When the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners convened for its Agenda Review Session on Tuesday, July 24, and its Board Action Session on Thursday, July 26, topics included updates on the PSAT expansion, a Call for Quality Innovation School Partners, a briefing on the Real Estate Process and a request for Commissioners to approve a GO Bond, among several others.

What follows is a deeper look at those agenda items.

Approval of General Obligation Bond

Chief Financial Manager Weston Young asked board members to consider a request for a General Obligation (GO) Bond. The bond was reviewed in June and a request to adopt the request was approved in July.

Key Messages:

  • A GO Bond is a pledge to utilize tax revenues to repay bondholders and is subject to the Indiana legal limit.
  • A GO Bond is not supported by project or fee revenue.
  • The total amount requested is $34 million dollars.
  • The bond will cover the cost of technology upgrades and other educational and operational initiatives, including high school facility renovations.
  • A GO Bond will replenish the district’s cash balance in the Capital Projects Fund.


Call for Quality Applicants for IPS Innovation Schools

Portfolio Officer Jamie VanDeWalle issued the Call for Quality Partners to launch an Innovation Network School for the 2019-20 school year. Innovation schools are public schools with expanded autonomy to make academic and operational decisions that will maximize student achievement. Innovation schools also expand quality choices for all families. Any individual, school team, or charter organization may be eligible to run an Innovation Network School.

Key Messages:

  • The IPS Board of School Commissioners is required to approve any agreement for the launch or transition to an innovation school.
  • There are four ways to become an Innovation Network School:
  • New School Launch – A new school that partners with IPS and receives shared services and the use of IPS facilities.
  • Charter as New Partner – Charter schools, either new or existing, within the IPS boundaries may enter into a partnership with IPS through an Innovation Network Agreement. This allows access to shared services such as food service, transportation, and professional development. It provides the ability to create a proximity boundary for enrollment.
  • Restart Innovation – A partner applies to restart a chronically under-performing school that has been recommended for this intervention by district leadership.
  • Conversion Innovation – In an Innovation Conversion, an existing IPS school that shows outstanding leadership and team capacity may apply to convert their school. Significant staff, parent, and community support is needed for this route and should be detailed in the application.

Launch of IPS Digital Archives

During Thursday’s Board Action Session, Indianapolis Public Library Chief Executive Officer Jackie Nytes unveiled the new IPS Digital Project allowing researchers, educators and alumni to access nearly 2,500 archived items depicting the rich and illustrious history of Indianapolis Public Schools. This new collection can now be found at http://www.digitalindy.org/.

Key Messages:

  • Downloadable items from as far back as the 1850s represent the 120 elementary and high schools that have comprised IPS and underscore the role they have played in shaping the community.
  • Items include newsletters, yearbooks, IPS Board meeting minutes, school histories, registers of children, scrapbooks, news clippings, teacher contracts and staff biographies. Photos of students, school staff and schools also are included.
  • Crossroads Document Services, a division of Easterseals Crossroads, handled the conversion of all types of media into the digital format that involved scanning more than 460,000 pages of IPS materials.
  • This was made possible by a $1.7 million grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. through gifts to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.
  • The IPS collection is the culmination of a nearly three-year effort to identify, acquire and digitize over 430,000 pages of materials that had been warehoused in various locations.
  • Major contributions were also made by IPS Facilities staff, media specialists and the IPS Board of School Commissioners, as well as by staff from the Indianapolis Public Library Cataloging and Digital Projects areas.

IPS Real Estate Process Briefing

On September 18, 2017 the Board of School Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution that outlined the reuse or disposition of six properties affected by the consolidation of IPS high schools.

Key Messages:

IPS has pursued an aggressive strategy to right-size the district’s real estate portfolio

  • Sold 10 properties for $19M one-time revenue
  • Leased five properties for educational use for $736,500/annually
  • The district values community engagement and plans to involve various stakeholders while assessing a broad range of disposition/redevelopment scenarios.
  • The two school properties identified for potential disposition or reuse by entities other than IPS were John Marshall and Broad Ripple high schools.
  • Regarding Broad Ripple, Res. No. 7753 directed the administration to: “Initiate a process for disposition of the property through sale or lease.”
  • Regarding John Marshall, Res. No. 7753 directed the administration to: “Work with the Glick Family Foundation, the City of Indianapolis, and community partners to identify viable reuse.”
  • The John Morton-Finney Center for Educational Services (Central Services) has also be identified for disposition:
  • Launch Request for Information (RFI) – August 10
  • RFI Submittal Deadline – October 3
  • Bid Sale Opens/Closes – October 30

The following principles will guide the process of disposing of the properties:

  • Data-driven decision making
  • Transparency
  • Reliance on experts
  • Community perspectives
  • Consistent approach
  • Value Maximization

IPS will seek a balance between community wishes and market possibilities by gathering community perspectives, demographic analyses, facility and market assessments, financial feasibilities and stakeholder feedback.

