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The CTU Quest Center values your input. Help us to determine the categories of professional learning opportunities that meet your professional development needs. We will analyze the data to determine the courses, workshops and study groups CTU membership would like the Quest Center to provide during this school year so we can plan accordingly.

For more information contact Theresa Insalaco-DeCicco at 312-329-6270 or

Thank you for your input!


Current Professional Development Offerings

For more information contact Deborah Pazera at (312) 329-6271 or

To register, click on any of the links in the Professional Development Opportunities listed below

  2015 Spring and Summer Professional Development



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3.5 ISBE Professional Development Hours

This professional learning opportunity introduces teachers of history and social studies to the resources and activities of the IWitness educational website developed by USC Shoah Foundation - The Institute for Visual History and Education. The website provides access and guided exploration to 1,467 full life histories, testimonies of survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides. IWitness brings the human stories of the Institute's Visual History Archive to teachers and their students via engaging multimedia-learning activities. IWitness is designed to be participatory, academic and student-driven, IWitness addresses education standards from the Common Core State Standards (WHST 6, 7, & 8) and the International Society for Technology in Education, among others. Participants will learn how to navigate the free website and incorporate the videos and activities into their Illinois State mandated Holocaust and Genocide studies (105ILCS 5/27-20.3). This professional learning opportunity is open to all currently practicing teachers and is free.

3.5 ISBE PD Hours will be given to all participants who are present for the entire session. Please keep in mind that late arrivals are welcome to stay, but will not be given ISBE PD Hours for attendance.

• Free Event
• Walk-ins Welcome

• Bring a digital notebook or other Wi-Fi and video streaming device

Date: July 7, 2015

Time: 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM

You must register in advance. No walk-ins.

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6.5 ISBE Professional Development Hours

This offering will familiarize teachers and paraprofessionals of all grade levels and subjects with “Best Practice” questioning and discussion techniques and their benefits.

Participants will:

  • analyze their current practice in terms of low-level and high-level questioning strategies,
  • learn discussion techniques that advance their students’ explanation of their thinking,
  • participate in Fish Bowls, Four Corners, Socratic Seminars, and KWLs and learn how to use these activities in their classrooms,
  • learn the importance of having their students use and learn content in order to develop information, processing, and problem-solving skills, as opposed to just acquiring knowledge,
  • learn a variety of pedagogical approaches that use questioning to anticipate and address student misconceptions in their learning of content,
  • learn ways to encourage student participation in class discussions,
  • develop professional habits of minds: modeling, collaborating, and reflecting and how to develop a culture of collaboration with wonder and curiosity in their classrooms, and
  • learn how to teach their students to evaluate others’ points of view.

This professional development session will place a premium on reading, writing, discussing, viewing and modeling, as a means to gain knowledge and skill about questioning and discussion techniques. This offering addresses the CPS Framework for Teaching: Component 1a, 3b, and 4d. Instructor: Walter Taylor, NBCT

Date: July 9, 2015

Time: 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM

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3 Lane Placement Credits- 45 ISBE Professional Development Hours

This course is designed to help K-12th grade classroom teachers develop instructional strategies that apply brain-based learning theories to engage all students. While brain research alone can't tell us how to teach children, understanding the brain leads to uncovering underlying learning mechanisms. This offering addresses eight neurodevelopmental constructs as the building blocks of learning: attention, temporal-sequential ordering, spatial ordering, memory, language, neuromotor functions, social cognition, and higher order cognition. This course investigates how emotions and stress play a role in the learning process, how the brain's maturation process affects learning, and how it adapts to changing circumstances when learning language(s} and mathematics. Using inquiry-based learning activities, participants will analyze brain-mind learning principles to guide their teaching practice. They will learn the characteristics and experiences that shape each unique learner's brain. Participants will learn practical brain compatible classroom techniques in order to differentiate their instruction and will develop and implement brain-based lesson plans, materials, and assessments to support multiple learning styles and modalities. This course is aligned to the CPS Framework for Teaching Components la, lb, ld, le, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, and 4d. Instructor: Michael Moriarty, NBCT.

Days/Dates: 7/13, 7/14, 7/15, 7/16, 7/17, 7/20, 7/21

Time: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

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6.5 ISBE Professional Development Hours

Don’t miss out on this one-day overview that will help get you started right away!

