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Cultivating Inclusion on Campus and in Classrooms Teaching to the Choir

Inside the Newcomer School

Creating strong connections with the local Catholic school community

Helping immigrant students prepare for a new life in America

City Connects How the innovative Boston-based nonprofit is changing student lives in Indianapolis

Greetings from Marian University’s Fred S. Klipsch Educators College. We are proud to share the Winter 2020 issue of the Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Magazine as we continue to transform current and future educators. The amazing support from the community strengthens our resolve to recruit and develop highly talented and passionate individuals. Additionally, working with our partner schools and engaging community organizations throughout the state and region has been an amazing journey. Our expanded partnerships have helped bolster a national footprint for the innovative and positive change occurring in the education program at Marian University.


“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

MARK 10:45

We hope you enjoy this issue of the Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Magazine. Inside, we focus on inclusion and its impact on the profession of education. You’ll read about the local Catholic school landscape, our commitment to Catholic educators, and the large number of Klipsch Educators College students training in clinical experiences at those and other schools. You’ll also learn about City Connects, a partnership with Boston College that builds a network of support for students, their families, and the schools that serve them. We also visit with the innovative Newcomer School to cover an entire program built to educate immigrants to the United States. Finally, you’ll read about the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) and the recent visit by Lowell Milken and how his TAP Rubric has improved education throughout the United States. It is with great pleasure that I have been given the opportunity to work with my colleagues to inspire others and develop them into exceptional educators. Without our network of friends, families, partners, and educators, we could not achieve the amazing results we’ve seen. You are our brand ambassadors, and your love and support carries us into the future. Please continue to pray for us, for our educators in training, and for the students we ultimately serve. Yours in service,

Kenith C. Britt, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Dean Fred S. Klipsch Educators College



CITY CONNECTS: How a Boston-based nonprofit is impacting student lives in Indianapolis

16 The Newcomer School: A powerful program that prepares young immigrants for life in America


Erynne Pope, special education PK-12 major with a minor in psychology.

Fred S. Klipsch Educators College


Marian University’s Fred S. Klipsch Educators College will be the nation’s leader in talent development and support for PK-12 schools as evidenced by increased student outcomes.

02 A conversation with philanthropist and education activist Lowell Milken

08 Teaching to the Choir: Creating strong ties with local Catholic schools



Cultivating Inclusion: How Marian is improving diversity and inclusion in American classrooms


Why the Walton Family Foundation is investing in Klipsch Educators College


Micayla Watroba’s inspiring journey to a career in the classroom


Fundraising, enrollment numbers, and more

WH AT M A KE S O UR PRO GR A M S D I S T I N C T I V E ? UNDERGRADUATE • Classroom-ready individuals on day one • Early classroom immersion and intensive field experience • High-demand content area certifications • Study abroad opportunities • State-of-the-art simulation laboratory experience • A paid, yearlong clinical residency • Master teacher mentorship during residency • Scholarships available • Combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees

GRADUATE • Licensure or Master of Arts in Educational Leadership • Online or traditional Master of Arts in Teaching • Transition to Teaching license • Master’s Bridge to Teaching • Advanced degree in special education DOCTORATE • Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership­

To learn more about our programs, visit

Q and A

RECOGNIZING TEACHERS. REIMAGINING EDUCATION. A Conversation with Philanthropist Lowell Milken

Lowell Milken visits with students from Solano Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles, California.

Lowell Milken is on a mission to transform American K-12 education. And it all starts, he says, with teachers. Businessman and philanthropist Lowell Milken has dedicated the past 35 years of his life to improving education in America. Why? “My parents instilled in me the importance of serving others,” Milken said. “And if the goal is to serve others in a way that enables people to help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives, then there is no means more powerful to do so than education.” In 1987, Milken launched the Milken Educator Awards—by far the largest teacher recognition program in the country—to publicly recognize and honor outstanding teachers with a $25,000 award annually. Among other education initiatives, Milken developed TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement in 1999, and founded the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) to support and manage the TAP system nationally. For those reasons and more, Milken’s reputation looms large over the education reform movement in America. So it was an honor when he visited the Fred S. Klipsch Educators College last fall to deliver the keynote address for the Marian University Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership Program’s 10th anniversary. Here, Milken reflects on his visit to Marian University, the heroism of teachers, and why human capital is our most precious natural resource. Your appearance at Klipsch Educators College last fall was your first time visiting Marian. What was your general impression? It was impressive to see firsthand your commitment to leadership and bold reform in American K-12 education. I was also impressed with the knowledge and experiences of President Elsener in K-12 education. It’s rare to find a university president as well-informed and passionate in terms of what needs to be done to improve American K-12 education. In your keynote address, you said “authentic educator leadership” is “plain heroic.” Why so? It takes a particular kind of individual to tackle the formidable challenges facing the American education system. It requires a certain kind of energy and talent, plus the courage and willingness to do things differently—to risk more, and to be held more accountable. I consider this commitment and dedication to be a heroic action, and that’s why I used the term.

Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Magazine | WINTER 2020 | 3

“The Fred S. Klipsch Educators College has given me real-world experience in the field from the beginning by doing instructional rounds, clinical experiences, and working alongside educators. I’m learning not only how to be a teacher and leader, but to make the world my classroom.” Jennifer Huerta ’23, double major in Spanish and PK-12 education, minor in English as a New Language.

While at Marian you visited the teaching simulation lab, where students practice in front of computerized “avatars” while instructors provide feedback using your TAP system. What was it like to see TAP used with AI-powered tools? I said “Wow!” And that’s “wow” with an exclamation point. It is thrilling to see how pre-service teachers are able to develop their skills in terms of instruction and classroom management while receiving important feedback. As a result of seeing that demonstration, we are in discussions at NIET on how we might use these tools within schools today to drive and improve teacher practices and evaluations. It was a most productive opportunity. Can you share a little about the history of the TAP model, and why it was needed? I first introduced TAP in 1999 with the goal of making teacher effectiveness the cornerstone of effective K-12 education reform and to put on the ground a comprehensive system that would transform this goal from an idea into a reality. TAP was constructed to provide powerful opportunities for career advancement, professional growth, and competitive compensation, the very opportunities that for centuries have attracted 4 |

talented and creative people to other professions, motivating them, giving them satisfaction, and enabling them to excel. These same opportunities must be provided to K-12 educators to attract, develop, retain, and motivate the best talent to the teaching profession. How does it feel to see a university like Marian embrace the system so strongly? It’s rewarding to see firsthand the impact Marian is having as each year they prepare individuals to take leadership positions in districts and schools throughout the nation—particularly in high-need schools. We are gratified to witness high-stature institutions, like the Klipsch Educators College value and embrace the TAP teaching standards as a core of teacher pre-service education. You’ve earned fame for the Milken Educator Awards, which has given $70 million in awards to educators across the United States. What kind of measurable impact have you been able to make with the award? While the financial award attracts media attention and is much appreciated by the recipients, it is not the focus of the Milken Educator Awards program. Recipients join a national network of exemplary educators from every setting in the country

and have opportunities to further their own professional growth, as well as contribute to the professional growth of their colleagues. Over the years, many educators have taken on new roles and responsibilities, becoming state superintendents, district superintendents, and curricula and professional development specialists. All in all, it has been incredibly impactful for the recipients, the communities in which they teach, and the students who witness the surprise notification ceremony. You have said that the world’s most precious resource is human capital. What does that mean, exactly?

Human capital is the talent and potential of people. It encompasses an individual’s skills, knowledge, and experiences. Decades of personal experience in business and philanthropy have proven to me that high-quality human capital is the decisive factor in every endeavor. In K-12 education, developing the human potential of teachers is the most important in-school element in developing the potential of students. What role do you see education schools like Klipsch Educators College playing in the effort to improve outcomes in United States schools? Historically, many schools of education have not prepared their students for the realities of today’s classrooms. As a result, new teachers often feel overwhelmed when they enter the classroom. Little wonder statistics show that nearly half of all teachers leave the profession within the first five years. Schools of education have an enormous opportunity to make a difference, but they need to be progressive in their thinking. Klipsch Educators College understands the need to prepare teachers so they can be successful from day one. It approaches teaching as a profession that is to be respected and valued. I hope that other institutions will mirror the approach Marian has taken. ■




You entered the Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership program two decades into your career. Why did you finally take the leap?

