April 20, 2018
Having recently been selected as a finalist to potentially lead the second-largest school district in the nation has been an honor for me, and it is an honor for our district. This opportunity is an immutable example of Indianapolis Public Schools’ emergence as a bellwether for innovative transformation in urban, public K-12 education.
After thoughtful reflection, I decided to rescind my candidacy to continue ensuring we are prepared to launch our exciting new model for post-secondary success. I will continue working to garner support for desperately needed local and state revenue increases to close funding gaps and to preserve our progress with more competitive compensation. These responsibilities are front of mind for me at this time. Not only are these critical priorities for me, these wins will be accomplished in concert with our partners and supporters.
In Indianapolis, we have proven time and time again that when we come together on critical objectives, we get things done. I am fortunate to serve a community and Board of School Commissioners that haven’t flinched. Together, we have faced immense challenges and made bold and courageous decisions to better serve our students and families.
I’ve been told by many that it has been fascinating to witness us not accept the status quo or limit our thinking to traditional means. There are many examples we can celebrate and more are certain to come.
- Together, we have solved food insecurity, guaranteeing our students a healthy breakfast, lunch, fresh fruit or vegetable snack and select evening meals, along with satellite feeding sites when school is out.
- With our laser-like focus on the district’s Mission 3E, ensuring every student graduates on time prepared to be either enlisted, enrolled or employed at a livable wage, graduation rates have surged to record highs annually.
- For each of the past four years, we have graduated a new group of scholars who are better prepared for their future. Additionally, our high school students will no longer attend school by their address but by their college or career interests.
- We’ve expanded and replicated high-performing programs such as the Butler University Reggio Lab program, which will have a new, second site for the 2018-19 school year.
- Teacher leadership is expanding with a new cohort of Opportunity Culture schools and new roles for educators to expand their reach with additional compensation.
- Next year, we will finally offer either dedicated K-8 or middle schools for 7th- and 8th-graders (eliminating combined middle/high schools). This has been a long time coming.
- Finally, chronically low-performing schools will no longer exist in perpetuity in IPS.
Bottom line, our coalition for transformation is stronger than ever. While we have more work to do, I am excited about both our progress and our future. Together, we will ensure there is a quality school option in every neighborhood, prepare our students to take on the challenges of tomorrow, and advance the vitality of the city of Indianapolis.