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Indianapolis
Public Schools teacher Courtney Singleton discussed how the district provides
growth, autonomy, respect and choice in a opinion piece in the
Indianapolis Star on May 16, 2016. Below is
the repurposed letter.

 

I
can still remember the phone ringing about a job offer with Indianapolis Public
Schools as I was driving home from a long day working for minimum wage at a
fast food restaurant. Never in a million years did I think one phone call four
years ago would change my life in so many ways. The amazing opportunities
provided to me within the short time in my career would be endless, not to
mention the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally through my
time as a teacher for IPS.

 

I
can remember thinking, “What did I just get myself into?” IPS does not have a
good reputation. “Am I really making the right choice?” I wondered. I finally
decided to take the job. I would be able to get one year of teaching experience
under my belt and leave.

 

As
I entered my first classroom on the first day in a new school, I had dozens of
questions. As a teacher who was hired in the middle of the year, I can
personally say that IPS has been successful in helping transition new teachers.
I am forever grateful that new teachers are given a mentor to help them, as
well as professional development tailored to their needs.

 

I
have been fortunate to only change schools once in four years. But as a teacher
expanding my career and helping move the bar for so many students, I can say I
am very happy and grateful for teaching at School 93: Project Restore. In the
one year that Project Restore has been implemented, we have seen a high rate of
parental involvement, a decrease in student misbehavior and the chance for
students to feel success and a sense of belonging. This is all thanks to IPS
for letting teachers do what they know best: teach!

 

The
district has given schools the chance for autonomy, which has allowed educators
to make decisions that best fit the needs of students. I couldn’t be happier
teaching for a district that provides various opportunities for teacher
support, family time, amazing students and families and even helps keep
students in school. I can honestly say my first impression was wrong, and I
plan on staying with the district for a very long time.

 

This
year, IPS has bestowed teachers with opportunities to expand their careers,
giving them a chance to remain working for the district. Teachers were able to
see their first raises in five years, countless professional development
opportunities and even a chance to become a teacher leader and receive a
stipend for their hard work. IPS is also trying to recruit only the best of
teachers.

 

Our
kids deserve the best, don’t they? Don’t you want to teach for a district that
appreciates you? I know I do!

 

Courtney Singleton

Greenwood