Schools began using Opportunity Culture models in:
Learn more about the Opportunity Culture initiative in Indianapolis by visiting the district website.
In August 2015, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) became the first district in the country to include Opportunity Culture roles in its teacher 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 offered pay supplements of up to $18,300 for teachers leading teams—35 percent of the district’s average salary. That came on top of a major base pay raise—the first in five years—for teachers across the board. Those pay decisions meant that in 2016–17, for example, a 16-year teacher could 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.
Six IPS schools (four elementary and two secondary schools) began implementing Opportunity Culture in 2016–17, with more joining the initiative in the following years.
In 2017, IPS received an honorable mention on the National Council on Teacher Quality’s list of Great Districts for Great Teachers. “Indianapolis Public Schools is to be commended for creating innovative teacher leadership roles and staffing structures that increase the impact of highly effective teachers,” NCTQ said. “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.”
In 2018, the district had 68 schools serving 26,410 students. Of those students 44 percent were black, 29 percent were Hispanic, 21 percent were white, and 65 percent were eligible for free or reduced lunch.
- Educator Column: No More “Zoo Wallace”: Becoming a Welcoming, Successful School, February 15, 2021, by Jeremy Baugh
- Educator Column: To Support Teachers and Students, Pass House Bill 1008, May 30, 2019, by Jessica Smith
- News: IPS provides opportunity for teachers to grow as Multi-Classroom Leader, December 2018, by Lauren Casey for the Indy Channel
- News: Teachers kept quitting this Indianapolis school. Here’s how the principal got them to stay, May 2018, by Dylan Peers McCoy for Chalkbeat
- News Video: IPS rewarding exceptional teachers, April 11, 2017, for WTHR-TV, Rich Van Wyk shares the positive impact Opportunity Culture is having on teachers and students at Lew Wallace Elementary School (no longer available online).
- News: Indianapolis is experimenting with a new kind of teacher — and it’s transforming this school, February 2017, by Dylan Peers McCoy for Chalkbeat
- News: IPS pilot offers cash to keep great teachers in the classroom while they train peers, February 2016, by Dylan Peers McCoy for Chalkbeat
- Press Release: Indianapolis Public Schools Begin Opportunity Culture Initiative, May 5, 2015, by Public Impact
How Opportunity Culture Helps Schools Retain Teachers
Because of Multi-Classroom Leadership, Principal Jeremy Baugh says, his school has been able to dramatically reduce high teacher turnover rates.
How Opportunity Culture Lives Up to Its Five Principles
Opportunity Culture has done what it says, benefitting students and teachers, Principal Jeremy Baugh says.
Providing Greater Teacher Support Through an Opportunity Culture
Through greater teacher support, student learning grows in an Opportunity Culture, Principal Arthur Hinton says.
Multi-Classroom Leaders Support Teachers and Students
Through Multi-Classroom Leadership, Melissa Wirth can support both teacher and student growth.
Bridging the Gaps Between Teachers and Administrators
MCL Brandon Warren sees his role as advocating for his teaching team with administrators.