all of our hiring fairs will take place virtually. Here are the dates:

  • April 4th, 2018, 4 pm to 7 pm
  • May 16th, 2018, 4 pm to 7 pm
  • July 14th, 2018, 11 am to 1 pm

The majority of your interviews will take place in a virtual setting. We suggest brushing up on your interview skills, reviewing common questions that new teachers may receive during an interview, and making sure your resume is up to date. You can also spend some time researching the schools listed below where our current corps members teach. You will receive more detailed information from the regional team about your next steps. For an overview of the process, please review the above steps in the “What’s the hiring process?" section.

Where We Teach

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Alain Locke Elementary School Alliance for Progress ASPIRA Excel Academy
ASPIRA Olney Ben. Franklin High School Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School- HS
Central High School Eastern University Academy Charter School Frankford High School
Freire Charter School HS Campus George Meade School Global Leadership Academy Charter School
Hamilton Harambee Harding
Imhotep Institute Charter High School James G. Blaine School Jay Cooke Elementary
Kensington Creative & Performing Arts Academy Kensington Health Science Academy KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy
KIPP West Philadelphia Charter School Lincoln Lindley Academy Charter School
Mariana Bracetti Academy Mastery Charter Schools - Francis D. Pastorius Master Charter Schools - Cleveland Upper
Mastery Charter Schools - Douglass Lower Mastery Charter Schools - Gratz Lower Mastery Charter School - Gratz Upper
Mastery Charter Schools - Hardy Williams Mastery Charter Schools - Hardy Williams Elementary Mastery Charter Schools - Harrity Upper
Mastery Charter Schools - Lenfest Mastery Charter Schools - Pickett Mastery Charter Schools - Prep
Mastery Charter Schools - Shoemaker Mastery Charter Schools - Smedley Mastery Charter Schools - Thomas Upper
Mastery Charter Schools - Wister Overbrook HS Pan American Academy Charter School
Penrose Elementary School People for People Charter School Roosevelt Middle
Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School Strawberry Mansion High School
TECH Friere The U School Universal Audenried
World Communications Charter School  WPACES Young Scholars Charter School
 

Subjects And Grade Levels

  • Biology 
  • Chemistry
  • Elementary
  • Elementary Bilingual Education
  • Elementary Special Education
  • English
  • English Special Education
  • General Science
  • General Science Special Education
  • Math
  • Math Special Education
  • Social Studies
  • Spanish

Neighborhood Tour

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Take a tour of popular neighborhoods where corps members live and see why Philadelphia is a great place to call home!

  • Pennsport
  • Spruce Hill/Cedar Park
  • Graduate Hospital
  • Rittenhouse/Fitler Square
  • Fairmount
  • Fishtown

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Pennsport is a neighborhood of diverse cultures, races, and classes. It is an ideal neighborhood for people who want to stay “on the grid” but are looking for cheaper living options, easier parking, and a diverse neighborhood. Pennsport is within walking distance of Passyunk Ave. (named one of the the top 10 foodie avenues in the country by Food & Wine Magazine last year), Columbus Ave. and the Delaware River trail, and Broad Street. It is also close the South Philly shopping plazas (Target, Lowe’s, IKEA, etc.). You can satisfy your cravings for a variety of international cuisines within walking distance. If you are civically-minded, the Pennsport and Dickinson Square West Civic Associations offer great opportunities to get connected and involved in the neighborhood. (Many thanks to Rebecca Julien [Philadelphia ’04], author of this week’s neighborhood blurb, for sharing her love of Pennsport!)

Walk Score: 91/100
Bike Score: 87/100
Transit Score: 68/100

Best Coffee Shop

Best Restaurant

Best Bar

Best Community Organization to Know About

Best Spot for Outdoor Fun

Best Weekend Activity

Best Gym

Pennsport’s Public Schools

  • Vare-Washington School (K-8)
  • Furness High School (9-12)

Public Transit

Further Reading


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The Spruce Hill and Cedar Park neighborhoods are west of Penn’s campus, and home to nearly 40 of our alumni and corps members. Residents can easily access Center City via the trolley running down Baltimore Ave., or by the Market-Frankford Line (at the northern border of Spruce Hill). The neighborhoods are notable for their cultural diversity, with a quickly growing community of Muslim residents and small business owners. Alumnae Lila Jonas and Marina Fradera both point to the neighborhoods’ Ethopian restaurants as a key reason to pay a visit.

Walk Score: 91/100
Bike Score: 97/100
Transit Score: 80/100

Best Coffee Shop

Best Restaurant

Best Bar

Best Community Organization to Know About

Best Weekend Activity

Best Gym

Best Spot for School Supplies

Best…Other

  • Walking Escorts: Spruce Hill residents can call 215-898-WALK and a Public Safety Ambassador will walk with you. Available 24/7.

