About Us

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.

TOP represents a collaborative initiative between The City University of New York and the New York City Department of Education. The program provides the following to highly qualified baccalaureate program graduates seeking to pursue a career in teaching: stipends, education awards, mentorship.

The Teaching Opportunity Program recruits recent graduates and career changers with academic majors that have been identified as teacher shortage areas. During the year 2009, the program will focus on recruiting candidates with degrees or the equivalent in the areas of Spanish, mathematics and science. In addition, candidates who hold a New York state teaching certificate to be a classroom teacher and who are currently teaching in the New York City public school system and are interested in pursuing a career as a literacy teacher may apply.

Participants in the program receive intensive pre-service training during the first summer, for which they receive a stipend and tuition waiver. Successful program participants then enroll in master’s degree programs at CUNY colleges and are recommended for New York State alternative certification as a teacher. While pursuing their master’s degrees, candidates teach in New York City public schools and receive the appropriate salary as a New York City teacher. Participants are responsible for finding a teaching position in a New York City school. However, TOP will have a job placement manager on-hand to assist candidates in their job search. TOP will also provide candidates with mentoring by experienced teachers during their first year of teaching. However, job searching is the overall responsibility of the participant.

During each of the first two years of teaching, CUNY defers payment of TOP students' tuition and fees until the end of the school year. At the end of their first year of full-time teaching in a New York City public school and successful completion of the first year of the program, participants can receive an AmeriCorps Education Award (worth $4,725 in 2009) that can be used to pay deferred tuition and fees at CUNY. Participants can earn a second AmeriCorps Education Award (worth $4,725 in 2009), which can be used to pay their second year’s tuition and fees at CUNY, after their second year of full-time teaching and successful completion of the second year of the program. Most program participants will need to take from 36-48 credits to complete the program. Program participants can use any unused parts of their Education Awards to pay off student loans or to pay for future education expenses. TOP participants must commit to teaching in New York City for two years following completion of their master’s degrees.

Participating colleges include:

  • Brooklyn College (math)
  • City College (literacy)
  • Hunter College (math, science and Spanish)
  • Lehman College (math and science)

Participating Colleges

  • Brooklyn College (math)
  • City College (literacy)
  • Hunter College (math, science and Spanish)
  • Lehman College (math and science)