Public Schools is proud to be the only district in the state to
have a school return to full district oversight from state intervention this
year! Today, the Indiana State Board
of Education
voted unanimously to end the state turnaround status of Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts
and Humanities
. Additionally, the State Board of Education has praised the
progress shown at both George Washington
Community High School
and Arlington
Community High School
through our Transformation
Zone (TZ)
model this year. The TZ model was created as one of our
district’s strategic initiatives to support struggling schools, and we’re
thrilled to see public-facing support of our progress.

Five years ago, these three
schools were placed in state intervention because of chronically low academic performance.
Each school was paired with a lead partner in an effort to identify
opportunities for growth in student achievement. After the initial five-year
intervention term, the State Board of Education decides whether to maintain or
end each school’s “turnaround” status. To inform their decision, a public
hearing was recently held where our principals, students and community members
spoke about the progress of each school.

Five years of “F” accountability
grades put Broad Ripple in intervention in 2011, but the Rockets have earned a
“B” the last four years. Principal Dr. Briant Williams shared a presentation
with Board members highlighting successes at Broad Ripple, including a marked
increase in enrollment compared to the 2012-2013 school year.

Sophomore Jasmine M. summed it up
for the Board when she exclaimed, “The spirit of Broad Ripple is strong!”

We couldn’t be more proud of the
positive outcome brought by the hard work of Broad Ripple’s staff and students!

At the public hearing,
representatives from George Washington Community High School touted the drastic
improvement in school culture and climate the school community has achieved
over the last two years, leading to a positive trend in student outcomes.
Principal Emily Butler presented information on significant gains in credit
recovery, community partnerships, support systems and positive disciplinary
trends. George Washington’s focus on restorative justice is in alignment with
districtwide initiatives to decrease exclusionary practices. IPS has
drastically reduced the number of suspensions, expulsions and arrests, gaining
thousands of instructional hours in the last school year. Next year, George
Washington will implement Opportunity
in the Midwest debut of this strategic model
increasing the reach of strong teachers to impact more students.

Arlington Community High School
was originally removed from IPS control, but returned to the administration at
the beginning of the 2015–2016 school year. Principal Stan Law addressed
challenges faced early in the year related to student behavior and
relationship-building, and the Arlington community shared reports on the vast
improvement seen in the school throughout the year. Four culture and climate
initiatives were identified to foster this growth: parent workshops and
communication; community partnerships; weekly assessments and Professional
Learning Communities; and Advanced Placement (AP) and dual-credit courses.

Indianapolis Public Schools
proudly reported an increase in graduation rates last year, outpacing state
performance in this area. Our district is committed to improving overall
graduation rates, including non-waiver graduations, and the Arlington Knights
are on track to support this initiative. Law reported that Arlington expects to
reach or surpass the school’s individual target graduation rate of 69 percent
(last year’s graduation rate was 40.5 percent). Personal contact with students
and families, including home visits and intervention plans with graduation case
managers, are credited for the success in ensuring more students remain on the
path to graduation. This has been a transformative year at Arlington, and we
know the Knights will charge on to great things in 2016–2017! 

Arlington joined the
Transformation Zone this school year, and the Board supported IPS’ proposal to
maintain both Arlington and George Washington as TZ schools going forward. We
look forward to sharing the continued success of our educators and students in
the years to come!