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, striving to make a difference in children’s lives every day.


student St. Margaret of Scotland

The 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.

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 – The University of Chicago, DePaul UniversityDominican UniversityLoyola University at Chicago , National Louis University, University of Notre Dame, Roosevelt University, Teach NOW (online) 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.

Big Shoulders TDP provides tuition assistance, professional development, coaching, and mentoring to pre-service and in-service teachers during their most critical years in the profession. In addition, Big Shoulders TDP identifies and develops Teacher Mentors who can then offer ongoing job-embedded support to brand new teachers from any school. Pre-Service Candidates must be on track to obtain an Illinois Professional Educator License and are no more than two years from degree-/license-completion. In-Service Teachers must be in their first through third year in the classroom. Mentors must have at least three years of experience as a full-time classroom teacher and are interested in building their leadership capacity.

Pre-Service Supports

  • Two 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
  • Three 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

teacher st ailbe

Pre-service candidates who are accepted into and receive supports, including up to two years of tuition assistance, from 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.


The application window is currently closed, please email tdp@bigshouldersfund.org with any questions.

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