June 8, 2017   After completing a series of community meetings to gather feedback on the recommendation to close high schools, IPS has spent the last several weeks going into the schools to talk to those directly affected.  The district partnered with Radio One to hold student and staff engagement sessions that included question and answer discussions. Hot 96.3 DJs B-Swift, J1 and Dani D. moderated the student sessions; WTLC DJs Tony Lamont and Jerry Wade hosted the staff meetings.   IPS Leadership Team members visited each high school, including Arlington Community High School, Arsenal Technical High School, Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities, Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, George Washington Community High School, John Marshall Community High School, Northwest Community High School and Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School.    In the student sessions, moderators opened with a brief explanation of the recommendation to close high schools. They explained a Power Point slide that shows collectively IPS schools are less than 50 percent full. The moderators then posed pertinent questions to a panel of student leaders. The panel members shared their thoughts, concerns and feedback.  Finally, the sessions opened up to questions from the student body. A panel of IPS Leadership Team members, led by Operations Officer David Rosenberg, answered those questions.   The students asked a lot of thoughtful questions, ranging from concerns about transportation, magnet programs and combining kids from different schools and different sides of town, to understanding what the district will do with the money saved from closing schools.   To address the money-savings, district leadership shared plans for the newly unveiled career-themed academies.  These will be college and career pathways that will open at each remaining high school, starting with the 2018-19 school year. They will empower students to make informed career decisions, increase student engagement and develop pipelines for unfilled high-wage, high-demand jobs in Central Indiana.   Academies include:

  • Health Sciences Academy
  • Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics Academy
  • Teacher, Learning and Leading Academy
  • Construction, Engineering and Design Academy
  • Business and Finance Academy
  • Information Technology Academy
  • Military Academy

The staff sessions followed a similar outline. However, they started with a brief Power Point presentation outlining the Facilities Utilization Taskforce recommendation to move forward with operating four high schools in the 2018-19 school year.  That was followed by a question and answer session between the teachers and district leaders.  These questions covered everything from how will teachers in the schools that are closed apply for positions in the remaining high schools, to what is the district’s plan for helping students make a smooth transition to a new school, to what will happen to the buildings that are closed.   The district will use all of the feedback gathered from students and teachers at each school as it makes its decision.    Here’s a look at the remaining timeline leading up to a decision on which schools will be recommended for closure:   June 29, 2017: The administration will review the feedback from the community meetings and make a recommendation on:

  1. Which schools to close
  2. A reuse plan for those buildings
  3. Academic programming at the schools that remain open. No academic programs will be closed.  They will be relocated to high schools that remain open

July/August 2017: The Board of School Commissioners will hold their regularly scheduled meetings at each high school recommended for closure to gather additional public comment.    September 28, 2017: The Board will vote on:

  1. Which schools to close
  2. A reuse plan for those buildings
  3. Academic programming at the schools that remain open