Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is the first district in the country to include Opportunity Culture roles in the new teachers contract, ratified by 93 percent of the Indianapolis Education Association members and approved in a 6–0 vote of the IPS Board of School Commissioners. The contract offers pay supplements of up to $18,300 for teachers leading teams—35 percent of the district’s average salary. That comes on top of a major base pay raise—the first in five years—for teachers across the board. Those pay decisions mean that in 2016–17, for example, a 16-year teacher will be able to earn $77,700 by taking on the highest-paid Opportunity Culture role, which involves leading a team of four to six teachers.
The contract includes multiple Opportunity Culture roles, with the highest pay for multi-classroom leaders, who continue to teach while leading a team. In IPS, an MCL who leads a team of one teacher and a paraprofessional known as a reach associate will earn a $6,800 stipend. MCLs who lead a team of two to three teachers and a reach associate will earn an $11,400 stipend. Those leading a team of four to six teachers and two reach associates will earn $18,300 stipends.
All teachers teaching on an MCL-led team will earn $1,300 supplements, if the school can afford to do this for each team in the school.
The contract also includes $6,800 supplements for “expanded-impact teachers,” great teachers who extend their reach to at least 33 percent more students with paraprofessional support, but who do not lead teams.
A team of teachers and administrators at each school decides how to redo schedules and reallocate money to fund pay supplements permanently, in contrast to temporarily grant-funded programs. Opportunity Culture schools in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) are expected to reallocate funds primarily from vacant positions to fund the supplements.
Six IPS schools (four elementary and two secondary schools) began implementing Opportunity Culture in 2016–17. Nine more schools (seven elementary and two secondary) joined in 2017–18, with more schools working on the design stage for implementation in the 2018–19 school year.
The changes are part of an ambitious strategic plan for the district, under the leadership of Superintendent Lewis Ferebee. “We’re delighted to give our schools the opportunity to give all teachers the support, on-the-job learning, leadership opportunities, and higher pay they deserve,” Ferebee said. “I want all students to benefit from excellent teaching.”
In 2017, IPS received honorable mention on the National Council on Teacher Quality’s list of Great Districts for Great Teachers. NCTQ said “Indianapolis Public Schools is to be commended for creating innovative teacher leadership roles and staffing structures that increase the impact of highly effective teachers. Through the district’s Opportunity Culture initiative, teachers can take on leadership roles that allow them to work with other teachers while maintaining a classroom presence. These teacher leaders can earn up to $18,300 more than their base salary.”
For more information on the IPS teachers union contract, read the full press release here.
For more information on IPS piloting Opportunity Culture models, read our press release here.
For information about current Opportunity Culture job openings in IPS, see here.
Read more about Opportunity Culture in IPS in these articles from Chalkbeat:
Teachers kept quitting this Indianapolis school. Here’s how the principal got them to stay, May 9, 2018 by Dylan Peers McCoy
Indianapolis is experimenting with a new kind of teacher — and it’s transforming this school, February 16, 2017 by Dylan Peers McCoy
IPS pilot offers cash to keep great teachers in the classroom while they train peers, February 17, 2016 by Dylan Peers McCoy
Watch a video about the positive impact Opportunity Culture is having on teachers and students at Lew Wallace Elementary School:
IPS rewarding exceptional teachers, April 11, 2017 by Rich Van Wyk of WTHR-TV