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IPS assisting teachers in obtaining master’s degrees to meet dual credit requirement

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is providing financial assistance to educators as they work toward completing master’s degrees and graduate coursework in advance of the new Indiana dual-credit credentialing requirements, which will go into effect in 2025.

Austin Dodd, Director of Academies and Pathways for the district’s Postsecondary Readiness Department, said the IPS postsecondary readiness team is working with educators as part of an effort to retain and recruit high-quality staff and increase rigorous course offerings.

This credentialing effort will also support Arsenal Technical High School and Crispus Attucks High School’s launch of the Indiana College Core.

This initiative is currently available utilizing ESSER dollars from the federal government through September 2024.

“The dual-credit credentialing initiative is an amazing opportunity for IPS teachers because it allows for additional and higher-level training in their field of study at no expense to them,” Dodd said.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a regional college accreditor, announced that it will extend the previous deadline from Sept. 1, 2023 to Sept. 1, 2025 to allow more time for states and institutions to ensure dual-credit instructors have the necessary credentials to teach dual credit. HLC requires anyone teaching dual credit to hold a master’s degree in the content area they teach or a master’s degree in another content area and complete at least 18 credit hours of coursework in the content area in which they teach.

Under the program, IPS will select up to 120 high school teachers in the four district-managed high schools for this opportunity. Candidates will be chosen based upon everyone’s content-level priority area and intent to continue teaching in IPS for at least three years after becoming credentialed.  
All participants will receive:

  • Paid-in-full tuition, books, and fees each semester for required coursework.  
  • $5,000 in professional development funds to be utilized throughout the program.
  • A $5,000 stipend upon completion of the program.
  • A $500 per year raise for every year they teach dual credit.

Nearly two-thirds of Hoosier high school students earn some form of dual credit while in high school, including Advanced Placement, as well as the Indiana College Core, which provides an avenue for students to earn up to a full year of general education courses while in high school.

This federally allowed extension will give more Indiana educators an opportunity to obtain the necessary credentials to teach dual credit and, ultimately, support students as they work toward their post-graduation goals, whether those include employment, enrollment, or enlistment leading to service.

Students who earn early college credit are shown to be more likely to go to college and succeed. More than 90 percent of 2020 high school graduates who earned the Indiana College Core went to college, compared with the statewide college enrollment rate of 53 percent.

Teachers who believe they already possess the necessary requirements for dual-credit credentialing should contact their building leadership and send Dodd an unofficial copy of all undergraduate and graduate-level course work.

Teachers interested in future credentialing should be on the lookout in February or March for the next round of applications.