For years, people had encouraged me to go into administration. They obviously saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. So I put it off. When I finally started considering it, I had a death in my family, and it was my son. It wasn’t until later, when I became an instructional coach, that I finally thought, “This is my time.” When did you realize Marian University was the right fit for you?

During the interview process. They helped me see my value. That’s not something that normally happens during an interview experience. You’re usually left wondering, and questioning, and kicking yourself. But it wasn’t like that. They gave me the belief that I was born to do this. You are now an assistant principal at Arsenal Tech. The program obviously benefitted you professionally. How did it help you personally?

We had a class on transformational leadership. At the beginning of the semester, we were asked a question and given months to work on it. I delayed it and didn’t really think about why. When I finally got around to it, I realized that I’d delayed it because it required me to look into myself and let go of a lot of the pain that I had been carrying. And once I did, everything changed. My professor, Dr. Jeff Kaufman, said, “You’ve gone through what we call the ‘hero’s journey.’” I was able to tap into the beauty that was in my heart and release the pain I’d been carrying. Because of that, I can now really support the people I’m around and help them grow. As we used to say at Marian, I can be the best version of myself. Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Magazine | WINTER 2020 | 5


Cathi Cornelius, Ed.D., associate professor, elementary education.

Cultivating Inclusion

ON CAMPUS AND IN CLASSROOMS How Fred S. Klipsch Educators College is leading the way in addressing diversity and inclusion in American classrooms

The racial achievement gap in American schools is well documented. According to The Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University, the difference in standardized test scores between white and black students is roughly two years of schooling. The gap between white and Latino students is nearly as large. Poverty and access to high-quality schools play significant roles in this gap. But teacher diversity is also a major factor. Studies have shown that students of color perform better when taught by teachers of color. But, as of 2016, only 8.6 percent of the Indiana teaching force was non-white.1 Meanwhile, students of color are expected to make up 56 percent of the student population by 2024.2 Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Education Professor Cathi Cornelius, Ed.D. addresses the problem bluntly: “We need more teachers of color in our teaching force.”

INCREASING DIVERSITY EXPONENTIALLY Cornelius—who is Native American and AfricanAmerican—has led several diversity efforts since arriving at Marian University in 2001. She served as the faculty advisor for the Union of Black Identity student group, and teaches courses in culturally responsive pedagogy. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion are just part of who I am,” she said. Still, in Cornelius’ first 15 years, the diversity of teacher candidates at Marian was problematically low. Then, in 2016, a switch flipped. Dean Kenith Britt, Ph.D. spearheaded a loan forgiveness program for teacher candidates of color. Leon Jackson, Ph.D., who leads student recruitment, redoubled his efforts to attract African-American and Latino students. Three years later, Klipsch Educators College increased its percentage of teacher candidates of color from 6 percent to 33 percent—currently the highest percentage in the state. “They’ve put their money where their mouth is,” Cornelius said. “We’ve been able to not only recruit, but retain more students of color.” Still, most students drawn to the teaching profession are white and middle class. Which is why, Cornelius says, it’s critical to equip them to be culturally responsive.

Cornelius says it’s about recognizing and overcoming the “myths, lies, and stereotypes” that lead individuals to unconsciously dismiss, judge, or ignore those who are different from them.

‘NO GREAT DIVIDE’ Becoming culturally responsive isn’t a simple matter of passing a test. “It’s not like you can put a cultural jacket on,” Cornelius said. “You can be an expert in the subject matter, but if you can’t connect with the kids and the community that you are serving, it’s going to be an uphill battle.” To that end, Klipsch Educators College requires students to take a six-course sequence that extends their entire college career. Allison Segarra, who co-developed and co-teaches the Culturally Responsive Pedagogy sequence with Dr. Cornelius, says that “every course is focused on a different part of a student’s development as a culturally responsive educator.” Segarra, director of clinical experiences for Klipsch Educators College, also identifies community partners for service learning opportunities. One partner is School on Wheels, a nonprofit that provides education to people experiencing homelessness. As part of a course called Critical Service Learning I: Dignity of the Individual, students tutor children experiencing homelessness. “Once you Allison Segarra have a significant relationship with these students, you start understanding them,” Cornelius said. “You no longer blame the kids—whereas teachers who aren’t culturally responsive often do.” Becoming culturally responsive, Cornelius says, “changes who you are.” “It changes the way you understand the world. There is no longer a ‘great divide.’ We are one large community. When teachers start thinking that way, they start working with communities the right way.” ■ 1 2

Indiana Commission for Higher Education National Center for Education

What does that mean, exactly? Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Magazine | WINTER 2020 | 7


Klipsch Educators College teacher candidate Alexa Johnson, in clinical experience at Saint Lawrence School.

