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IPS Rolls Out Refreshed Proving What’s Possible Website Showcasing Teacher and Staff Stories

As initiative hits its one-year mark, Proving What’s Possible shows promising progress on recruitment, retention and new pathways for talented, diverse candidates to join teamIPS.

Proving What’s Possible is an IPS initiative building new pathways for talented, diverse individuals to join our team, while making sure our excellent staff are supported and growing in their careers.

“Launched in January 2022, we’re excited to mark the first birthday of this new effort by launching a new and enhanced website——that spotlights the stories of our talented IPS teachers and staff, outlines our different pathways into IPS careers, and makes it fast and easy to connect with our recruitment team,” said IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson.

Widespread research shows that all students benefit when taught by a person of color, and that benefit is even greater for students of color. “This new initiative is opening new doors for talented educators to join our team while making sure our current excellent teachers feel supported and can grow in their careers,” added Johnson.

The goals of Proving What’s Possible fall into three buckets and encompass:

  • Increase the number of diverse, talented teachers applying to IPS
  • Support the retention of our current, excellent teachers in the district
  • Showcase how IPS is a great place to work

To reach these goals, Proving What’s Possible is designed to include programmatic offerings—including new career pathways into the district, such as paid residency opportunities for teachers and principals—as well as engagement strategies for candidates to easily learn about IPS and connect with the Talent Team (dedicated website with easy interest form, in-person networking/hiring events, a teacher ambassador program, and more). 

“Just one year in, Proving What’s Possible is building on the momentum and progress that IPS has been seeing in recent years – including steady increases in hired teachers of color, increases in applicants of color, and we’re proud to have recently eliminated the retention gap between all teachers and teachers of color,” said Christina Aden, IPS Chief Human Resources Officer.

  • Teaching hires of Color are on the rise:
    • 2021-2022: 31% of teacher hires identified as a teacher of color
    • 2022-2023: 33% of teacher hires identified as a teacher of color
  • Teaching applicants of Color are on the rise:
    • 2021-2022 hiring season: 38% of applicants identified as a person of color
    • 2022-2023 hiring season: 47%  of applicants identified as a person of color
  • Closing the Diversity Retention Gap: The gap between the retention of all teachers and teachers of color closed during the 2021-2022 school year.

“We are also pleased with the progress of the first cohorts of the new IndyTeach teacher residency program, and the new Principal Residency program – which is the only one of its kind in the state of Indiana,” said Aden. “It is my hope that talented individuals in and around Indianapolis will take another look at IPS – including the authentic and moving teacher stories on the new website – and then join our dynamic team to help prove what’s possible for IPS students and communities.”

Programmatic and staff support developments over the past year include:

  • The inaugural cohort of the IndyTeach Apprenticeship Program is underway with seven teacher apprentices (all of whom identify as people of color) placed at four IPS elementary schools working full-time alongside their assigned Mentors and gradually taking over teaching responsibilities. 

IndyTeach is a completely free and paid, one-year, classroom-embedded teacher preparation program. Apprentices receive a full-time IPS salary and benefits, while completing their state-approved teacher licensure requirements through professional development and microcredential portfolio assignments. Applications for the 2023-24 cohort (approximately 10-12 positions) are open now. Learn more about the 23-24 IndyTeach Apprenticeship and apply by February 15, 2023 to meet the priority application deadline (final deadline is March 31, 2023).

  • The inaugural cohort of IPS’ Principal Residency Program is also underway with four IPS Principal Residents, three of whom identify as people of color. The Residency is a one-year paid position that offers job-embedded coaching and collaborative problem-solving to provide the executive experience and best practices needed to lead successful schools. IPS Principal Residents are placed into IPS schools to serve as full-time members of the school’s leadership team and, as such, have daily opportunities to practice the skills required of school leaders in IPS.  

Additional progress this year includes:

  • In the spring, IPS rolled out bonuses for school-based staff. Given all of the challenges that teachers and staff have had to face since the pandemic began, these funds were specifically intended to bolster staff health and wellness, and the district encouraged staff to use them as such. 
  • Related to staff wellness, IPS also introduced a new partnership with Talkspace to provide free mental health support and therapy to all staff and their families.

The IPS Talent Team also has two major programs in the works:

  • A “grow your own” program to create new, supported pathways into teaching for IPS students who want to pursue a degree in education and then come back to teach in IPS.
  • A teacher flex time initiative to create new, more flexible teaching roles that are more sustainable for a 21st century workplace.

The district is making these areas a priority through Proving What’s Possible, and comprehensive commitments to improve equitable outcomes for students and staff fall at the center of both the 2025 IPS Strategic Plan and the district’s Rebuilding Stronger Plan. 

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