September 8, 2017
WORKING TOGETHER — IPS Administrators, Board Commissioners and the district’s teacher leaders recently gathered for a day of fun, inspiration and camaraderie at the inaugural Teacher Leader Kick-off Dinner at Ivy Tech Community College.
Recognizing the hard work that teachers put into their profession every day is important. That was the mission behind the Teacher Leader Kick-off Dinner on Aug. 23 at Ivy Tech Community College Culinary and Conference Center.
Hosted by the IPS Human Resources Department’s Talent Team, the inaugural gathering was created to celebrate our district leaders. In addition to brief appreciation speeches, a photo booth and plated dinner, guests included IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee and other central leadership team members.
“The event was received really well,” said Shareyna A. Chang, teacher preparation coordinator. “We wanted to provide them with an event that recognized their great work and their contributions to our students.”
The IPS Teacher Leadership program is a collection of professional opportunities that retain and extend the reach of top teacher talent at the school and district level. Roles for this year include Opportunity Culture Expanded Impact Teacher and Multi-Classroom Leader positions, as well as district leadership roles in evaluation, recruitment, curriculum and instruction, leading change, counseling, and special education.
“We were excited to recognize and celebrate our 2017-2018 teacher and certified professional leaders at a dinner sponsored by the IPS Education Foundation,” said Chang. “IPS leadership opportunities expand the impact of excellent teachers and certified professionals in support of realizing our district vision for students.”
The event was a hit with the teacher leaders in the room.
“Seeing all of the different teacher leaders at various levels in one room was very eye-opening and encouraging,” said Abbey Pease, a change agent and change agent mentor and special education teacher. “It is encouraging to see that so many teachers want to take on a bigger responsibility without leaving the classroom setting, but still impacting many students. I am excited to see how these roles and responsibilities grow over the next few years!”
Cassie Owens, a math coach at Stephen Foster School 67 and a proud curriculum and instruction teacher leader, considers teaching to be her ministry. “I consider every school year a ‘short-term mission trip,’ where I serve students, families and staff to the best of my ability. I chose to be a curriculum and instruction Teacher Leader because of my success with empowering others with high self-efficacy in my content area.”
But, for Owens, the Teacher Leader Kick-off Dinner really showed how valuable her role is to district leaders.
“Seeing Dr. Ferebee and Dr. Legrand really proved to me that this program is a high priority for them and because they value, encourage and support our contribution, the probability of us making a significant impact is great!,” said Owens.
Throughout the evening, teacher leaders were given the opportunity to explain why they are teacher leaders. Here’s what a couple them said:
“My passion for teaching mathematics led me to a district level, teacher leader role through IPS’ Curriculum and Instruction Department. Most notably through this role, I am working with the other C and I teacher leaders to revamp and restructure the new Teacher Training Program for the district. We are implementing new teacher training sessions that will provide brief and relevant content-area trainings as well as time to collaborate with a cohort of fellow new teachers. Through my role as a district teacher leader, I identified new teacher support as an area of growth for IPS, and I found ways to collaborate with district leaders to work towards making a better experience for new teachers.”
- Becky Pokrandt, curriculum and instruction district leader, 4th grade teacher at IPS/Butler University Lab School 60
“I am humbled to learn from and work alongside other teacher leaders with the common goal of giving every IPS student the opportunity to have an excellent teacher.”
- Hope Amor, IPS teacher leader, recruitment