Teaching Choir TO THE

Since launching in 2017, the Fred S. Klipsch Educators College has seriously stepped up its efforts to support Catholic education in Central Indiana. Just ask these schools. The Fred S. Klipsch Educators College launched in 2017 with the goal of elevating the teaching profession on a national scale. But it has also ramped up its support of the Catholic schools in its own backyard.

Kurt Nelson, Ph.D., director of Catholic school programs for Klipsch Educators College.

At the forefront of these efforts is Kurt Nelson, Ph.D., director of Catholic school programs for Klipsch Educators College, who has led an impressive campaign to connect more meaningfully with local Catholic schools. Meanwhile, Allison Segarra, director of clinical experiences, has intentionally sought to place Marian University students in Catholic institutions—many of which feature Marian alumni in both leadership and teaching roles. Here are two Catholic schools where Marian is making its presence felt, in the classroom and beyond.

Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Magazine | WINTER 2020 | 9


5000 Nowland Avenue, Indianapolis ESTABLISHED: 1953 GRADES SERVED: 9-12 BACKGROUND:

The school is named for Thomas Scecina, a local priest who was killed in World War II. With more than 80 percent of its students participating in Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) sports, its motto is “Give a little extra.” FRED S. KLIPSCH EDUCATORS COLLEGE CONNECTIONS:

• Numerous Marian University alumni are on the Scecina Memorial staff. Among them is interim principal David Dellacca, who is currently enrolled in the Klipsch Educators College Building Level Administrator program. • Klipsch Educators College regularly sends education students to Scecina for clinical experiences—including two students in the 2019 fall semester.


On why he chose the Marian Building Level Administrator program: “Scecina has a long tradition of

being a Franciscan value-based school, and Marian’s Oldenburg connection made me feel good about it. I feel strongly about the culture of Scecina, and supporting it is important to me.”

On the value of a Catholic university in Indy: “It’s important. It gives graduates who want to remain in

the area access to a quality Catholic education. Marian has high academic expectations, quality faculty, and strong values in place in terms of continuing your faith journey.”

On Klipsch Educators College’s Catholic School Educator Preparation Program: “From a staffing

perspective, when you can identify candidates who are prepared in terms of the subject matter and core Catholic values, it’s a no-brainer. You know that their decision-making will be rooted in the Catholic faith.”

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Opposite page: Klipsch Educators College teacher candidate Eleanor Haydock, in clinical experience. Above: Jesse Purvis, MA ’18, assistant principal. Peyton Egan, Klipsch Educators College teacher candidate in clinical experience.


6950 E. 46th Street, Indianapolis



Like Marian University, Saint Lawrence Catholic School was founded by the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana. With students of color making up 90 percent of its population, it is one of the most diverse Catholic schools in the city.

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Klipsch Educators College teacher candidates at Saint Lawrence Catholic School. Left: Autumn Wert. Right: Ayla Nash.


• In Fall 2019, all 23 Klipsch Educators College students enrolled in Math for Elementary Teachers (MAT 115) participated in clinical experiences at Saint Lawrence. PRINCIPAL QUOTES :: SARAH JEAN WATSON:

On Klipsch Educators College students placed at Saint Lawrence: “It’s a win-win for both Marian and

our school. Marian students are learning a lot about themselves and teaching, and our own students are learning a lot through some great instructional methods.”

On Klipsch Educators College’s engagement of local Catholic schools: “Our resources are strapped, so

the opportunity to partner with Marian is huge. And I am anticipating a lot of connections being made so that when their students graduate, they will have a leg up.”

On the enduring value of Catholic schools: “When public schools started to focus just on academics,

Catholic schools were there to continue to educate the whole child. Our goal is to make saints out of every student we teach and every parent we encounter.”

