Updated February 4, 2016, 8:52 p.m.
 
Last week, the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners were presented with progress updates on the implementation of Autonomy in IPS. In collaboration with Education Resource Strategies (ERS), IPS is identifying the levels of flexibility for the district’s first and future Autonomous schools and the ways central services will provide strategic supports to schools. To streamline operations and aid school improvement efforts, IPS and ERS are in the process of designing the district’s student-based budgeting system – distributing funds instead of staff allocations to school leaders, freeing them to make necessary site-based decisions to ensure student success. Funding will be determined based on student enrollment and need; principals will determine how to best address the unique needs of their school communities with support from the district and through continuous dialogue with students, families and staff.
 
After confirming widespread buy-in from community stakeholders and conducting a series of interviews with principals and school leadership teams, IPS has selected six schools for the district’s Autonomy cohort pilot.
Arlington Woods School 99, led by Principal Tihesha Guthrie
Harshman Middle School, led by Principal James Larkin
Center For Inquiry School 2, led by Principal Andrea Hunley
Center For Inquiry School 27, led by Principal Jamilyn Bertsch
Center For Inquiry School 70 (new school to open in 2016-2017 SY), to be led by Principal and Center for Inquiry Founder Christine Collier
Center For Inquiry School 84, currently led by Principal Christine Collier
 

“We are excited to join the autonomy pilot cohort because we will have the opportunity to work with the consultants from ERS to strategically streamline our approach to serving students,” says Prinicpal Hunley from Center For Inquiry 2. 

 
Each school will receive a variety of supports to ensure their success with this transition to increased flexibility. Continued discussions will aid school leadership teams in adjusting their school designs to fit the needs of students and staff. Continued collaboration between ERS and the IPS administration will provide additional resources for principals, along with implementation guidance throughout the 2016-2017 school year. 
 

“As the district moves toward granting more autonomies to all schools, we are excited to be a part of the pilot – to help shape the process for other schools moving forward,” says Principal Collier, leader of Center for Inquiry 84.