The CPS Algebra Initiative

In order to bring the number of middle grade students in High School Algebra I to the national levels, the CPS Department of Mathematics, in collaboration DePaul University, University of Chicago (UofC), and The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), has developed a program called the CPS Algebra Initiative. Each institution offers either a two- or three-course sequence of algebra courses that involve algebra content as well as pedagogy in teaching algebra.

The goal of the CPS Algebra Initiative is to provide a series of courses that will prepare elementary and middle grade teachers to deliver a high-quality algebra course to select eighth grade students.

Every year, CPS choses a select group, or cohort, of teachers to receive a subsidy. At the University of Chicago, this subsidy will cover all three courses in the sequence. To see if you qualify for the cohort, and for more information regarding the Algebra Initiative, please contact the CPS Department of STEM at

Certification for Teaching High School Algebra 1 in the Middle Grades

In accordance with CPS Policy 605.5, High School Algebra 1 can only be taught by teachers with one of the following qualifications:

  1. Type 09 Certificate which indicates Senior High School Mathematics and Middle Grades Mathematics endorsement
  2. Type 03 Certificate
    1. Middle grade mathematics endorsement
    2. Complete yearlong sequence of Algebra Initiative courses
    3. Pass Algebra Teacher Qualifying Exam
  3. Type 03 Certificate
    1. Middle grade mathematics endorsement
    2. Complete and be approved for Algebra Waiver. The waiver is intended for teachers who have taken a high number of upper-level college mathematics courses (calculus or higher).
    3. Pass Algebra Teacher Qualifying Exam

Information about individual teacher certification status is available from the Illinois State Board of Education Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS). (NOTE: The Algebra Teacher Qualifying Exam is recognized only in CPS. Type 03 teachers will not have any indication on their ISBE certificate of having passed the Algebra Teacher Qualifying Exam.)

Seminars for Endorsement of Science and Mathematics Educators
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