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WALTON FAMILY FOUNDATION Why one of America’s largest philanthropic groups is investing in one of the Midwest’s most innovative universities1

“A great education begins with a great teacher.” Alice Walton, one of America’s foremost education philanthropists, wrote these words in an open letter on the Walton Family Foundation’s website earlier this year. It continues: “Now more than ever, it is important to support our nation’s teachers by addressing today’s challenges and investing in the teachers of tomorrow. This means supporting efforts to make the field more rewarding for teachers, offering career advancement without leaving what they love: the classroom. This means attracting and retaining more teachers and leaders of color at the school and system levels.” In nearly every way, Walton’s vision for the future of K-12 education aligns with that of Marian University’s own leaders. So when Marian President Daniel J. Elsener began working with Dr. Kenith Britt and Indiana State Representative Robert Behning to radically revamp Marian’s education college in 2016, the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) took notice.

resonated with us,” she said. “They were willing to try something new, and develop new methods and programs to benefit kids.” WFF and Marian were also aligned on the importance of teacher diversity. “In urban settings, teachers do not reflect the student population they are serving,” Bray said. To address that gap, WFF recently invested $1.8 million to support the training of more than 230 diverse teachers at universities throughout the country, including Marian. The funds will help Marian continue its loan forgiveness program, which has already helped the Fred S. Klipsch Educators College enroll more students of color per capita than any education college in Indiana.

Ahead of the Curve Before the launch of Klipsch Educators College, few likely expected a small midwestern Catholic university to become a leading innovator in teacher education. But according to Bray, that’s exactly what happened. “Marian is small but mighty,” she said. “They are really ahead of the curve when it comes to teacher education.” To make her point, Bray describes the first time she saw the Klipsch Educators College simulation lab in action. Freshmen were teaching AI-powered student avatars on a large screen while receiving real-time feedback from a master teacher. “It was incredibly cool,” she said. “These students were getting such deep and meaningful instruction in their first semester. When you think about what their experience will be like once they’re 10 semesters in, it’s really powerful.” Powerful indeed. And a perfect example of why an organization that believes “a great education starts with a great teacher” is one of Klipsch Educators College’s most committed supporters. ■


“They had a vision,” Beth Bray, WFF Indianapolis program officer, said. “They wanted to make the teacher preparation experience more hands-on and residency-based. It was very exciting.” According to Bray, WFF leaders were especially impressed by the commitment to deep research and the genuine desire to innovate from Elsener, Britt, and Behning. Citing the team’s fact-finding visits to global education leaders like Switzerland, China, and South Korea, as well as recruitment strategies that borrow from the world of college sports, Bray said Marian was clearly serious about doing things differently. “That

Investing in Innovation



$2.1 million



2020 Most Innovative Schools, Regional Universities Midwest

Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Magazine | WINTER 2020 | 13

Asha Quattrocchi, City Connects site coordinator, Cold Spring School, Indianapolis.



POWER OF CONNECTION The biggest obstacles to academic success often lie outside the classroom. With City Connects, the Fred S. Klipsch Educators College is tackling those obstacles with a powerful system pioneered in Boston.

In early 2018, Asha Quattrocchi was looking for “something a little different” for her next career move. That summer, the former school teacher and guidance counselor found it. Quattrocchi joined Marian University to work for City Connects, a Boston-based nonprofit that leverages in-school and community resources to help students overcome out-of-school factors that limit academic success. Quattrocchi was tasked with rolling out the program at Cold Spring School at Marian University—an A-rated, STEM-certified Indianapolis Public Innovation School serving an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse population of K-6 students. “In my past roles, it was difficult to find the time or resources to meet every child’s needs,” Quattrocchi said. “Now I’m in a position to fill those gaps.”

TACKLING AN ALARMING TREND In the 1990s, the Boston College Lynch School of Education took a close look at the city’s public schools and noticed an alarming trend: “out-ofschool” factors were significantly limiting students’ ability to succeed. To counter the trend, Boston College founded City Connects in 1999, implementing it in Boston public schools in 2001. The program proved so successful that it was soon introduced to several additional cities—including Springfield, Ohio, where current Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Dean Dr. Kenith Britt was serving as president of Catholic Central School. Dr. Britt saw City Connects’ impact firsthand. “Comprehensive student support is a game-changer, and no one does it better than City Connects,” he said. Recent research shows that City Connects leads to higher test scores, lower drop-out rates, and an increased likelihood of college graduation. It also returns $11 for every $1 spent on the program. For all of these reasons, Dr. Britt reached out to City Connects about a potential partnership in 2017. City Connects Executive Director Mary Walsh says Marian was the ideal partner to bring City Connects to Indianapolis. “The support and encouragement offered by Dr. Ken Britt and Representative Bob Behning have been critical,” she said. “Their commitment to improving lifetime outcomes for students matches the values we embrace and has helped create the foundation for a successful partnership.”

