On Dec. 15, Teach Plus Indiana, an organization that helps teachers refine leadership skills, kicked off its Indianapolis Equity Change Agent Network. The two-year program brings together 22 teachers from across Indianapolis’ school districts to focus on improving the culture and climate of schools and the educational experience of Indianapolis’ students.
Funded by the Indianapolis African American Quality of Life Initiative and the Urban League, the IECAN equips educators of color to lead the way in creating more equitable classrooms.
“The goal of the Indianapolis Equity Change Agent Network is to bring together teacher leaders to work on problems of practice using a continuous improvement process rooted in equity,” said Rachel Hathaway, Teach Plus Indiana’s executive director. “We believe teachers, in the daily work they do, are best positioned to lead change and reinvent schools to meet the needs of their students for an equitable education now and in the future.”
Shana Cooper, a fifth-grade math and reading teacher at Brook Park Elementary in Lawrence Township, was selected as a Change Agent. A teacher at the elementary school for two years, Cooper, 24, looks forward to the opportunity.
“The fact that Brook Park has the opportunity to add something to our book for making the school better is so exciting,” Cooper said. “It’s another opportunity for the children here, and we need all the help we can get.”
Cooper plans to “enforce motivation” when it comes to learning, especially in the upper grades of Brook Park.
“Attention to school just doesn’t hit the same as we get older,” Cooper said. “I want to keep (students) motivated up to sixth grade. I want them excited to come to school.”
Part of Cooper’s plan includes creating a reward system where teachers can “hold kids to a higher standard” in testing, big assignments and behavior. Students who perform, behave and test well will receive a reward, such as a goodie bag, extra recess time or a pizza party.
“We’re going to start planning for this in early 2023 so that it can be ready for the next school year,” Cooper said. “I don’t want to rush this. We want to make Brook Park a better school.”
For more, visit teachplus.org.