"Bard Core granted us an oasis of inspiration, source of energy to teach,
and confidence in ourselves to empower our students’ learning."

Teacher, Bowen High School (CPS), Chicago

"Instead of reading about strategies, we did them.
Now I know through experience how to approach the text."

Teacher, Steinmetz High School (CPS) , Chicago

“Bard Core Curriculum: Reading into Shakespeare” each year introduces a class of Chicago Public high school English, Special Education, and ESL teachers over the course of the summer and academic year to drama-based strategies for engaging students—including struggling and reluctant readers, and English language learners—with Shakespeare and other challenging texts. Having served over 250 teachers in over 70 high schools across the city, the 2016-17 school year will mark Bard Core’s thirteenth successful year.

By using some of the same tools that enable actors to break open Shakespeare’s complex language and capture the emotion, intention and meaning behind the words, teachers learn to authentically engage their students with the text in interactive, creative ways. Through the efforts of participating curriculum experts and reading strategists who model skills and facilitate teacher practice and structured peer-learning, seminar instruction connects directly to CPS student learning goals and addresses the challenges of practical implementation in the “real-world” classroom settings that teachers experience every day.

Teachers who complete Bard Core are invited back each year to participate in a group that teachers themselves dubbed, “Hard Core Bard Core,” our continuing professional development initiative exclusively for Bard Core alumni. Hard Core Bard Core provides our teachers unparalleled access to nationally recognized experts in the field, as well as peer-based learning forums that continue to develop their classroom practice. Recent Hard Core Bard Core seminars have been led by such literacy leaders as Carol Jago, who served as a member of the national committee reviewing the Common Core State Standards in development, Dr. Kylene Beers, Chris Tovani and Dr. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm—all leading voices in teaching struggling adolescent readers.

If you are a CPS high school English teacher who would like to apply for the Bard Core program, please complete the application and email to or fax to 312.595.5607. For questions, please contact the Education Department at 312.595.5678. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the class is full.




Additional Pages