Passionate teachers inspire change. They challenge, mentor, and have a passion for instilling hope in the future. In our asset-based community development approach, teachers are without doubt among a school, neighborhood, and city’s most important assets. They are civil servants who give far more than they receive, renowned for making an impact inside and outside their classrooms.
In an effort to give back to those who shape our future leaders, NEAR is developing an Educators’ Village to support Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) educators, families, and the Near Eastside at-large. As NEAR’s executive director, John Franklin Hay, told Fox 59 “Teachers bring civic value to a community. Teachers get it. Teachers get neighborhoods. Teachers get involvement and engagement.”
In recent years, NEAR has made a measurable impact on the St. Clair Place community. With the support of countless neighbors and partners, the development of our first 100 affordable homes has helped to renew the area in many ways. New residents have come in, while old residents have stayed; new grocery stores and small businesses have opened, while existing ones have continued to succeed. Education in St. Clair Place, however, has not yet recovered at the same rate.
Despite a large and diverse number of traditional and magnet options from IPS nearby (7 schools within a mile radius of the neighborhood), Near Eastside schools still face negative perceptions, shrinking budgets, and high turnover. IPS loses around 300 teachers per year with access to affordable housing a key contributor. This low retention rate only adds to the challenges of school—and student—performance.
NEAR sees the Educators’ Village as an opportunity to improve both student life and teacher retention by providing affordable housing to IPS educators.
This development will create an extra incentive for teachers to remain in the district. Furthermore, being a part of this revitalizing neighborhood will provide them with an opportunity to own a home and further invest in the community in which they live and work. Living near their students will allow educators a chance to further strengthen bonds and understanding with the next generation.
Located on the 800-900 block of North Rural Street, the Educator’s Village will be a close-knit community comprised of 20-25 brightly-colored, bungalow-style homes— and will be available to IPS teachers in their first-, second-, or third-year. Homes are expected to be completed May 2018, and will enter the market starting at $130,000.
It’s all part of our mission to develop community as we create great places for neighbors. Passionate teachers inspire change. Let’s make sure our neighborhood hangs on to them.