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IPS teacher, student mentoring program aims to retain educators

Posted: 7:52 PM, Apr 17, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-18 16:58:59Z

INDIANAPOLIS – Amid the proposal to close three of the district’s seven high schools, IPS is offering a new program to teachers interested in mentoring other educators and students.

IPS administrators said the goal of Opportunity Culture is to improve teaching effectiveness while retaining teachers. This is the first full school year of the program in action.

Kellie Brotherton acts as a multi-classroom teacher at Lew Wallace School 107 where she rotates grade and subject levels based on the needs of the day. Teachers like Brotherton receive extra pay, up to $18,000, for participating as a leader in the program.

"The goal is to get our kids on grade level so that they can continue to be successful in each grade that they go up to, then, of course, being successful functioning citizens when they've had their education with IPS,” said Brotherton.

One of the biggest challenges at School 107 is communication, as nearly 600 students speak 24 different languages. Teachers said they often struggle to teach due to language barriers.

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“It's good to see their growth and their progress because they do learn, but it's kind of hard at first,” said Angela Spencer, second grade teacher at School 107.

Brotherton steps in to help guide teachers in the classroom and provides feedback from her observations.

"She can coach me, she helps me, she works with me, we work together, we plan together, she helps look at our data where there's growth and where we need to help these kids,” said Spencer.

In just three months, the number of students prepared for second grade increased from 50 percent to 85 percent. IPS officials believe this is the result of Opportunity Culture.

The program was recently recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality.