Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) students showed little to no learning loss when they returned to classes last fall.
The on-grade level percentage on ELA NWEA for K-8 was about 2 percentage points ahead when comparing the fall of 2021 to 2022. Also, the projected proficiency percentage on Math NWEA for IPS was about 5 percentage points ahead of last fall as compared to the same point in 2021.
Dr. Warren Morgan, IPS chief academic officer, said ILEARN Math and ELA scores were strong due key investments in academic support programs implemented as part of the district’s overall strategic plan that runs through 2025.
“Though we have more work to do, the strategies we are implementing are showing traction and significant improvements in our schools,” Dr. Morgan said. “We will continue to double down on our key academic levers through high-quality curricula for all students with streamlined supports from central office; professional development for staff aligned to how to effectively implement the high-quality curriculum; and turnaround strategies and effective practices that will accelerate the pace of improvement in schools.”
As a result, the district’s 2021-22 ILEARN growth was among the highest in Marion County, central Indiana, and Indiana big city districts.
Also, Morgan said a districtwide effort to improve academics has resulted in many positive results, including:
• IPS has cut its course failure rate nearly in half since the beginning of SY 20–21.
• Due to support systems and structures put in place, students are receiving more passing grades and failing less over time, which is contributing to higher on-track and graduation rates. Students are receiving more As and Bs over any other grades.
• IPS has seen a steady decrease in failing grades.
• Black and Latinx students are making gains and those gains have been largely holding steady since the summer.
Also, suspensions per 100 students are down overall from fall of 2021 to fall of 2022; chronic absenteeism is down across every learning community; and 20 schools decreased their relative risk ratios for Black, Latinx and white students.
Morgan noted that the 2022-23 strategic plan features key initiatives to accelerate high school graduation rates, including improved grading policy to make recovery from missing work easier, monthly graduation meetings, and continuation of the evidence-based freshmen on track strategy.
In addition, the district has heavily invested in adopting accessible and culturally relevant curriculum in order to ensure high levels of academic rigor, he said.