Mentoring and retaining young teachers is the goal of a new partnership involving the Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation and the Indiana Department of Education. Eastern Pulaski Superintendent Dan Foster says the DOE is putting together a handbook to help with that effort, and the school corporation has been asked to join in.
“This was a program that they did only with Kokomo schools last year and only four schools in Kokomo,” Foster explains. “So they developed this, and they are broadening it out to the full Kokomo district this year, but she said their idea was to try to find four or five other schools in the state – geographical locations plus the type of school, rural and urban and suburban and trying to find a mix.”
Foster had the chance to discuss the initiative with a representative from the Department of Education earlier this month. Compared to the other schools taking part in the program, Eastern Pulaski has done relatively well at holding onto its teachers, according to Foster. But he wants to make that retention rate even better. “It’s not just competitive for students. It’s competing for teachers now,” he says. “There is a teacher shortage, and if Teacher A can go to a ‘better’ school system and get a few thousand dollars more down the street, we have to compete with that, too. So we want good teachers, but we want to retain them. So how do we make that better?”
Going forward, Foster says there will be one meeting for all the schools taking part in the program, but from that point on, each school will meet individually with DOE representatives.