NIET partnerships in Whitko Community Schools, Muncie Community Schools, and MSD of Martinsville have earned $1.25 million collectively in new Indiana Career Ladder grants from the state department of education. Funds will support the implementation of NIET's TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement, which creates structures in schools for teacher leadership, job-embedded professional development, regular observations and feedback, and performance-based compensation – all to strengthen instruction and improve student achievement.
The grant amounts – $468,250 for Whitko, $462,750 for Muncie, and $319,640 for MSD of Martinsville – represent the three largest grants in the cohort and will be allotted over a three-year period.
"Our work in Indiana and across the country has shown that when you give opportunities for teachers to develop as leaders and coach their peers, schools thrive," said NIET CEO Dr. Candice McQueen. "Student learning improves, educators want to stay in the profession, and principals grow as instructional leaders – all from investing in teachers' development. We look forward to building on our partnerships with Whitko, Muncie, and MSD of Martinsville as they lead in this important area of work."
In the TAP System, schools form leadership teams made up of master and mentor teachers, who, along with administrators, drive instruction. They look at data to set goals and develop strategies that address specific needs of faculty and students. Teacher leaders organize weekly professional development to provide support to faculty and follow up regularly with individual coaching in classrooms.
TAP's teacher leadership opportunities and professional development are complemented by meaningful systems of educator evaluation, feedback, and support. In addition, a compensation system rewards educators for taking on additional responsibilities and/or demonstrating growth in student performance.
About Whitko Community Schools
Whitko Community Schools serves approximately 1,300 students across Whitley and Kosciusko counties, located in northeast Indiana. Whitko selected NIET's rubric as an instructional framework to align its education programs, new curriculum, authentic assessments, and differentiated instruction – core elements essential to achieving Whitko's vision of "Excellence for All" students. The TAP leadership teams will guide each school to establish a clear, step-by-step plan to reach academic goals, monitor progress, and use knowledge and resources to adjust course as necessary.
About Muncie Community Schools
Muncie Community Schools (MCS) serves a diverse student population of 5,000 in Delaware County, located northeast of Indianapolis. The district, in partnership with Ball State University, created goals focused on continuous improvement, effective classroom instruction, and student growth and achievement. MCS selected NIET as a partner to put teacher leadership and support systems in place to improve student literacy, improve students' math performance with a STEM focus, help students prepare for success in college and career, improve student social-emotional learning, and increase student enrollment. TAP implementation will occur in the elementary and middle schools, with best practices to be leveraged districtwide.
About MSD of Martinsville
MSD of Martinsville, a rural district in Morgan County between Indianapolis and Bloomington, has 4,300 students across 10 elementary, middle, and high schools. The district will implement TAP to build the capacity of their faculty in each school, fine-tune professional development, and tailor follow-up support to address state standards and instructional needs. TAP will be gradually phased into the schools, with full implementation scheduled to roll out in year three.
About the Indiana Department of Education Career Ladder Program
The Career Ladder grant program was approved through Indiana House Enrolled Act No. 1008 in 2019 to offer high-performing teachers opportunities to advance in their careers and ensure that more students have exposure to highly effective teachers. More information can be found on the Indiana Department of Education website.
About NIET's Work in Indiana
NIET has had long-standing partnerships in Indiana for more than a decade, impacting 4,000 teachers and 59,000 students. Additionally, NIET works with Marian University's Klipsch Educators College to improve training for new teachers and place candidates in high-need schools. For more information, visit the NIET website.