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College of Education > News and Publications > News: Oct.-Dec. 2012 > Philadelphia Urban Seminar Offers Students the Opportunity to Teach in Urban Public Schools

Philadelphia Urban Seminar Offers Students the Opportunity to Teach in Urban Public Schools

CI 295D: The Philadelphia Urban Seminar is a 3-credit, two week course that allows students to teach in urban public schools.

by Ed Wons (November 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In May 2013, the Penn State College of Education is offering students a unique opportunity to teach at an urban setting in the city of Philadelphia. The three-credit course, CI 295D: The Philadelphia Urban Seminar, spans two weeks from May 19 to June 2, 2013.

Throughout the course, students have the opportunity to work directly with children and teachers in Philadelphia public school classrooms, participate in lectures and workshops on salient diversity issues with leading educators and researchers, and participate in community service and cultural events in the city.

Dr. Jeanine M. Staples, Assistant Professor of Education and Program Director, said the variety of options allow students to create their own experience. "The options are meant to provide English majors, for example, an opportunity to be placed in an English classroom with an English teacher and apprentice that person for two-weeks. Art majors, music majors and Math majors have the same options for placements. Students who are interested in youth with special needs can be placed with a special education teacher and learn about their work and responsibilities first hand as well," said Staples. "Similarly, someone who is interested in early childhood education, who really is interested in the earliest developmental stages of learning, can be placed with a kindergarten teacher and gather experience from that vantage point."

Past student Eric Tarosky said the course helped him grow as both a prospective teacher and as a person, "The time spent outside the classroom with our cohort helped me to make new friends and learn from a group of exceptionally talented and passionate people," said Tarosky. "It has been almost two years since I participated in the Urban Seminar, but I still reflect often on the memories from those few weeks, and I know I will carry them with me for my lifetime."

Another previous student, Jennifer Marie Rausch, said that the community service projects helped her connect with the city. "All the students and teachers that participated in the urban seminar helped clean up the town park in Norris Square. Then the members of the community made us lunch, and we listened to and danced with a Hispanic band. After lunch, children from the community came to the park and played with the new toys we brought them. I loved that afternoon."

Outside of the classroom, students also visit landmarks like the Philadelphia Art Museum and Constitution Center. Past students have attended sports events and spent time at the King of Prussia Mall, South Street and local restaurants.

Most students are eligible to enroll in this course, regardless of campus affiliation. To participate in CI 295D, students must complete several clearances. See the CIFE website: These clearances take 6-8 weeks to secure. Registration will conclude on April 1, so do not delay in applying! For more information, and to pre-register, please contact Dr. Staples,