  • The district will use the following process for each property:
  • Request for Information
  • Real estate advisory review
  • Bid Sale Process
  • Advisory group recommendation for Commissioners
  • Board acts on recommendation
  • Key considerations in the transition of the Broad Ripple and John Marshall properties include the temporary needs for more operational space as IPS drastically reduces its footprint and works to relocate key operations – possibly including the Central Services staff if the Ed Center is sold.
  • The legal landscape and possible legislation amending the $1 charter law could also alter the timeline and options regarding the high school properties.
  • This month, the Board was presented with a recommended timeline and a proposed disposition/redevelopment process.

School-Based Health Clinic Expansion

During the 2018-19 school year, IPS is adding clinics at two new high-need schools, Carl Wilde Elementary School 79 and Lew Wallace Elementary School 107.

Key Messages:

  • The district was able to expand services while reducing health service expenses by approximately $215,000.
  • The expansion is possible due to school closings, natural attrition and school conversion.

IPS Health Clinic Partners Include:

  • Shalom Health Care Center
  • Marion County Public Health Department
  • HealthNet
  • Raphael Health Center
  • Eskanazi Health

PSAT/NMSQT Expansion:

Deputy Superintendent of Academics Aleesia Johnson updated and solicited feedback from the IPS Board of School Commissioners on the PSAT/NMSQT Initiative.

Key Messages:

  • The PSAT/NMSQT is the Preliminary SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
  • The exam is not used for college admissions.
  • The scores serve as a predictor of success on the SAT and can be used to earn scholarships and identify National Merit Scholars.
  • By taking the test, students get practice and gain a sense of the format, question types, content, time limit and scoring they will encounter on the SAT.
  • Student performance on this exam provides useful data on college readiness.

Important Changes:

  • For the 2018-19 school year, the Indiana Board of Education is replacing Accuplacer with PSAT to serve as an indicator for remediation for 11th grade students.
  • IPS is expanding the PSAT 8th and 9th grade pilot to include all 8th and 9th graders in the district.

Commissioners Approved Appointments for IPS School Administrators

As the district prepares for a new school year, several IPS schools (elementary, middle and high) will welcome new principals.

Arlington Middle School, Daniel Webster School 46, Eleanor Skillen School 34, William Penn School 49 and Simon Youth Academy will all be under new leadership for the 2018-19 school year, which begins August 6.

The appointments were approved by IPS Commissioners during the July Board Action Session.

Here’s a look at the latest administrator assignments:

John Edge

John Edge is the new principal at Arlington. Most recently, he served as assistant principal at George Washington Community High School. Prior to his new appointment, Edge’s career in education included serving as a history teacher, an assistant principal and an athletic director at John Marshall Community High School. He was also assistant principal at Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities.

Karen Linn

Karen Linn is the new principal at William Penn. Prior to her current appointment, Linn served as principal at Daniel Webster and assistant principal at Meredith Nicholson School 96. Throughout her career in education, Linn developed expertise and skills in English as a Second Language (ESL) and curriculum development.

Robert Moses

Robert Moses is the new principal at Simon Youth Academy, an IPS alternative high school. Prior to his new appointment, Moses served in assistant principal roles at Arlington Community High School and Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities. Moses has expertise in leadership development, school culture and curriculum development.  

Allyson Peterkin

Allyson Peterkin is the new principal at Daniel Webster. Since 2016, Peterkin served as literacy coordinator for the IPS district. During her tenure in education, Peterkin has worked as a teacher, a curriculum and instruction coordinator, an assistant principal and interim principal.

Sarah Zack

Sarah Zack is the new principal at Eleanor Skillen. Before accepting this new role, Zack served as assistant principal at Francis W. