Aug. 25, 2017

The Indianapolis Public Schools community has two additional opportunities to voice its opinion about the district’s recommendation to close or convert several IPS high schools before the Board of School Commissioners make their final vote on Sept. 18.

Since July, Commissioners have taken their Agenda Review Session and Action Session Board meetings on the road and included a time for community feedback to discuss the decision to Reinvent IPS High Schools. These meetings have been held at IPS schools recommended for closure or conversion.

In July, the meetings were held at Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities and John Marshall Middle School.

This month, meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Arlington High School on Aug. 29 and Northwest High School on Aug. 31.

Here’s a recap of what the district is proposing to implement through efforts to reinvent the IPS high school experience.

Reinventing IPS High Schools

As IPS continues to improve our city’s largest school district, a reinvention of the high school experience is needed to build upon recent success and ensure the best possible learning environment for all students.

Starting with the 2018-19 school year, IPS has recommended rightsizing its high school experience by operating only four high schools (Arsenal Technical High School, Crispus Attucks High School, George Washington High School and Shortridge High School).

This plan includes: 

  • Converting Arlington High School into a middle school during the day and an evening high school after regular school hours, and relocating some district administrative offices into the building.
  • Converting Northwest High School into a middle school and relocating the Newcomer Program and some district administrative offices into the building.
  • Closing Broad Ripple High School for sale and community reuse and relocating Visual & Performing Arts and Humanities programming to Shortridge High School.
  • Closing John Marshall Middle School, the Facilities Maintenance Department building and Forest Manor for sale and community reuse.
  • Retaining Arsenal Tech, Crispus Attucks, George Washington and Shortridge.

Each remaining high school would offer new Career-Themed Academies within our extensive menu of academic choice offerings. These academies are designed to empower students to make informed college and career decisions to ensure they are Enrolled, Enlisted or Employed at a livable wage upon graduation.

The following are the programs each school would offer (Career-Themed Academies are in bold):

Arsenal Technical High School 

  • Construction, Engineering & Design Academy
  • Military Academy (in development with the Army, all high schools will continue to offer JROTC until the Academy launches)
  • Career Technology Center
  • Math & Science
  • Law & Public Policy
  • New Tech

Crispus Attucks High School 

  • Health Sciences Academy
  • Teaching, Learning & Leading

George Washington High School 

  • IT Academy
  • Manufacturing, Engineering & Logistics Academy
  • Business & Finance Academy

Shortridge High School 

  • International Baccalaureate
  • Visual & Performing Arts
  • Entertainment Management and TV Broadcasting
  • Humanities

Students would also have 100 percent choice when deciding which high school they want to attend. These high school choice options would also include Early/Middle College — onsite learning at a local college campus where students would, respectively, graduate with a high school diploma (plus two years of college courses) or receive a high school diploma (plus college credits).

To ensure your voice is heard, the public is invited to attend one of following two August meetings before the Board decision in September. Each meeting will include a period for public comment.

Tuesday, August 29

5:30 p.m.

Arlington High School

4825 N. Arlington Ave.

Indianapolis, Ind.

Thursday, August 31

5:30 p.m.

Northwest High School

5525 W. 34th St.

Indianapolis, Ind.

To sign up to make public comment at the August meetings, click here.

In addition to the discussions on IPS high school closings and conversions, the Board will also use time during the meetings on Aug. 29 and 31 to discuss the quartely review budget. Here’s what you need to know:

Quarterly Budget Review

IPS continues to maintain financial and operational transparency, provide timely financial updates to stakeholders and communicate progress and new initiatives while investing in strategic priorities.

Highlights of the budget update include:

Student-Based Allocation (SBA)-Enables school leadership to be more strategic with resources through:

  • Equity-Distribute resources based on student need.
  • Transparency-Use clear and easily understood rules for where, how and why dollars flow.
  • Flexibility-Empower principals to make smart decisions based on unique student needs.

Factors Affecting Per-Pupil Allotments:

  • School Need
  • Schools with lower poverty or fewer grades receive lower per-pupil allotments
  • School Size
  • Smaller schools with small enrollment receive a baseline services supplement to staff and larger per-pupil amounts
  • Hold Harmless/Supplements
  • Transition policy and supplements in first year of the SBA transition (re-evaluated each year)
  • In-LEA Innovation Conversion Status
  • Schools that started prior to the 2017-18 school year were funded through a state tuition pass-through amount that was higher than the amounts they would have received under SBA.
  • The agreements required a transition to SBA funding which means they will continue to receive above average funding until their allocation is aligned more equitably based on student needs.
  • Schools starting in 2017-18 school year and all future In-LEA Innovation conversion schools will receive their funds allocated via the SBA formula in an equitable manner based on student needs.
  • Superintendent’s Discretionary Supplement
  • Priority and Transformation Zone schools were perceived to have greater needs
  • Priority and Transformation Zone schools that were projected to lose money through the SBA formula received this additional supplement.

Strategic Priorities

  • Execute Grade Configuration Plan
  • System Upgrades and Process Improvements
  • Launch 3-Tier Transportation Model

State per-Pupil Amount

  • Indiana Department of Education amount-$6,934