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ATIXA and IPS Host Title IX Certification Conference

School administrators from across the country will descend upon Indianapolis for the Association of Title IX Administrator’s (ATIXA’s) Title IX Certification Training conference, and Indianapolis Public Schools has been chosen as the host district.

The three-day conference, Sept. 11-13 at the NCAA Hall of Champions, 700 W. Washington St., offers intense training focused on administrators serving Grades Pre-K-12 to ensure that even our youngest students receive fair and equitable treatment.

Kim Kennedy understands the value of serving younger grades.

“The types of behavior that Title IX law requires schools to address happen at all grade levels,” said Kennedy, Title IX coordinator for IPS. “It is a misconception that Title IX only applies to high school or college sports equity issues.”

While most people attribute Title IX as the reason why Mo’ne Davis and now Maddy Freking can play (with boys) in the Little League World Series, it’s not the only aspect of the federal civil rights law that was signed by President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s.

Passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding.

That IPS was chosen to host the intensive, three-day certification training is a nod to the work the district is doing in the field.

“It means national exposure as a district that is serious about compliance with Title IX law around equity and non-discrimination,” said Kennedy. “IPS will have attendees from several departments to help ensure our goal of continuous improvement in the area of safe and supportive campuses.”

The conference’s in-depth training, led by Kim Pacelli, is in line with IPS’ push for efficient operations and supports to our schools. “IPS plans to continue to build relationships with other Indiana school districts that attend to encourage conversation around best practices,” said Kennedy.

For the past three years, IPS — which offers sports to students as young as kindergarten — has improved its handling of Title IX-related incidents across all grade levels. The district has:

Expanded the Title IX Office.

Under the guidance of Ahmed Young, IPS general counsel and chief of staff, the IPS Title IX Office includes a coordinator, an investigator, and two members of the Human Resources Division (the Employee Relations director and Employee Relations administrative associate) for a team approach.

Appointed Specifically Trained Teen Dating Advocates (TDA).

Teen Dating Advocates are in IPS middle and high schools to combat teen dating violence. During the 2019-20 school year, IPS will expand the TDA role into its K-8 schools.

Expanded Title IX and CPS Reporting Training.

The expanded training includes principals, assistant principals, the Transportation Department (bus drivers and attendants), the IPS Police Department, social workers/counselors, and all-staff trainings for schools.

Created Strong, New Community Partnerships.

New partnerships were created with the Domestic Violence Network (DVN), Prevent Child Abuse Indiana and The Julian Center to assist in creating and maintaining safe, supportive school environments. These partners offer training to staff and direct support to students and parents through programs in our schools.

Created an Incident Checklist.

This checklist helps ensure staff will take all appropriate steps in reporting child abuse or neglect.

Added a Direct Link on School Websites.

There is a direct link on every school website for students and parents to report sexual misconduct, sexual assault, gender and sexual orientation discrimination, etc., directly to the Title IX Office. It allows reporting by any student or parent with information on an incident that might need intervention and allows for anonymous reporting.

Scheduled Darkness to Light Training.

This year, all IPS social workers and counselors will receive Darkness to Light Stewards of Children training — very specific training to recognize, react to and prevent child sexual abuse or sexual exploitation.

As host of this year’s certification conference, IPS is hoping to see the event at capacity, which is capped at 100 attendees.

Several IPS employees are already registered, as well as Pre-K-12 employees — school administrators, athletic directors, Title IX coordinators, etc. — from more than 12 Indiana districts, as well as New York, Wyoming, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Virginia, Minnesota, Illinois, Georgia, Connecticut, Kentucky and Washington, D.C.

Invitations have also been extended to IPS innovation schools and other districts across the country. It’s a certification and conference Kennedy believes is highly important for all school employees.

“It is important that all Pre-K-12 schools, including IPS, understand their responsibility to address sexual assault, teen dating violence, gender and sexual orientation discrimination, etc., under Title IX,” she said. “The better trained our staff is, the more likely it is that we will properly address these situations in our schools. That means safer, more supportive schools for all students. Handling these incidents improperly has an emotional cost to students and parents and often a financial cost for schools.”

Event sponsors include Church Church Hittle + Antrim, Pollack Law and the NCAA.