Do you want to incorporate close reading of complex texts into your instruction but just don’t know how to begin? Join us for this full day professional learning experience about close reading and selecting appropriate texts for your teaching context. Learn how to get your students started with the close read process, how to select grade-level appropriate complex texts, and then, how to implement close reading as part of your regular instruction. Work with colleagues in your grade-level band and content area to design a close read lesson. Instructor: Theresa Insalaco-DeCicco, M.Ed., NBCT

Date: Saturday, July 18, 2015

Time: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

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7 ISBE Professional Development Hours

This one day seminar is for all currently practicing CPS teachers to discuss and brainstorm best practices, skills, and implications of the CPS Frameworks for Teachers (FfT). Participants will unpack each component and critical attribute of their framework to understand what is required, what is valued, and what is scored by an evaluator. They will learn the skills necessary to perform at the 'Distinguished' level of the CPS FfT. Participants will create, organize, and begin to collect evidence for their observation cycle in preparation for formal evaluation pre­ and post-conferences. They will develop a professional learning goal and plan for the 2015-2016 school year to guide their own professional learning. Teachers will demonstrate reflective practice by writing and discussing strengths and weaknesses in their practice with grade band-alike colleagues, and learn how to use the information in the Critical Attributes and Addenda to advocate for their successes. Participants will also review and analyze materials and resources that are accessible on the CPS Knowledge Center for use in their own practice. Teachers will bring their latest evaluation feedback (or summative rating if available) to use as a tool when reflecting and discussing the FfT Criteria and Addenda. Research from Teachers College at Columbia University “Some Misconceptions People Tend to Have About Danielson FfT" will be studied at this seminar. Instructor: Theresa Insalaco-DeCicco, M.Ed., NBCT. There will be a 45 minute mid-session lunch break.

Date: July 25, 2015

Time: 9:30 A.M. – 5:15 P.M.

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15 ISBE Professional Development Hours

This course is designed to support 6th-12th grade teachers of math and science to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) practices in their instruction. In this course, participants will analyze a model mathematics lesson to determine the commonalities among the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics standards of practice and apply them to project-based learning methodologies. This course will support teachers in developing S.T.E.M. proficient students who can answer complex questions, investigate global issues, and develop solutions for challenges and “real world” problems. This course is aligned to the CPS Framework for Teaching – Components 1a, 1d, 3c, and 4d. Instructors: Michael Moriarty, NBCT, Adolescence through Adulthood Mathematics, and Walter Taylor, NBCT, Early Adolescence Science. There will be a 30 minute mid-session lunch break.

Dates:  July 27th – 29th

Time: 9:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.

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This 5 day Boot Camp will prepare teachers to return to school with classroom management techniques, skills and strategies for implementing formative assessments in their instruction, methods for teaching students how to close read, various ways to differentiate instruction in the classroom, and how to plan and instruct with the CPS Framework for Teaching in mind. Teachers who attend this Professional Development will collaborate with colleagues on current powerful practices in learning and instruction. They will increase their professional network and demonstrate professionalism by actively developing their practice through collaboration, lesson design, assessment design, and long-term personal professional development planning. This Boot Camp is aligned to the CPS Framework for Teaching.

  • All currently practicing and new CPS teachers may attend. 
  • Participants will receive a total of 32.5 ISBE Professional Development Hours for attending the entire week, or 6.5 ISBE PD Hours for each day's full attendance.
  • The 5th day is only open to teachers who attend all 4 other days.
  • Participants must be in attendance for the entire session in order to receive ISEB PD Hours.

 Participants must select their daily selection by pre-registering here: 

Day 1 – Monday, August 17th (Please choose one)

Effective Classroom Management

Close Reading and Complex Texts

Day 2 – Tuesday, August 18th (Please choose one)

Inquiry and the Art of Discussion

Differentiated Instruction

Day 3 – Wednesday, August 19th (Please choose one)

Close Reading and Complex Texts

Inquiry and the Art of Discussion

Day 4 – Thursday, August 20th (Please choose one)

Effective Classroom Management

Formative Assessment

*Day 5 – Friday, August 21st

Putting It All Together - * Participants will learn how everything presented in each of the other days fits together for a successful year in their classrooms. This day is only open to teachers who attended Days 1 - 4.

Nurturing Teacher Leadership, established in 1997, is a two year program of weekly professional development and candidate support that prepares teachers for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification. It includes:

      • small group facilitation
      • collaboration with a cohort of other CPS NBPTS candidates
      • technical support
      • mentoring
      • and more…


For further information on enrolling for National Board Certification for the 2015-17 cycle, please email or call Lynn Cherkasky-Davis at (312) 329-6274


Chicago Teachers Union