—Spencer Lloyd, choir teacher
Five Indiana schools will be under new management this fall after a rocky year in transition. It’s the first time the state has used Public Law 221 to take control of failing schools, so when the Department of Education announced it would intervene, no one knew quite what the process would look like.
Spencer Lloyd, the choir teacher at Manual High School, describes what happened last year as “tumultuous.” He’s one of only a handful of Indianapolis Public School teachers now employed by turnaround operator Charter Schools USA. Sitting in his office, he ticks the others off on his fingers.
“So myself, the band director and the art teacher, we all are returners,” says Lloyd. “And then I know there is an English teacher … and there might only be five of us or so.”
Down the hall, a group of new teachers are in Lloyd’s choir room, receiving training on an online system to share lesson plans. Many of them will teach for first time next year.Lloyd is a young teacher, too, but he’s accomplished a lot in just four years, from packing an auditorium with 3,000 community members for a Christmas concert and taking students to perform at Carnegie Hall. So leaving the program he’d built wasn’t an option.
Teachers who wanted to stay at the three schools CSUSA is operating had to reapply for their jobs. Others found employment elsewhere with IPS.
“IPS still needs outstanding teachers,” Lloyd says. “There are still outstanding teachers in IPS. Many of them.”
In May, IPS announced it would lay off almost 100 teachers due to budget cuts necessitated by a loss of state funding from the four takeover schools.
Principal Says Turning Around High Schools Will Be Harder
CSUSA has a four-year contract with the state but has said improving these schools — Manual, Emma Donnan Middle School and T.C. Howe Community High School — might take even longer. Still, new teachers are optimistic as they report for faculty training.
Most school districts don’t offer three full weeks of professional development. On a recent Thursday, CSUSA employees explained how to reverse engineer lesson plans from the Indiana standards students are expected to master.
Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana permalink
Teachers from the three schools Charter Schools USA will operate next year discuss how to build good curriculum.