MONUMENTAL CHALLENGES At its core, City Connects is a program that helps students overcome challenges beyond their control. Some of those challenges—poverty, homelessness, hunger, mental illness—are monumental in nature. It’s fitting, then, that Dean Peterson is the City Connects program manager. As the former head coach of Marian’s historically successful cycling team, Peterson has a long history of preparing studentathletes for seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Dean Peterson

Prior to his role with the Marian cycling team, Peterson spent 16 years teaching at The Orchard School. As a seasoned educator, Peterson appreciates City Connects’ focus on four developmental domains: academic, social/emotional, health, and family. “City Connects addresses students’ needs better than anyone in terms of understanding a child not only academically, but also socially,” he said.

EVERY SINGLE STUDENT As City Connects site coordinator, Asha Quattrocchi starts each school year by meeting with every teacher at Cold Spring School. “We talk about every student,” she said. “We talk about student needs, but also about their strengths.” Then Quattrochi creates individualized plans for every student in the school. Once student needs are identified, Quattrochi starts making connections with local organizations who can serve those needs. Last year, for example, Quattrocchi noticed that several Cold Spring students were struggling to manage their emotions. So she reached out to 100 Black Men, which is now providing free mentoring to all Cold Spring School students. Reflecting on her role, Quattrocchi says it boils down to figuring out where help is needed and then finding a provider—at school or in the community— who can deliver that help. “I’m a helper,” she explained. “I’m here to help teachers, students, and parents. I’m here to make students’ lives better. And, hopefully, to help the whole school thrive.” ■

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NEWCOMERS FOR A NEW LIFE A look inside the IPS Newcomer School

Located at 34th Street and Moller Road on the west side of Indianapolis, the Newcomer School is, technically speaking, not a school at all. Launched by Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) in 2016, the transitional program prepares immigrant students in grades 3 through 9 for life in American schools. Nearly 400 children of refugees, asylum-seekers, and other immigrants currently attend Newcomer. Many of them have little or no English-speaking ability. Some have fled war-torn countries. Others

have been involved in violent gangs. Still others have seen their relatives brutally murdered. When the school first opened, the Newcomer leadership took precautions to protect students’ emotional welfare. This often translated to a more relaxed approach to academics. “We didn’t want to push them,” Newcomer Principal Arturo Rodriguez said. But, as Rodriguez and his colleagues soon realized, the students were ready to be challenged.

Academic rigor is now central to the Newcomer School model. Students are first and foremost required to learn English, but they are also expected to excel at science and math. So far, the approach is working: According to the most recent Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) test results, Newcomer leads all Indianapolis Public Schools in academic growth.

EMPATHY-DRIVEN EDUCATION It’s a chilly fall morning, and Newcomer math teacher Ethan Hoffman is giving his packed classroom a lesson on integers. Since 2016, Newcomer’s enrollment has grown by 800 percent. And because students stay for a year and a half at most, new faces are always arriving. Nevertheless, Hoffman has an easy rapport with his students, often shifting seamlessly from English to Spanish as he addresses them. Hoffman, who recently earned IPS Teacher of the Year honors (see the following page), commands his classroom with equal parts authority and compassion. “Ethan is always smiling,” Rodriguez said. “He carries that attitude into the classroom. When you have students from all over the world, that matters.” Rodriguez and Hoffman come from different backgrounds—Rodriguez’s family immigrated from Puerto Rico in the 1960s; Hoffman grew up in Wisconsin in the 1990s—but they are united by a common thread: both are Marian University graduates. Rodriguez attended the Marian University Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership, while Hoffman earned his Master of Arts in Teaching at Marian as an Indianapolis Teaching Fellow.



Why did you choose the Marian University Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership program?

