The Teaching Opportunity Program (TOP) has been developed to attract talented students and career changers into the teaching profession and to prepare them to improve student learning in classrooms across New York City. The program focuses on certification areas in which there are shortages of teachers: mathematics, science, Spanish, and literacy.
Participants in the program receive intensive pre-service training, for which they receive a stipend and tuition waiver. Program participants then enroll in masterís degree programs at CUNY colleges and are recommended for New York State alternative certification as a teacher. While they pursue their masterís degrees, they teach in New York City public schools and receive the appropriate salary as a New York City teacher. Participants receive assistance in finding a teaching position in a New York City school and mentoring by experienced teachers during their first year of teaching.
During each of participantsí first two years of teaching, CUNY defers payment of their tuition and fees until the end of the school year. At the end of their first year of teaching in a New York City public school and successful completion of the first year of the program, participants receive an AmeriCorps Education Award worth $4,725 that can be used to pay deferred tuition and fees at CUNY. Participants earn a second AmeriCorps Education Award worth $4,725, which can be used to pay their second yearís tuition and fees at CUNY, after their second year of teaching and successful completion of the second year of the program. CUNY graduate tuition costs $270/ credit. Most program participants will need to take from 36-48 credits to complete the program. Program participants can use unused parts of their Education Awards to pay off student loans or to pay for future education expenses. AmeriCorps funding for TOP in 2006 is pending; if funding is not received, TOP scholars will instead receive tuition waivers from CUNY. TOP participants must commit to teaching in New York City for two years following completion of their masterís degrees.
Participating colleges include: Brooklyn College (math), City College (literacy), Hunter College (math,science and Spanish), and Lehman College (math and science).