In the latest sign of the convergence between Indianapolis Public Schools and the city’s charter schools, the district is joining with Mayor Joe Hogsett's administration for a campaign to recruit educators to Indianapolis.
A website launched Tuesday aims to attract mid-career teachers from other areas to teach in Indianapolis. The “Teach Indy” website and recruitment campaign is a partnership between the city’s largest district, the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation — which authorizes many of the city’s charter schools—and the Mind Trust, an Indianapolis not-for-profit that has played an integral role in the district’s growing collaboration with charter schools.
It's the newest effort by Indianapolis education leaders to build the pool of teachers at a time when many schools struggle to fill teaching vacancies and rely on temporary educators. Over the past several years, Indiana superintendents have said there is a shortage of available teachers, especially in rural and urban schools, or in certain subjects, such as science, math, and special education.
The state already has several routes for people to become teachers, so the focus of this effort is recruiting more experienced educators to the city, said Jackie Gantzer, director of talent strategy for the Mind Trust.
“Our schools wanted to see an increase in the number of teachers with, particularly, experience in urban education,” Gantzer said.
This year, the primary focus of Teach Indy is the website, www.teachindynow.org, and an advertising campaign. The Mind Trust, which is funding the campaign, is prepared to spend up to $200,000 the first year, Gantzer said. So far, they have spent a fraction of the money, but they expect to spend more on advertising, she added. That will primarily go to digital marketing, such as social media and Google ads.
The website’s pitch to educators is multifaceted. Indianapolis, the website promises, is a city with lots of culture, nice neighborhoods with affordable housing, and great teaching jobs — where educators can transform the lives of students. A sleek video also pitches Indianapolis to educators, featuring several teachers who work in IPS and charter schools.
“Working with our community and district partners, the Teach Indy campaign will enable us to attract and retain talented teachers in our city, ensuring quality education is accessible to youth in our urban core,” said Hogsett in a written statement.
In addition to marketing the city to educators, the website has job listings that may include more than 100 charter and traditional public schools, information on schools, and resources for teachers. The effort is modeled on similar campaigns in cities including Memphis, Denver and Oakland.
“This campaign allows us to continue pursuing the best talent to create better opportunities for our young people, build a thriving community and foster a stronger Indianapolis,” IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said in a statement.
Chalkbeat is a not-for-profit news site covering educational change in public schools.