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

 “The activities are so interactive—it enhanced my classroom climate and allowed us to build a strong community.”

–Teacher, Steinmetz College Prep, Chicago

“Bard Core Curriculum: Reading into Shakespeare” is a professional learning seminar, exclusively for CPS high school and middle school English, Diverse Learning, and ELL teachers. Over the course of eight workshops during the summer and academic year, Bard Core introduces drama-⁠based, literacy-⁠focused strategies for actively engaging students with challenging texts, such as Shakespeare, poetry, and contemporary plays. Bard Core is free, and participating teachers earn PDH and two Lane Credits. The 2023/24 school year will mark the program’s twentieth year, with more than 400 teachers in 100 schools across the city having completed the program.

Bard Core teachers build a repertoire of strategies, which includes text work, scene analysis, anti-racist text-pairing applications, improvisation, and active reading strategies. The seminar is led by experienced facilitators, scholars, and content experts who guide “up-⁠on-⁠your-⁠feet” practice and structured peer-⁠learning that align with Common Core and several domains of the CPS Framework for Teaching. Each Bard Core session explores and differentiates strategies for each participant’s students and teaching environment that address the barriers of practical implementation, bridging lessons with teachers’ unique classroom experiences.

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



The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust


The Jentes Family

Major Team Shakespeare Supporters

AllstateComEd an Exelon CompanyCrown Family PhilanthropiesLloyd A. Fry FoundationKimberlee HeroldIllinois Tool WorksKPMGMazza FoundationOld National BankPolk Bros FoundationNeal and Jennifer ReenanRobert and Penelope Steiner Family Foundation


Helen Brach Foundation, Butler Family Foundation, Fifth Third Chicagoland Foundation, The Malott Family Student Access Fund, Pritzker Foundation Team Shakespeare Fund, Ropes & Gray LLP, Dr. Scholl Foundation, The Segal Family Foundation Student Matinee Fund



Additional Pages