“I’m amazed at what opportunities can manifest from one
simple phone call, one simple meeting at that one time when the stars aligned.”
– Carrie Scott, Cold Spring School Principal

 

Carrie Scott has come a long way from her first days as
leader of the district’s Environmental Magnet elementary school; she says an
introductory phone call to neighbors four years ago planted the seeds for what
may become one of our district’s first Conversion Innovation Network Schools! Cold Spring’s administrative team, families and community
partners are embarking on the journey toward Innovation this semester, and
we’ll be following their progress to give you an inside look at this path to
Innovation and what it means for the school community.

 

Today, Cold Spring is known for its strong partnership with
nearby Marian University – but that wasn’t always the case. When Principal
Scott began her post at Cold Spring, she identified an opportunity to cultivate
a new a relationship with the school’s neighboring university. With one brief
phone call to Marian President Daniel Elsener’s office, the partnership began.
Over the past four years the partnership between Cold Spring and Marian has
grown; the schools collaborate for professional development opportunities, and
the Marian football team makes regular visits to the school to mentor Cold
Spring students – Principal Scott says that’s a highlight for everyone!

 

Last winter, the Cold Spring team started working on plans
to further enhance their partnership with Marian in a lab school design; their
professional development, opportunities for future educators and community
initiatives were aligned, but it was time to progress to an official
arrangement. As work continued on the lab school design, Principal Scott
learned of the opportunity for existing IPS schools to apply for inclusion in
the Innovation
Network through Conversion
.

 

“When the information first came out about Innovation, we
felt, ‘this is the perfect opportunity, this is what we’ve been waiting for,’”
Scott said. “The timeline meant a quick turnaround for application materials,
but we had already talked about everything they asked for in the application
and we’re ready to go with it.”

 

So what would be different if Cold Spring became an
Innovation school? Principal Scott says their plan emphasizes the strengths of
the school as it is today. The Cold Spring team is working toward Science,
Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) certification from the Indiana
Department of Education
, and the certification rubric is serving as
a blueprint for the school plan. The increased flexibility of Innovation would
allow Cold Spring to employ more creative staffing solutions to support an
increase in Science education opportunities. The Cold Spring team is developing
a plan utilizing the independence to build the school day in alignment with the
school’s mission to offer students a robust education with a focus on
environmental studies.

 

The lab school environment at Cold Spring isn’t the only
strong partnership IPS has with Marian University. The Marian Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership
welcomes a cohort of strong IPS teachers each year to provide courses toward
administrative certification at a low cost to our educators, building our
leadership capacity from within the district. A similar partnership is in place
to ensure Special Education assistants can transition to teaching through
Marian’s certification program.

 

In December, The Mind Trust announced Cold Spring as one of
the recipients of a $50,000
Educator Empowerment Grant
to support development of plans to
propose an Innovation Network School. With the support of staff, families and
community partners, Cold Spring will present a proposal to the IPS Board of
School Commissioners later this semester with the goal of starting the
2016-2017 school year in the Innovation Network. You can learn more about
current Innovation Network Schools here, and check back for
updates as we follow Cold Spring through the journey toward Innovation!