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At the October
Agenda Review and Action Sessions, the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of
School Commissioners addressed topics including transportation, STEM
programming, arts education and an exciting new after-school initiative.

 

Any Given
Child Indy

IPS is proud to
participate in the Any Given Child Indy initiative. This inspiring partnership
with the Arts Council of Indianapolis and The Kennedy Center aims to increase
equity in arts opportunities for all IPS students in kindergarten through Grade
8. As we enter the second year of this initiative, Ernest Disney-Britton,
director of Grant Services & Education Partnerships at the Arts Council, and IPS
Deputy Superintendent for Academics Dr. Wanda H. Legrand shared an update with
commissioners.

 

In the first
year of Any Given Child Indy, a group of dedicated partners on our Community
Arts Team prepared surveys for 53 arts organizations and all IPS schools. These
surveys created baseline data on arts education offerings, gauged perceptions
on partnering with IPS schools, identified barriers to arts education and
identified schools currently underserved in the arts. Across the board, lack of
funding and time constraints were identified as the main obstacles our schools
and partners face when it comes to the arts.

 

The Community
Arts Team came up with an action plan for year two of the initiative to address
gaps and barriers identified in the data. Four strategic committees are
connecting Any Given Child veterans with our community supporters to find ways
to:

  • Increase professional development
  • Create an online database connecting
    schools with partner organizations
  • Seek new funding sources and to prioritize
    instructional gaps by discipline. 

 You can view view the full presentation here, and follow the team’s progress online at www.anygivenchildindy.org.

 

RightFit
Program

IPS
is excited to partner with the Indianapolis Indians and local public safety
officials to pilot the RightFit Program in three schools – Daniel
Webster School 46, Wendell Phillips School 63, and Meredith Nicholson School 96
– beginning in January 2017.

 

The
program will incorporate tutoring and after-school activities facilitated by
generous volunteers from law enforcement and other public-safety organizations,
along with a healthy meal before students are transported safely home. This
supplement to our existing after-school programming will offer an opportunity
for our students to engage in fun and age-appropriate events while building
positive relations with supportive public-safety agencies and officers.

 

Topics
of the programming and activities will focus on wellness through nutrition and
exercise to promote healthy habits. A public celebration of this new initiative
will take place at the Indianapolis Indians Victory Field complex on Wednesday,
Nov. 2.

 

Innovation
Network Proposal

Commissioners
received an informational update on a proposed Innovation Network School,
Ignite Achievement Academy. Brooke Beavers and Shy-Quon Ely II, co-heads of the academy, received a fellowship from
the Mind Trust for their work on this proposed school model, which would
utilize an accelerated curriculum focusing on neuro-scientific instruction and
emphasizing physical, nutritional and mental wellness. Project-based learning
would also play a major role in classroom instruction. Beavers and Ely shared
that their school model would center on four pillars of achievement:
accelerated academics; habits of success; excellence in enrichment; and
scholar, family and staff motivation. The full presentation from Ignite Academy
can be viewed here.

 

Project Lead
the Way Expansion

Thanks to a
generous $250,000 investment from American Structurepoint, IPS is in the
process of expanding our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) programming. PLTW is
engaging curriculum for the K-12 continuum that focuses on problem-solving skills
while giving students insight into career pathways in STEM fields. Ben Carter,
IPS director of Career and Technical Education, shared an update with commissioners
on the expansion of this popular program. Last school year, we had four schools
participating in this model; by the spring of 2019, we will have 22 schools
involved. Over the summer, 16 educators received intensive training to
implement PLTW in their schools. This fall, school sites are conducting ongoing
training sessions to ensure this model is implemented appropriately in our
schools. Modules will bring STEM topics to life for our students in a variety
of ways, including:

 

  • Students in Grades K-5 learn the basics of
    computer science and coding through an animated storytelling module.
  • Students in middle school grades will
    learn how to turn a two-dimensional design into a 3-D model. In our schools,
    they are designing an ankle brace and building a prototype for testing.
  • Our high school students will participate
    in lessons geared toward career pathways, including computer science, where
    they will learn to analyze code as they design and build an Android App.

 

The full PLTW
presentation, including information on participating and future schools, can be
viewed here.

 

Three-Tiered
Bell Schedule

Commissioners
continued discussion with IPS operations leaders about the proposed
three-tiered transportation schedule. This potential revision to the current
bus schedule would facilitate increased efficiency in the use of our transportation
resources, with an estimated cost savings of $2 million annually. This schedule
would reduce the total number of buses required to transport all students, and
would allow for more extra-curricular transportation opportunities.

 

The greatest
schedule shift would be the 11 elementary schools proposed for tier two;
these schools currently begin at 9:05 or 9:15 a.m., but would begin at 8:15
a.m. under the proposed model. Schools in this tier were intentionally selected
due to their location and length of routes. Conversations with families and
school communities will continue before any action is recommended for the
Board. The full transportation presentation can be found here.