LARWILL — Whitko Superintendent Dr. Brandon Penrod gave a presentation on “Advancing Educator Effectiveness and Equity at Whitko” during the Whitko School Board meeting, Monday, Feb. 17.
Penrod introduced a new teacher development initiative to the school board. The initiative was made possible through funds provided by the Career Ladders Grant from the State of Indiana. Whitko is a recent recipient of the grant.
With the funds from the Career Ladders Grant, Whitko aims to further teacher leadership and development throughout the school system.
Whitko will work with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, a non-profit organization that specializes in working with school corporations for teacher development, according to Penrod. The school corporation previously worked with NIET in adopting a new teaching standards rubric.
“NIET partners with districts across the state in building instructional focused teacher leadership and career advancement roles that support improvements in teaching and learning,” Penrod said.
NIET works with school corporations based on what the corporation needs. A needs assessment will be conducted by NIET Feb. 26, Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 of this year, according to Penrod. NIET will assess one school each day.
According to Penrod, “NIET is working with teachers and leaders on a variety of fronts already.” A few instances mentioned by Penrod were the aforementioned rubric; strengthening the ability for Whitko’s principals and teacher leaders to coach their peers on instructional excellence, focusing specifically on mentor teachers; support for district-wide systems for teacher and student advancement; and guidance for productive school-based professional learning communities and classroom support.
Through NIET, Whitko will adopt the TAP system, a career guidance program for teachers in high need school systems, developed by NIET.
“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,” said Penrod.
Through the TAP system, Whitko’s teacher evaluation committee will morph into a “guiding coalition,” to oversee teacher development across the district, he said.
The guiding coalitions will include representatives of different sections of Whitko’s teaching staff. Smaller committees will be present at each school in the district as well.
The TAP system also provides growth opportunities for teachers, according to Penrod. This would enhance teacher retention and allow the district to cultivate its own leaders and administrators.
Following the needs-based assessment, Whitko will work to implement the TAP system before the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.
The next regular meeting of the Whitko School Board of Trustees is 6:30 p.m., Monday, Mar. 16. The location has yet to be determined.