I was introduced to it by my principal at the time. I was a little scared, but I reluctantly took the plunge. And it’s probably one of the best career choices I’ve ever made. To this day, I still talk to several of my professors. And I have recommended the program to five other people, and they’ve all had the same positive experience. How did it change your career path?

I had been a teacher with IPS for more than a decade when I was introduced to the program. Afterward, I became the assistant principal at IPS William Penn School 49. Then, when the position [of principal] at Newcomer School opened up, it was a perfect fit for my background in ESL. The Newcomer School serves first-year immigrant children. How is leading there different from leading a traditional school?

Our students end up here for many reasons: war, hurricanes, other tragedies. We have a lot of kids who come with emotional trauma, and our teachers have to be trained in trauma care to support them in socioemotional learning. Racial equity is also very important at our school. But we want to make sure the academics are also represented at a high level, because we want every student to have a chance to be successful.

“He gets so much out of his students,” Rodriguez said of Hoffman. “I never know if I’m going to have to add new sections of Algebra II or Algebra III. It’s unpredictable, but in a good way.” Back in the classroom, Hoffman engages his students in a call-and-response exercise. They respond enthusiastically. For now, they’re all still newcomers. But soon they’ll continue their educational journey in high schools like Shortridge, Arsenal Tech, and Herron High School. And thanks to educators like Rodriguez and Hoffman, they’ll be ready. ■

Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Magazine | WINTER 2020 | 17

Why did you choose Newcomer School as your first teaching job? I was excited to serve students in a way that would impact their education not just for the year, but for years afterward. I’m not just teaching math skills. I’m helping students learn how to function in an academic environment, and providing a ton of encouragement at a time that is very unstable. A lot of them have been uprooted, and I am able to be a positive influence in their lives at a crucial moment. You decided to become a teacher after studying abroad in South America. Why? Once I had the chance to serve in a different setting, whether it was studying abroad or tutoring kids in college, I realized I wanted to be in a position to affect lives instead of crunching numbers.

Q and A

A Conversation with IPS Teacher of the Year


You were an Indianapolis Teaching Fellow (ITF), and earned your master’s degree at Marian University. How did your educational background shape the teacher you are today? ITF really helped me with classroom management, and how to be effective with a large group of students. Marian provided me with structured training in specific areas. I especially got a lot of training time with ESL students and special education.

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You won Teacher of the Year at 24 years old. How does it feel to be recognized for excellence so early in your career? In all honesty, I appreciate serving in the background. So it was more challenging for me than people might assume. But receiving the honor has provided me with more opportunities to serve, and it has also challenged me to grow. I am thankful for it, even though in some ways it created a challenging new reality. Some of your students have endured extreme trauma. How does this affect your approach in the classroom? Recognizing the trauma is crucial. It’s really easy to jump straight in, and forget that students have lives outside the classroom. But I think I have been blessed with an ability to understand where my students are coming from. Working from a sense of empathy, or at least sympathy, and trying to consider what they have been through helps create a calm and peaceful classroom environment. And one thing my students need most is an environment where they can find peace and success after taking a little bit of a risk. I’m also always trying to remind my students that making mistakes in the classroom is no big deal. My goal isn’t necessarily for my students to succeed to the greatest levels in math. My hope is that they will be able to serve others in whatever opportunities they are given. I hope they will take with them a sense of gratitude and a desire to serve others, wherever they go. ■



CLASS OF 2020 When illness upended her life, Micayla Watroba’s fourth-grade teacher was there to provide a steady, caring hand. Next year, Watroba plans to start paying that favor forward.

Micayla Watroba has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. “Some kids play house when they’re little,” she said. “I played schoolhouse.” Then, when she was six years old, a grave illness cast a cloud of uncertainty over her entire future. Watroba was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, a rare form of blood and bone cancer. Following her diagnosis, Watroba’s life became a whirlwind of treatment and recovery. When she finally returned to school, she was regarded by her classmates as an oddity. An outsider. The only person who didn’t treat her differently? Her teacher. “When I was in her classroom, I was just another kid,” she said. “That was super important to me.” In the years that followed, Watroba’s desire to become a teacher grew stronger. She wanted to have a similar impact on the life of a kid—maybe

