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IPS unveils teacher recruitment initiative

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — The state’s largest school district has launched an effort designed to recruit and retain more educators with a focus on diversity. The “Proving What’s Possible” initiative features two elements, including an apprenticeship program for teachers and a residency for principals.

“This new initiative will build new pathways for talented educators to join our team while making sure our current excellent teachers feel supported and can grow in their careers,” said Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson.

During a virtual news conference, IPS Director of Talent Acquisition Alex Moseman said the goal is to remove as many barriers as possible.

“One of the things we currently know is that there are just too many barriers to the pathway to teaching and specifically teaching in urban schools,” said Moseman. “Specifically, the IndyTeach apprenticeship is the tactical strategy there, the fact that it is no cost, fully embedded. Folks don’t have to re-enroll in a college or university; their training is specifically embedded in the school they will likely teach in for the next year.”

The IndyTeach apprenticeship is a one-year program in partnership with Christel House Indianapolis designed to help people who want to become teachers earn their Indiana state teaching license without returning to a university.

“Folks who are admitted to the program have to meet the criteria for initial licensure with the IDOE,” Moseman says. “From there, they spend essentially a year as an apprentice in a building, which a much more rigorous experience than what student teaching typically is. It’s longer; they’re an employee of that school and so they are expending specific and intentional time with a mentor teacher, getting that coaching and feedback, and then additionally, there is a more gradual on ramp into the classroom.”

The IPS principal residency is a year-long paid program for school leaders, including assistant principals and principals in other districts, to grow their careers in IPS. Dr. Nathalie Henderson, chief schools officer at IPS, says the program gives individuals the chance to learn the IPS system and strategies to improve academic achievement.

The district says it continues to see a sizable gap between the race and ethnicity of teachers and students in its schools, with 26% of teachers being Black or Latinx, compared to 85% of students. While those numbers are improving, IPS says more work needs to be done.

“Research shows that all students benefit when they have a teacher of color, and so that benefit is even greater for students of color,” said Moseman. “I would also say that a focus on racial equity is one of the top drivers of things that we see is important to people as they join the district. So, it is both the right strategy for kids and it is a winning strategy to recruit talent.”

Applications are now open for both the IndyTeach apprenticeship and the IPS principal residency. The programs are set to begin this summer with 10-person and four-person cohorts, respectively.