Beech Grove City Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura Hammack announced last week the district has received a three-year, $4.8 million federal grant from the federal Teacher and School Leader (TSL) Incentive Program to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness, attract a more diverse group of educators, and improve teaching and learning in all five of the district’s schools. Beech Grove primarily will partner with the nonprofit National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), which is already supporting the district, to better equip teachers, principals, and district leaders through this grant.
The grant was designed to address significant learning gaps, particularly those between different student populations, by improving classroom instruction and building school cultures that support equity, inclusion, and student engagement. About 200 educators and 3,000 students will benefit annually from the funds.
“This is a game-changer for Beech Grove,” said Superintendent Hammack in the press release. “The grant will allow us to invest in our educators in a way that would otherwise not be possible. We will be able to provide leadership opportunities, coaching, and customized training for our teachers based on proven strategies, and that will allow us to accelerate our students’ success and help them achieve their fullest potential. Additionally, we also will be able to grow our population of educators from more diverse backgrounds, which will strengthen our school community and ensure our classrooms are a place where every student feels welcome.”
Beech Grove will partner with NIET to provide support and training for educators, which will build on work that is already underway. NIET is a national nonprofit that has strengthened teaching in high-need schools in Indiana and across the country for more than 20 years, and it will support the district as it establishes teacher leadership roles, strengthens instruction, designs a strategic compensation to better reward great teachers, and increases student success. Additionally, Beech Grove will also expand and improve its grow-your-own program to encourage high school students to become future teachers, as well as strengthen its partnership with Marian University’s Klipsch Educators College to identify and recruit teachers of color.
“Beech Grove holds the potential to make each of their schools a world-class learning environment, and our collaboration with their educators will help them create school environments where students thrive,” said NIET Co-President and Chief Operating Officer Josh Barnett. “We’re excited to partner with them on this opportunity to equip teachers and leaders to meet their students’ needs, especially as we recover from the pandemic.”
NIET will support the school district to align and implement its key strategies in the grant, including strengthening classroom instruction, creating opportunities for teachers to advance in their careers as teacher leaders, providing professional learning for educators during the school day, and designing a strategic compensation plan. “Beech Grove’s educators are working to improve their leadership and innovation and by being part of this partnership, we will be able to push ourselves to the next level,” said Dr. Steve Bair, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “Beech Grove has a strong vision and plan for how to meet the needs of our students, and this support from NIET will help ensure that we meet those needs even more today and in the future.”
District leadership will discuss the grant with the Beech Grove City Schools Board of School Trustees at the next public board meeting and will make presentations in the schools to increase understanding of the grant’s scope and impact. Plans for long-term sustainability are mobilized so that the grant dollars will reap dividends well beyond this initial investment.
The grant partnership will begin this fall.