TeachPlus unveiled its report examining how frequently new teachers are forced to change schools against their will at a meeting on Monday at WFYI. (TeachPlus)
When Alyssa Starinsky was called to the principal's two years ago at Shortridge High School, she thought she might be in line for an honor.
Two years in a row, in fact, the classes she taught had posted among the highest test score growth of any of their peers in Indianapolis Public Schools; a student group she moderated was a two-time national award winner; and everyone at the school was buzzing about an upcoming Teacher of the Year announcement.
But instead of an award, the assistant principal handed a letter telling her she was being fired — not for performance but because the district expected to need fewer teachers the next year.
"I read it three times and I was crying uncontrollably," Starinsky said. "You know when you're a teacher, kids come to school for you and you come for them. You are working as hard as you can for them to achieve. I didn't know how to tell my kids, with a month and a half left, that I wasn't coming back."
IPS didn't have to lose her. They eventually tried to hire her back, but it was too late.
Starinsky did continue teaching. She kept her move quiet until the end of the school year and now she's at Carpe Diem, an Indianapolis charter school. But this sort of forced move — school changes that teachers don't want to make and that are not based on performance — are common and disruptive, both to the teachers and to the learning of their students, a new report states.
"I'm a statistic," Starinsky said. "I'm in the majority, not the minority, of teachers who are moved involuntarily. It's heartbreaking."