At the December 9 Action Session, the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners voted to expand racial equity training from the Racial Equity Institute (REI) to a districtwide initiative. This vote makes racial equity training an ongoing and intentional part of the new IPS.
REI representatives Deena Hayes-Green and Suzanne Plihcik presented a proposal to the Board outlining how an expansion of racial equity training would positively impact the district. Hayes-Green explained the importance of addressing racial equity through an organizational focus. She explained outcomes in all factors that impact a child’s education – including economics, testing, and social structures – are connected to race.
By giving teachers the tools to see educational issues through the lens of their students, she says the district is empowering educators to affect positive change through new attitudes.

The district-wide expansion includes three main initiatives:

  • An Equity Team that will handle equity issues throughout the district. REI will train and advise this team.
  • Ten pilot schools where REI will train all staff members and even community partners.
  • Youth trainers from REI who will educate youth leaders at the secondary school level.
Some members of the IPS central services team as well as district administrators already experienced REI’s initial training earlier this year. Nearly two dozen of those participants appeared at the session to support the proposal.

Deputy Superintendent for Academics Dr. Wanda H. Legrand said, “Racial equity training, understanding and awareness make us better at teaching the students we serve. It’s an important piece that makes us better at our jobs.”

According to their own “Anti-Racism Workbook,” REI trainers and organizers provide an analysis of racism and its cultural and historical roots, assistance in developing an anti-racist vision and plan for change and coaching for traditional and emerging leadership in the principles and practices of anti-racism.

Commissioners also approved a resolution ensuring a one-time, $1,000 bonus for classified employees who earn less than $100,000 a year. This bonus applies to employees who work a minimum of 20 hours weekly, are not on temporary contracts, and who were active employees as of January 1, 2014.

Additionally, three board commissioners were honored for their commitment to IPS as their terms with the district come to a close. Dr. Ferebee thanked Samantha Adair-White, Michael Brown, and President Annie Roof for their service and leadership. Their hard work has helped IPS make tremendous strides, and for that we are truly grateful. The entire IPS community appreciates their impact on our students, staff and families!