"Testing: Do Not Disturb" sign on a classroom door. The spring 2014 ISTEP+ scores showed several areas of improvement for Indianapolis Public Schools. We’re proud to see improvement, and we can’t wait to see the gains the new school year has in store! 30 of our schools showed overall improvement in English Language Arts (ELA) compared to the previous spring, while 26 schools showed overall improvement in math results compared to the same test period in 2013. We saw significant ELA growth in grades 4 through 7, and significant math growth in grades 4 and 5.

While our district-wide averages showed no great loss or gain compared to the previous year, we are proud of the progress in our priority schools. When Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee began as superintendent, he and the IPS leadership team identified schools with the greatest need for improvement. An intensive development program began immediately in those schools. We’re pleased to see many of our priority schools’ scores improved over spring 2013. Seven of the 11 priority schools saw gains in ELA scores, while 5 priority schools saw gain in math.

Another triumph of our spring ISTEP+ results is Sidener Academy for High Ability Students – 100% of Sidener’s students passed in both ELA and math; Sidener is the only school in the entire state to achieve this level of success! Even with this high achievement, the students and staff at Sidener aren’t going to rest on their laurels; they’ve already set bigger goals in other areas to improve for the coming year!

While the spring 2014 scores brought several successes, we’ve also identified areas in need of improvement. The strategic goals set for district-wide test scores were not met. We anticipate continued improvement across IPS as we implement development programs throughout the district. Many IPS leaders spent part of the summer in professional development courses to ensure student progress in the 2014-2015 school year. Our instructional coaches received training in mastery learning and teacher professional development. Our principals and assistant principals attended a leadership institute where they were trained in mastery learning, balanced literacy, and faculty professional development.

The administrators, teachers, and literacy coaches at our priority schools also spent several days of the summer learning new ways to improve success rates among our students. In addition to mastery learning and balanced literacy, our priority schools staff members were trained in student resiliency to find new ways to reach the bright young minds of IPS.

We are committed to helping the students of IPS grow even as the state faces a year of transition in our standardized assessments. Districts across the state will be faced with the learning curve as we all work with new standards and adjusted tests. We’re confident in the future of our district, and we’re proud to offer excellent educational opportunities to our families across Indianapolis!