Schools joined The Mind Trust and Mayor Joe Hogsett this week to celebrate the third cohort of Innovation School Fellows.
These experienced and passionate education innovators will spend the next year
or two researching and developing models for proposed Innovation Network Schools.
Five schools – led
by a total of nine fellows – were selected for the third cohort in this
strategic initiative to build the capacity for strong Innovation Network
proposals and school leaders. Interested parties submitted a statement of
interest and an extensive application before being invited for interviews with
a diverse selection committee.
The 2016 Innovation
Network Fellows are:
- Shy-Quon Ely II & Brooke
Beavers: This pair
co-launched the Tindley Summit Academy on the city’s eastside. It was the
second highest performing elementary school among Mayor-sponsored charter
schools on the state’s reading exam in 2015, with a pass rate of 88%. Ely and
Beavers will work to launch an elementary school with an accelerated curriculum
focused on neuro-scientific instruction and learning, staff and community
collaboration, along with a holistic emphasis incorporating physical,
nutritional and mental wellness.
- Kelly Herron & Chrystal Westerhaus-Whorton:
Herron is a
founding staff member of Avondale Meadows Academy and has served as curriculum director,
assistant principal and principal. Westerhaus-Whorton has been a teacher and
assistant principal with the Tindley Schools network. Their proposed
school would be an extension of the elementary school model at Avondale Meadows
Academy – a middle school emphasizing college preparation.
- Emma Hiza: Hiza is the co-founder and
executive director of Thrival Academy, a study abroad public high school
providing students from underserved communities access to personalized and
culturally immersive education. The Indianapolis Thrival Academy would be a
one-year study abroad experience serving students in Grades 10 and 11.
- Tommy Reddicks & Kyle Beauchamp: These leaders of the Paramount School of
Excellence (PSOE) on the city’s near eastside have led their school to “A”
state accountability grades with an innovative, environmentally-focused
curriculum. Their proposed new school would serve Pre-K through 5th
grade, emphasizing academic rigor, data-driven approaches, environmental
education and meaningful community engagement.
- Earl Martin Phalen & Nigena
experienced education leaders will plan a new middle school replicating the
successful Phalen Leadership Academies
(PLA) model already in
place at two existing schools in Indianapolis – including Phalen Leadership
Academy at Francis Scott Key School 103 (PLA@103), an IPS restart school. In
less than a year, PLA@103 saw a 20% increase in enrollment as more families
chose to move their students into the new school model.
“I can’t express
how excited I am,” IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee told the 2016
fellows at this week’s announcement. “We have proven leaders in this group who
have shown they know how to move the dial when it comes to student
There are four
pathways for schools to become part of the Innovation Network:
- Charter: An existing charter organization
proposes a school housed in an unused IPS facility, or as a co-location with an
existing IPS school.
- Conversion: Leadership of an existing IPS school
initiates a proposal for Innovation (Cold Spring School and George H. Fisher
were just approved as our first Conversion schools)[link to Conversion story]
- Restart: District leadership initiates a
strategic turnaround initiative at a chronically low-performing IPS school.
- New: A brand new school is launched as part of the Innovation Network.
spend up to two years developing their school model while receiving support in
the form of salary, office space, technical assistance and mentorship from The
Mind Trust. Once the incubation period is complete, fellows must present their
school design to the IPS Board of School Commissioners and receive approval
before launching an Innovation Network School.