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IPS is excited
to roll out new buses next school year as we make our fleet more efficient and
safe! At the April 19 Work Session, the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of
School Commissioners voted to approve the acquisition of 100 new propane engine
school buses. In addition to a cost savings in maintenance and fuel, these
buses will be equipped with three-point seat belts for every student on board.
Enhanced technology features, including improved onboard cameras and GPS
tracking capability, will contribute to service improvements in our
Transportation Department. The buses will be acquired over the course of a
five-year lease; maintenance costs during the term of the lease will be covered
by the vendor at a savings to IPS.

 

IPS proudly
serves 28,000 students daily through our transportation services; that’s twice
as many students as our largest peer districts. These new buses will allow our
transportation team to replace aging buses from our fleet to improve safety and
to increase the efficiency of our operations. Our service to pre-kindergarten
students will also be enhanced by the presence of seat belts, as this allows us
to transport some of our youngest scholars who previously could not ride the
bus. IPS is also engaging our families and community members as we take a
closer look at the bell schedule of our schools; our Operations team is
conducting a study.

 

Commissioners
also discussed a proposed Newcomers Program, which would offer wraparound
services for students and families who are new to our country. This “school
within a school” model would offer specialized instruction for English Language
Learners (ELL) in Grades 7–9, with planned expansion to Grades 3–9 the
following year. ELL classes would also be available to families, along with a
Parent Center offering support for various needs.

 

“There’s a
sense of urgency surrounding serving this student population,” said
Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee, as he discussed the feedback gathered at the
IPS Refugee Summit and the district data indicating an increased need for
newcomer services in our district. The conversation will continue to identify
specific community needs and to take on planning partners and organizations who
can provide resources to the cause.

 

Families
and community members are invited and encouraged to join in the dialogue about
these important initiatives. We will soon publish community listening tour
dates to gather feedback on grade configurations, bell schedules, support
programming and much more!

 

We have an
exciting week ahead at the April Agenda Review and Action Sessions. Topics set
for presentation and discussion include:

 

 

  • Innovation Conversion Schools: Cold Spring School will submit a proposed Innovation Network Agreement for a Science,
    Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-focused school model, while George H. Fisher School 93 will present a proposed Innovation
    Network Agreement for an expansion of the popular Project: RESTORE model.
  • Purdue Polytechnic Institute: Purdue University will present a proposal for a potential Innovation Network School
    focused on technology, humanities, math and science in a high-tech educational
    space.
  • Real Estate: As conversations with the
    City of Indianapolis continue to ensure a successful future for the former
    Coca-Cola plant on Mass Ave, IPS leadership will share an update on the real
    estate sale process.
  • Project Lead the Way: Immersive STEM programming, currently implemented at four IPS
    schools, is expanding to a total of 15 schools in the coming year and 22
    schools by the 2018–2019 school year. The curriculum will offer students
    insight into career pathways from Kindergarten through Grade 12. (Fun
    fact: a majority of the
    Hoosier Hot 50 jobs are in STEM fields!)