Partners since 2010, NIET and Perry Township Schools welcomed several education leaders from Brown County, Beech Grove, Goshen, Decatur Township, Whitley/Kosciusko counties, and even the University of Indianapolis to discuss how teacher leaders are a critical component of student achievement. Supt. Pat Mapes, Assist. Supt. for foundational learning Vickie Carpenter, and Assist. Supt. for career preparation, who lead schools in educating 16,700 diverse students, described the strategy involved in meeting the needs of our scholars:
1. Develop formal school-based teacher leadership positions.
2. Coordinate weekly collaborative professional learning tailored
to the needs of teachers and students.
3. Provide an instructional rubric and training on best classroom
4. Create a culture of continuous improvement through regular
coaching and feedback.
Led in discussion by NIET chairman and founder Lowell Milken and CEO Candice McQueen, superintendents and other leaders reflected on what it means to prioritize a strong focus on instruction which involves thinking strategically about funding, as well as communicating continuously with internal and external stakeholders. Some of the visiting representatives are in the early stages of implementing the NIET framework to build a better teaching environment for educators and a better learning environment for students. Our leaders were able to reassure them to trust the process. In fact, they recalled how our veteran teachers -- with 30 to 40 years of experience -- have remarked that they are receiving the best professional development of their lives.
In addition to providing specialized development to our existing teachers, we also value relationships with partners like Marian University which prepares student-teachers by instructing them with the same NIET principles that shape our curriculum. Teacher candidates who graduate from NIET-supported programs will enter our classrooms well-prepared to work with students and are often comparable to a second- or third-year teacher. When they arrive in our classrooms, they are also accustomed to our specific coaching style that isn’t taught in other programs.
Following the roundtable discussion, NIET leaders visited Southport High where they met students and watched our excellent educators in action. With the support of NIET, we are able to continue our focus of empowering students to grow academically, socially, and behaviorally.