At the
September Action Session, the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School
Commissioners discussed and voted on a variety of initiatives intended to
follow the vision of the Board’s Core Commitments and Beliefs.

 

Special
Recognitions

Commissioners
recognized Leon Taylor, owner of Leon’s Barber Shop, for his dedication and
service to our community. Mr. Taylor was instrumental in the planning of the
Brightwood Block Party, which kicked off the IPS Strategic Plan launch event
series. He spent countless hours recruiting volunteers and community partners
to ensure a successful community celebration; Commissioner Gayle Cosby
presented a plaque to Mr. Taylor’s son as a token of the district’s
appreciation.

 

Representatives
from the Indiana Department of Education joined Commissioners in recognizing
the leadership teams of Center for Inquiry School 84 and Center for Inquiry
School 27, as both schools received designations as Family Friendly Schools
(FFS). This state recognition indicated a school has established proven
practices to increase parent engagement, and in turn facilitating high student
achievement. The voluntary evaluation process for this designation includes
surveys of staff, families, and students to ensure designated schools excel at
addressing the academic, physical, emotional, and social needs of students
while maintaining family and community involvement.

 

Strategic
Plan Update

Chief
Strategist, Le Boler announced the launch of the new Strategic Plan 2015 booklet at the Thursday, September 24 Board
Action Session. Since the adoption of its core contents in August 2015, the Strategic
Plan
is being shared with school-based and central services staff to
ensure all employees understand the direction of the district and plans for
implementation. Concurrently, the plan is being shared with the IPS
community. Within the plan are three major goal areas: teaching &
learning, efficient operations and family & community. Each goal area is
set to ensure excellence in the classroom, in our business practices and in our
support services to the community. In the implementation phase, we will break
down the plan into several projects that include a detailed scope of work and
then invite employees and the public at-large to join us on project teams to
carry out our work over the next three years. Transparency will remain
paramount throughout the implementation of our plan, timely updates will be
available on the IPS website and quarterly status reports will be provided to
the Board, while maintaining flexibly to address the evolving needs of our
community. Ongoing results will be evaluated and plans will be refined to drive
successful outcomes. We encourage organizations and community associations that
are interested in having an IPS leader visit with their staff or membership to
explain the vision and new direction of IPS to contact our Service Center at
317.226.4000 to schedule a visit. Supporters, families and community partners
are invited to view the Strategic Plan 2015 and the new book on the district website to learn more
about the vision and goals of IPS.

 

 

Proposed
Changes to Board Policy regarding Suspension and Expulsion, Personal Technology

Commissioners
approved a revision of the Policy and Guidelines for Suspension and Expulsion,
which outline student behaviors that may result in disciplinary action. In an
effort to promote equity in student outcomes, language identifying “failure to
comply” as an offense warranting suspension or expulsion was removed. National
research shows “failure to comply” is the leading citation in racial
disproportionality among discipline rates for minority students.

Revisions to
Board Policy and Administrative Guidelines regarding cell phones and personal
technology devices were approved by the Board. The current BP5136 “Telephones
and Electronic Communication Devices” and BP 5136.01 “Sexting Policy” will be
replaced with “Personal Technology Devices.” The previous policies are now
merged into one comprehensive policy governing personal technology devices and
acceptable usage on school grounds. Accompanying changes to Administrative
Guidelines will offer procedural details for school leaders when implementing
the proposed policy. 

 

Certification
of School Configurations Update

Each year, IPS
must submit documentation to report school openings, closures, requests for new
baselines, and building reconfigurations. In July the Board approved the
reconfiguration plans for the 2015-2016 school year; Commissioners approved an
update to those plans reflecting the removal of preschool from Ernie Pyle
School 90 and the addition of preschool to William Penn School 49.

 

IndyGo Red
Line Support

Commissioners
unanimously signed a letter of support for the Indianapolis Red Rapid Transit
Line that will connect many IPS families to some of the fastest growing
employment centers in the region.

 

The Red Line is
a 36-mile route that extends from Westfield through Downtown Indianapolis to
Greenwood that will vastly improve mobility within our city and region. The
Board, along with Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee also expressed support
for a Small Starts grant from the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corp
(IndyGo) to The United States Department of Transportation to help fund the
initiative, “I enthusiastically support this,” says Commissioner Kelly Bentley,
“this will be great for our city and great for our families!”

 

 The first
phase of the project will lay the groundwork entirely within the City of
Indianapolis and is one piece of a much broader transit plan that has a
tremendous opportunity for success. The Red Line will connect our community
to 140,000 jobs and could potentially serve as a lifeline for many IPS
families; connecting schools such as Broad Ripple Magnet High School, the
Butler Lab School, Shortridge IB High School and all three Centers for Inquiry
to surrounding communities. “We are looking forward to advancing and improving
transportation for the city,” said Dr. Ferebee.