Bard Core

“My excitement walking into class with a new Bard Core strategy to approach challenging content or skill acquisition is contagious for my students.”

–Teacher, Collins Academy High School, Chicago

 “I used to be afraid to let students get up out of their seats; now I find myself counting down the moments until we get up and perform.”

–Teacher, Bulls College Prep, Chicago

“Bard Core Curriculum: Reading into Shakespeare” is a professional learning seminar exclusively for CPS high school and upper middle school English, Special Education, and ESL teachers. Over the course of eight workshops during the summer and academic year, Bard Core teachers learn performance-based approaches for engaging students—including struggling and reluctant readers, and English language learners—with Shakespeare and other challenging texts. The 2021/22 school year will mark the program’s eighteenth year, with more than 350 teachers in 95 high schools across the city having completed the program. Bard Core is free, and participating teachers also earn PDH/CPDU credits and one Lane Credit.

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 through kinesthetic, arts-integrated strategies. The seminar is led by master teachers and content experts who model skills and facilitate “up-on-your-feet” practice and structured peer-learning, to explore and differentiates strategies for your own students and teaching environment. Seminar instruction—aligned to Common Core and CPS Framework for Teaching domains—addresses the challenges of practical implementation in “real-world” classroom settings.

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.

For CPS upper middle school and high school English teachers who want to learn more, please call CST’s Education Department at 312.595.5678 or email us at




ComEd, an Exelon Company   Fifth Third Bank   The Jentes Family


Allstate      Kimberly Herold     KPMG  Anna and Robert Livingston  NEA Art Works  Polk Brothers Foundation  Neal and Jennifer Reenan  The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust

Additional Support Provided by
Arts Midwest, Helen Brach Foundation, Butler Family Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Fifth Third Bank, The Grover Hermann Foundation, James and Brenda Grusecki, The Malott Family Student Access Fund, Mazza Foundation, Old National Bank, Pritzker Foundation Team Shakespeare Fund, and The Segal Family Foundation Student Matinee Fund



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