UIndy School of Education awarded an Attract, Prepare, Retain Grant from the Indiana Department of Education

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced recipients of $10.6 million in grants that will help Indiana schools and community partners support local initiatives to recruit and retain educators in school buildings across the state. The School of Education at the University of Indianapolis was selected as one of IDOE’s partner institutions and received just over $700,000 in funding. The launch of the Attract, Prepare, Retain Scholarship is IDOE’s latest initiative to support talent, quality and value in educators, which is one of the department’s three strategic priorities.

Funding from the grant will allow UIndy to establish and expand the following goals:

  1. Expand dual credit offering for students interested in teacher education.

The university will expand its education-specific offerings for dual credits in local high schools. This expansion will then help the university identify high school juniors and seniors interested in a career in teaching. These interested students will be invited to participate in the Teacher Prep Academy and receive more information on how to earn a degree in Education from UIndy.

  1. Offer a week-long Summer Teacher Prep Academy on UIndy’s campus for high school juniors and seniors who aspire to become teacher educators.

The Teacher Prep Academy offers middle and high school students the opportunity to delve deeper into classroom practice and have opportunities throughout the week to hear from celebrity motivational speakers such as professional athletes from the Indianapolis Colts and the Indiana Teacher of the Year.

  1. Develop a paid training program that gives UIndy teacher training candidates the opportunity to return to their K-12 district to work as a paraprofessional associate while also completing their college field requirements.

The UIndy Teacher Apprenticeship program is open to second and third grade teachers. Selected trainees return to their home school districts to work as teaching assistants, also known as paraprofessionals, while gaining the course experience necessary to earn their degrees. This training not only gives UIndy Education students the opportunity to experience real-world classroom scenarios, but also allows them to give back and empower their community.

  1. Create a positive public image around the Marion County teaching profession through an aggressive and strategic marketing campaign.

To achieve each of these goals, students must have an interest in and practice the teaching profession. The university intends to work with its 11 partner districts in Marion County and surrounding areas to share the positive aspects of teaching. The University believes that teachers’ perceived value of their service influences their willingness to teach and their attitude towards teaching. The university believes it is imperative to share the true impact and benefits of serving as a K-12 educator with high school juniors, seniors, and their families.

dr School of Education Director and Professor Jean Lee is a Math Change Agent for Get the Facts Out, an NSF-funded partnership designed to help improve teacher recruitment and retention, particularly in STEM fields. dr Lee has created Indiana-specific presentations that can be used as a basis for developing the marketing plan.

“I would like to thank the Indiana Department of Education for granting us resource enrollment, preparation and recruitment,” said Dr. John Kuykendall, Dean and Associate Professor of the School of Education. “The scholarship provides the University of Indianapolis School of Education with an exceptional opportunity to attract talented high school students from the Indianapolis area to teacher training. As a School of Education, our faculty, staff and current students are well positioned to provide a transformative experience for our next generation of highly qualified educators. Additionally, we intend to use the funds to encourage a positive narrative around the teaching profession and highlight what a rewarding experience teaching can be for aspirants.”

“Funding from this grant provides the UIndy School of Education with an opportunity to build on great work that is already being done on small or smaller scales,” said Dr. Libby Turner, Director of Early Childhood and Elementary Education. “It also allows us to strengthen our K-12 partnerships as we collectively address teacher shortages. There are so many benefits of being a teacher such as loan forgiveness, scholarships, retirement benefits and of course a self-reported overall job satisfaction. If we can help students and families become more educated about the positive aspects of teaching, we will be able to attract more people to the teaching profession.”

dr Turner explained, “Another exciting aspect is our opportunity to help local school districts turn their own high school students into teachers who want to return to their home districts to educate future students. Teachers returning to their home districts offer a unique understanding of district and local community goals. This knowledge serves as an enrichment that enables them to better respond to the individual needs of the students and to better prepare the students for their future professions. As we work with our partner school districts to create the dual credit opportunities, Summer Teacher Prep Academy and Apprenticeship, we will build strong pipelines. This scholarship will have a positive and lasting impact on the local teaching community and future generations.”