IPS takes on teacher shortage with innovative recruiting campaign

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Adversaries are now allies in the increasing competition for good teachers.

IPS, charter schools and the mayor's office are taking on the teacher shortage. They are selling the city and its schools to teachers across the country.

This Is Why We Teach is a YouTube video inviting educators shopping for jobs to "come to a community that's coming together, that's working for dedicated teachers."

The Teach Indy campaign promises opportunities teachers aren't likely to find in other major cities.

"I want to get other great teachers to our school and other schools," said Rahul Jyoti. He's the main character and pitchman for the city and its urban schools. In real-life, Jyoti teaches math at the Indianapolis Lighthouse Charter School. He admits great teachers can work anywhere they choose.

"But would you be in a city that is pushing education or would you be in a city that gives you as many opportunities as we are?"

The campaign hammers home the advantages of working in Indianapolis, advantages that don't show up in a paycheck but in the ways teachers work and live.

The video promotes collaboration, innovation and support for teachers.

"That definitely you will not find in all cities, where teachers are all working together," Jyoti said.

The 2.5 minute video also sells Indianapolis as an affordable place to live "with great neighborhoods and fun things to do and a great quality of life."

The Mind Trust spearheaded the campaign. It found teaching jobs that years ago routinely attracted 10 applicants or more are now getting only 2 or 3.

"It becomes even more critical when we look at really high needs subject areas such as math and science and special education," said Jackie Gantzer, The Mind Trust's director of talent strategy.

IPS figures it needs to hire about 200 educators by the start of the 2018-19 school year. Alex Moseman is responsible for hiring them. He has high expectations for the Teach Indy campaign.

"It is going to give us an national landscape to recruit from and really elevate what it means to teach in the city," he said.

Along with the feel-good video showing students, teachers, city neighborhoods and streetscapes, there's a new website.

Job-hunting teachers can check out the city, all the participating schools, the open jobs and even how to obtain an Indiana teacher's license. It's one-stop shopping for teachers in the market for jobs.