Cedar Park and Spruce Hill’s Public Schools

  • Paul Robeson High School (9-12)
  • Penn Alexander (PK-8)
  • Wilson Alexander (PK-6)
  • Lea Henry C. Middle School (PK-8)
  • West Philadelphia High School (PK, 9-12)

Public Transit

Further Reading

Graduate Hospital

Walk Score: 89/100
Bike Score: 99/100
Transit Score: 78/100

Best Coffee Shop

Best Restaurant

Best Bar

Best Community Organization to Know About

Best Spot for Outdoor Fun

  • The Schuylkill River Trail, for running or biking

Best Gym

Best View

  • Philly skyline from the South Street bridge
  • From your friend’s roof deck

Graduate Hospital’s Public Schools

  • Freire Charter High School (9-12)
  • Independence Charter School (K-8)
  • World Communications charter School (6-12)

Public Transit
You’ll find it easy to walk to most major transit routes from Graduate Hospital.

Further Reading

Rittenhouse Square

Best Coffee Shop

Best Restaurant

Best Bar

Best Community Organization to Know About

Best Museum/Cultural Spot

Best Spot for Outdoor Fun

Best Weekend Activity

  • Heading to the Farmers Market around Rittenhouse Square Park
  • Brunch at Parc on Rittenhouse Square

Best Gym

Best View

  • Walking over the South Street Bridge from University City to Center City – a great view of downtown

Best Place to Get School Supplies/Books

  • Joseph Fox Bookshop
  • South Street School Supplies
  • Staples at 15th and Chestnut
  • CVS at 19th and Chestnut

Best…Other

  • Wings: from Devil’s Alley (get the dry rub)
  • Nails: head a little outside the neighborhood to JFK Nails on 20th and Market for a $25 mani pedi
  • FestivalThe Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival

Rittenhouse/Fitler Square’s Public Schools

  • Freire Charter High School (9-12)
  • Independence Charter School (K-8)
  • World Communications charter School (6-12)

Public Transit
Rittenhouse/Fitler Square is so well-located for public transit that it’s nearly impossible for us to list all your options. Here are the major routes:

Further Reading

Fairmount

Best Coffee Shop

Best Restaurant

Best Bar

Best Community Organization to Know About

Best Museum/Cultural Spot

Best Spot for Outdoor Fun

Best Weekend Activity

  • Art After Five on Fridays at the Art Museum
  • Walking along Fairmount Avenue, people watching at OCF
  • Biking or running on the Schuykill River Trail
  • Visiting one of the neighborhood’s many museums
  • Brunch at Sabrina’s Cafe

Best Gym

Best View

  • In the words of Shawn McKenna (Las Vegas Valley ’07): “We are on a mountain over the city” (aka, you’ll have a good view from the countless roof decks in the neighborhood)
  • The median at 20th and Ben Franklin Parkway: City Hall is to your left, the Art Museum to your right
  • Walking west on Fairmount Ave. during sunset
  • Looking out from People for People Charter School

Best Place to Get School Supplies/Books

Fairmount’s Public Schools

  • Bache-Martin School (PK-8)
  • Peopel for People Charter School (K-8)
  • Waring Laura W. School (PK-8)
  • Franklin Learning Center
  • Masterman (5-12)
  • Math Civics and Sciences Charter School
  • Franklin Benjamin HIgh School (PK, 9-12)

Public Transit

Further Reading

Fishtown

Best Coffee Shop

Best Restaurant

Best Food Truck

  • Any hanging out at the corner of Frankford & Girard

Best Bar

Best Community Organization to Know About

Best Museum/Cultural Spot

  • Pizza Brain – it’s not just a pizzeria, it’s also home to the world’s largest collection of pizza memorabilia (as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records)
  • Walking Fish Theatre

Best Spot for Outdoor Fun

Best Weekend Activity

  • Walking or biking around town, checking out the shops along Frankford Ave., then stopping by a bar (maybe Frankford Hall, if the weatehr’s good) for a drink
  • Touring one of Fishtown’s breweries: Yards Brewery offers free tours from 12-4 on Saturdays, and 12-3 on Sundays. Philadelphia Brewing Company offers free tours from 12-3 on Saturdays.

Best Gym

Best View

Best Place to Get School Supplies/Books

  • Dollar Tree (York and Aramingo)
  • Target (Aramingo and Caster)
  • Dealz (Girard and Front)

Fishtown’s Public Schools

  • Kensington Creative-Performing Arts School (9-12)
  • Penn Treaty Middle School (5-8)
  • Adaire Alexander School (K-8)

Public Transit

Further Reading

Regional Expenses

Monthly Salary

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Estimated Monthly Expenses

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What's Left Over
Ongoing Certification Costs
You may be able to offset ongoing certification costs with an AmeriCorps education award. Learn more.
One Time Summer Start Up Costs
Estimated Start Up and Certification Costs