At its September 16, 2014, Academic Briefing Session the Board of School Commissioners discussed implementing a calendar development committee model to include stakeholder groups in the development of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school year calendars. Similar to the previously established budget development committee process, a diverse committee of internal and external volunteers will review several options for IPS school year calendars for Board review and approval. The committee will consider state school day/hour mandates, bargained teacher workday guidelines, professional development requirements, mitigation plans for inclement weather occurrences and sensitivity to family needs and established stakeholder preferences. A link will be placed on the district’s website to invite community members to express interest in serving on the calendar committee.
Tammy Bowman, Curriculum Officer and her staff shared a Curriculum Update which included a mock presentation of a live professional learning community (PLC) meeting. PLCs are led by school faculty and foster an environment where colleagues discuss instructional best practices and areas of need. PLCs along with mastery learning and balanced literacy are the districtwide academic focus areas for the 2014-2015 school year. Ms. Bowman also conducted an interactive simulation of an ideal Math lesson that would span over a week using Board members as her classroom students! The demonstration highlighted the purpose of mastery learning and the value of day-to-day corrective instruction.
Approximately 860 prekindergarten students are currently enrolled in IPS with an expected increase throughout the year. There are currently some district preschool sites with waitlists, as is the case with many external providers. Classes are being shifted to best accommodate needs. Dr. Ferebee indicated that the district’s legislative agenda would address funding for kindergarten, as it is a critical support to early student learning.