Appreciating the teachers of Chicago Tech Academy

Grab a copy of this week’s Forbes magazine for JJ Colao’s great story about Chicago Tech Academy. It’s fitting recognition for the school during a week the nation celebrates teachers:

“We’re essentially trying to create 21st-century learners by integrating technology and entrepreneurship into all of the classes,” explains Pat Riley, 26, who teaches audio and visual editing at the school.

Much of the credit, Hancock emphasizes, goes to the “amazing professionals” on staff. Chicago Tech prefers to recruit teachers with diverse backgrounds. Pat Riley spent three years doing p.r. and business development for a Chicago law firm. Dan Wheadon, who teaches information technology, left his job as a software engineer at Intel. Teacher bonuses, unheard of in Chicago public schools, encourage integrating field trips and guest speakers into students’ lessons.

In the third year, Chicago Tech Academy is in  the 96th percentile of ALL public schools in Chicago in meeting or exceeding the pace at which kids learn the basics of their education. That is directly a result of incredible teachers and their innovative approach to instruction.

At a school where students cross several gang territories in their daily commute, Chicago Tech teens sit down with the likes of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, pollster John Zogby and Hospira CIO Daphne Jones. “We meet some pretty important people all the time,” says Chris Hayes, 17, who spoke ahead of Ballmer at an event in 2010. “It’s not even a big deal anymore.”

Check out the full story on Forbes.

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