lots of kids—who might feel marginalized for some reason or another. “Just because they have something crazy going on in their lives doesn’t mean they should feel different than any other student.” Now cancer-free for more than a decade, Watroba will graduate this year to become an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher. Her goal is to help students who may feel as much like an outsider as she once did, if for different reasons. “When I was in school, non-English students would get pulled out of class for instruction,” she said. “As a teacher, I want them to be able to remain in the classroom.” As to where that classroom will be located, Watroba isn’t quite sure yet, although she hopes to stay in Indianapolis. Wherever she ends up, her students won’t have to worry about being excluded because of their identity, background, or circumstances. “All I want for my students is to be able to forget about whatever crazy thing might make them different from others,” she said. “I want them to thrive.” ■

Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Magazine | WINTER 2020 | 19



You’re originally from Kingston, Jamaica. What brought you to the United States?

My family migrated here to ensure we had a highquality education, and the opportunity to have upward mobility. Since I was young, my mom and dad infused in me the power of education. In college, you became the first student-athlete at Ball State to study abroad. How did the experience impact you?

Hugely. I remember being in London, and I am getting ready to go watch a production of King Lear at Stratford-upon-Avon. It was at that moment that I realized how education opens up so many doors for you. And I decided right then that I wanted to become an educator, and give opportunities to young people—especially young people of color. After years of working as a school principal and education consultant, you recently returned to Marian University to become the coordinator for Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership. Why did you come back?

Marian believed in me at a time when I needed someone to help guide me in my next career move. I am forever in debt to Marian. They provided leadership development when I needed it, and it really catapulted my career to where I could make a great impact in education.


$37 million+


$50 million GOAL BY 2021

ME S SAG I N G A N D AWA RE N E S S Number of local and national news stories written about the Klipsch Educators College and its impact on Indiana and the United States.


“A Little Finland, a Little Canada, a Lot of Moxie: Why One Indianapolis Teachers College Is Betting It Can Train More Successful Educators After a Radical Reboot” 20 |

Written by Beth Hawkins, The 74, November 2018
































PAR T NER S H I P S Signed Agreements • Archdiocese of Indianapolis • Beech Grove City Schools • Christel House Academies • Goshen Community Schools • Indianapolis Public Schools • Matchbook Learning

• MSD Decatur Township • Neighborhood Charter Network • Noble Education Network • Perry Township Schools • Phalen Leadership Academies • Purdue Polytechnic High School

Fred S. Klipsch Educators College

3200 Cold Spring Road Indianapolis, IN 46222-1997 @klipschcollege

APPLY TO T HE KLIP SC H EDUCATORS C OLLEGE For high school students, undergraduate transfer students, and international students: Office of Undergraduate Admission 317.955.6300 | For adult career-changers and licensed teachers, earning a master’s degree in education is a great choice: College of Graduate and Online Programs 317.955.6128 | If you want to become a PK-12 teacher or take your existing teaching career to a more advanced level: Transition to Teaching 317.955.6698 | Building Level Administration 317.955.6681 |

PUBLICATION INFORMATION President Daniel J. Elsener Senior Vice President and Dean, Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Kenith C. Britt, Ph.D. Vice President for Marketing Communications, Office of Marketing Communications Mark Apple Editor Greg Albright, coordinator marketing and communications, Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Associate Editor Robin Evans, director of creative services, Office of Marketing Communications Design Amy McAdams-Gonzales, Matinee Creative Contributing Writer Matt Gonzales, Matinee Creative Contributing Photographers Esther Boston, Esther Boston Photography Milken Family Foundation Archives Printing Fineline Printing Group The Fred S. Klipsch Educators College Magazine is distributed two times annually by Marian University’s Fred S. Klipsch Educators College in Indianapolis. Correspondence for the magazine should be sent to the Fred S. Klipsch Educators College, Marian University, 3200 Cold Spring Road, Indianapolis, IN 46222-1997. © Copyright 2020, Marian University. All publication rights reserved. Marian University is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana.

Profile for Klipsch College

Klipsch Educators College Magazine, Winter, 2020  

The Fred S. Klipsch Educators College at Marian University is a new vision supporting student performance in Central Indiana by providing hi...

Klipsch Educators College Magazine, Winter, 2020  

The Fred S. Klipsch Educators College at Marian University is a new vision supporting student performance in Central Indiana by providing hi...