IPS strives to maintain transparent, relevant and timely communication with our community regarding our ongoing efforts to increase school autonomy – empowering our school leaders to make more instructional and operational decisions for their school communities, providing them with better resources and increasing their level of accountability for student outcomes. As we implement innovative solutions to dramatically improve failing schools through our Innovation pathways – strategically establishing and overseeing partner-managed schools – we continue to engage our community in developing more choice options for families. Here are the updates for this week and opportunities to share your input.
 
Family and Community Engagement

 
Both Riverside School 44 and Joyce Kilmer Academy at School 69 require necessary district school improvement intervention and have been recommended for Innovation Restart Model implementation. Continued staff and family engagement gatherings have led the administration to identify potential partners to govern these schools under the new model. Once the Board approves the administration’s recommendations, Joyce Kilmer would partner with Kindezi Academy – a character education-infused academic program; learn more about the principals behind the Kindezi Academy model. Global Preparatory Academy – a dual language immersion and global studies instructional program – would lead Riverside. The proposed schools and partners are subject to Board approval once Innovation Agreements are presented for action at a later date.
 
There are more opportunities to have your voice heard. Follow-up sessions for families, students and staff are scheduled for these upcoming dates:

 

Joyce Kilmer

Riverside

Tuesday,
February 2 – 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday,
February 2 – 9:00 a.m.

Monday,
February 8 – 10:30 a.m.

Monday,
February 8 – 6:00 p.m.

Thursday,
February 18 – 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday,
February 16 – 4:00 p.m.

 

Earlier this week, Superintendent Dr. Lewis. D. Ferebee met with 25 community leaders representing various electoral districts, faith-based organizations, non-profits, corporations, advocacy organizations and other stakeholder groups to generate open dialogue around the district’s shift toward increased school autonomy and expanded choice offerings for families.
 
The purpose of the meeting was for the superintendent to share first-hand his personal mission as leader of our district, “to ensure that every child in every neighborhood has a quality educational experience,” said Dr. Ferebee; to demystify the concepts of Autonomy and Innovation; and to identify ways our community can work cohesively to improve outcomes for our children.
 
During the meeting fruitful dialogue sparked opportunities to provide additional clarification about the IPS Theory of Change – decentralizing decision-making that impacts schools – and our Core Commitments and Beliefs which undergird our three-year roadmap toward districtwide Excellence, IPS Strategic Plan 2015.
 
The discussion highlighted the merits of transitioning toward more school autonomy, the four pathways to Innovation and the basic distinctions between Autonomous and Innovation schools, including how they would be operated under the oversight of the IPS Board of School Commissioners. Participants were reminded that Autonomy and Innovation are being implemented and expanded in IPS as strategies for school improvement and student achievement. Families have repeatedly indicated a desire for more choice options.
 
In response to questions from the group, Dr. Ferebee explained that “the IPS Innovation Model provides a transparent opportunity for the district to intervene when schools are chronically low-performing after having received intensified supports. The district has a three-year intervention plan that could lead to a school restart for in the fourth year, which would pre-empt state takeover.” Ferebee further stated, “Baseline standards will be maintained for all of our schools whether they are traditional, Autonomous or Innovation. Our focus, as is echoed by our Mayor, is quality over quantity. We must have a quality school in every neighborhood, regardless of who is making the hiring decisions, driving instruction and handling operations.”
 
Expounding on a comment about anticipated efficiencies associated with greater city-wide collaboration, Board Commissioner Sam Odle, who was also in attendance, stated, “We want to demonstrate a level of confidence in the community and demonstrate better efficiency with community resources.”
District-Charter Compact Grant Award

 
With a strengthened relationship between IPS and Indianapolis charter schools and the successful implementation of district initiatives to streamline services, the city of Indianapolis should witness a significant change in the quality of schools for all students. It’s essential to have the proper financial resources available to bolster the potential for success. The Indianapolis educational community of district and charter school leaders have joined forces to submit a proposal to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the District-Charter Compact in the amount of $100,000.  The grant was awarded and the compact will serve as additional validation of the collaborative efforts to improve educational opportunities for Indy students.
 

Summary
The District-Charter Compact grant will:

  • support the district transition to become a full service provider;
  • develop and implement a common school performance framework to assess school quality; and
  • provide a continued study of a unified enrollment system for charter and district schools.
Continue to follow this important conversation; check in with us weekly for updates on our journey toward greater autonomy for schools and expanded school choice. 

Questions or Comments? Share your thoughts with us; send an email to autonomyinips@myips.org.