(Chicago News Cooperative) — The gap between the number of minority teachers in Chicago Public Schools and minority student enrollment has grown significantly over the last decade, but one CPS school is working hard to change that by preparing the next generation of teachers. At Wells Community Academy, where the racial breakdown of students is almost evenly split between African-American and Hispanic students, more than 60 high school students will participate in a teacher training program that gets them to the front of the classroom nearly eight years ahead of schedule. Students enrolled in the Chicago Urban Teacher Academy at Wells take a four-year curriculum in partnership with National Louis University designed to focus on best practices in teaching. One day per week students work in classrooms at one of three nearby elementary schools – Peabody, Talcott or Moos. Ernesto Matias launched the program two years ago and now it has three cohorts of students, one group that started last year and two groups of freshman. He hopes that someday he can hire his own students as teachers.
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