Teacher Development Program

Community – Excellence – Leadership

Big Shoulders Fund teachers are driven by a deep mission to serve Chicago Catholic school students in the greatest need, and they strive to make a difference in children’s lives every day.



student St. Margaret of ScotlandThe Big Shoulders Fund Teacher Development Program (Big Shoulders TDP) recruits, prepares, and develops quality teachers to serve in Big Shoulders Fund schools. Big Shoulders TDP teachers are committed to three pillars that drive their work: community, excellence, and leadership.

The Big Shoulders TDP is a multi-year professional development program that offers a variety of supports specific to the candidate. In partnership with local universities – DePaul University, Dominican UniversityLoyola University at Chicago and St. Xavier University– Big Shoulders TDP provides tuition assistance, tutoring and clinical placement opportunities, and guidance on job selection. After graduation, a candidate will receive up to three years of customized coaching and professional development.

Currently, the Big Shoulders TDP supports pre-service teachers – two years from degree-completion – interested in pursuing an Illinois Professional Educator License and its associated endorsements, and in-service teachers in their first through third years in the classroom. The Big Shoulders TDP is actively recruiting pre-service teachers to participate, giving preference to those interested in focusing on STEM education.



Pre-Service Supports

  • 2-years of tuition assistance when completing your degree (up to $5,000 per year)
  • Tutoring and clinical experience placements in Big Shoulders Fund schools
  • Access to ongoing professional development
  • Networking opportunities
  • Job-placement guidance
  • 3 years of in-service support

In-service Supports

  • Individualized instructional coaching
  • School-based mentoring
  • Quarterly professional development sessions
  • Inquiry Groups and Peer Collaboration
  • Mini-grant opportunities
  • Financial assistance for graduate degrees / certification / endorsements


Pre-service candidates who are accepted into and receive supports, including up to 2-years of tuition assistance, from the Big Shoulders TDP are expected to commit to teaching in a Big Shoulders Fund school for three years.

Once hired into a Big Shoulders Fund school, a candidate is expected to agree to engage with the ongoing in-service supports.


Applications are now being accepted. Please visit the Application Process page to get started. If you have any questions please email tdp@bigshouldersfund.org.


The Big Shoulders Fund Teacher Development Program is possible through the support of the Opus Foundation.