Studies show that, outside of parents, high-quality teachers are the most significant factor in a student’s success. To recognize educators and their vital roles, the country is celebrating National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6-10.

Even the smallest act of kindness can help show your gratitude, like sharing a picture of yourself or your child with an influential teacher and a simple thank you message on social media using #TeacherAppreciationWeek.

This year, House Republicans enacted an honestly balanced state budget that includes a record investment of $763 million in new K-12 funding over the previous state budget. To directly support teachers, lawmakers included $37.5 million per year for Teacher Appreciation Grants to reward effective and highly effective educators.

The budget also includes a $150 million payment to an unfunded pension liability for Hoosier teachers, freeing up an estimated $70 million in annual savings to school budgets. Schools are strongly encouraged to direct these savings into increasing teacher pay.

Lawmakers also funded teacher residency programs to better prepare educators to enter the classroom on day one, as well as teacher career ladders that increase opportunities for professional growth and advancement. These programs will help prepare new educators and encourage highly effective teachers to stay in the classroom.

The General Assembly is fortunate to have the leadership and perspective of multiple educators as members of the House Republicans. As teachers or retired educators, Reps. Tony Cook, Wendy McNamara, Christy Stutzman, Jeff Thompson and Dave Wolkins all work tirelessly to make Indiana a great place for our children.

Please take a moment this week to make sure our Hoosier educators know they’re valued!