INDIANAPOLIS — There is a hands-on teacher program in Indy and it's helping fill a teacher shortage here and nationwide.
Now it's expanded from a charter school to the largest school district in Indiana — Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS).
Christel House schools launched IndyTeach, in 2017. It's a one-year apprenticeship program where talented college graduates are paired with a highly skilled teacher for one year in the classroom, in urban education settings.
They start with small group instruction, and co-teaching, and then have a full classroom takeover towards the end of the year.
The IPS partnership started this year, with eight apprentices in three different IPS buildings. IndyTeach apprentices get paid while getting an Indiana state teaching license within one year.
"It was so awesome on the first day of school to walk down the hallway and be like that was an apprentice, that was an apprentice, and see them just doing awesome things with kids," IndyTeach Program Director, Tracy Westerman said. "So for me, it's so fulfilling to watch them, because for some of these people it's been a dream to teach for a very long time and Indy Teach was the path to make that dream come true for them."
As a teacher shortage faces the entire country, Westerman said the apprenticeship proves that there are people who want to teach.
"We had over one-hundred-fifty applications for our program last year. People want to become teachers," Westerman said. "They're just not sure how to get in there and I think Indy Teach fills a need there."
Christel House West teacher, Duane Curry said completing the apprenticeship is an incredible feeling.
"Finally, being able to accomplish that, get that teaching license, one year into the program was a phenomenal feeling," Curry said.
Curry said the one-year apprenticeship is more than enough for those with a passion to become a teacher.
"I felt overly prepared, to be honest. Just because of the opportunities Indy Teach provided within that year,” Curry said.
Curry wants anyone that has considered a career change to teaching to apply for the IndyTeach program.
"Take that leap of faith because now is like the best time to do that because you are very needed, and teachers are very needed."