At the June agenda
review and action sessions, the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School
Commissioners will discuss initiatives to increase equity, create new
educational opportunities for students and maintain fiscal responsibility.
They’ll also discuss a recommended update to the IPS dress code.


Student-Based Allocations Update

IPS Strategic Plan 2015 item 2.1 calls for a weighted student
funding formula to promote equitable resource allocation. The IPS Finance
Division will provide commissioners an update on the research and
recommendations regarding our district’s upcoming student-based budgeting initiative, which will be piloted by the
first cohort of IPS
Autonomous schools

In this strategic
initiative, weight will be given awarding additional funds to schools with
students in categories identified with a higher financial need. Weights in this
strategy must be relevant, measurable, independent, significant and
diversified. Recommendations for weighted categories, along with policies to
ensure a smooth transition for schools, will be shared with commissioners for
consideration. The goal of this initiative is to ensures IPS schools are
equipped with more tools to address gaps in student achievement and our school
leaders are empowered to make more building-level decisions. Pending comments
from commissioners, next steps include running scenarios with recommended
weights and policies for 2016–2017 projected budget data and updating commissioners
on the project at the July session.


Network School Reports

As part of their
Innovation Network agreements, each Innovation school’s leadership team must
provide public presentations twice yearly. The goal of this agreement
item is to maintain transparency regarding the progress of our Innovation
schools for the Board, school staff, families and supporters. Each school
reported on progress and growth areas mid-year, and will follow up with a year-end
report this month.


Sheila Dollaske,
former IPS principal and current Mind Trust Innovation Fellow, will present her
proposal for a new middle school within the Innovation Network. The Board of
School Commissioners and IPS administrative leaders agree that phasing out
community high school models and creating new opportunities for middle grades
is key to increasing student achievement. This was a major discussion point in
our Community Town Hall Meeting tour this month, and will continue to be a main
focus of our leadership team as student and family input drives future
decisions regarding middle grades.


Commissioners will
also review a recommendation to enter into negotiations with Purdue University
regarding Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School, which fulfills many goals
set in our strategic plan. In the IPS Strategic Plan 2015 goal area of Teaching
and Learning, we have committed to increasing unique learning opportunities for
students, enhancing college and career readiness, and providing additional
professional development opportunities for our educators. Purdue Polytechnic
would feature a work-based learning environment focused on technology,
humanities, math and science where students would experience flexible terms,
mentoring and career support services, and a challenging curriculum based on
problem-solving. Teachers at the school would receive the full support of
Purdue University, including unique professional development opportunities.



The dedicated IPS
Research, Evaluation and Assessment team identified errors in the state’s
2014–2015 IREAD-3 data for some students in our district. Our colleagues at
IDOE were responsive to the concerns of our team, and the scores have now been
corrected. Our Academics Division will share the finalized data with
commissioners for review. Our districtwide pass rate is 74 percent — a 4
percentage point increase from 2013-2014 data. A performance growth assessment
from 2013–2014 to 2014–2015 shows 33 IPS schools (67 percent) showed an increase in
percentage passing over the previous year!



As IPS continues to
exhibit fiscal responsibility and a commitment to increasing efficiency through
strategic real estate sales, two properties will be recommended for
consideration as surplus: the Mallory Building
(also known as the Ford Building) at 1316 Southeastern Ave. and the
Facilities Management Division (FMD) building at 1129 E. 16th Street.
IPS leadership will continue to engage our trusted Real Estate Advisory
for guidance on
the complex process of selling properties.


Initiative Partnership

IPS is committed to
increasing fruitful partnerships with local organizations for the benefit of
our students, and we will present two such partnerships to commissioners at the
May sessions. The Rev. Dr. Preston Adams, head of Urban Initiative, Inc., will
organize recurring high five rallies to start the day at our elementary schools
with an inspiring high five tunnel supported by local professionals. These
rallies are known for bringing joy and motivation to our students.


Dress Code
Policy Change

A group of young
women from Center for Inquiry School 84 are proving students have the power to
effect action by IPS administration! CFI 84’s Girl Scout Troop noted
inconsistency in the IPS Dress Code regarding tights. While the dress code
was updated to allow multicolored socks for all students to show fashion
expression, the language remained unclear on tights. These young ladies put
together a survey regarding tights in IPS and presented their findings in a
compelling presentation at the May Board session. We’re pleased to report new
language will be recommended allowing multicolored tights to be worn by our
students thanks to the hard work of troop 1610!


Read more about CFI
84 Girl Scout Troop 1610 and their dress code proposal here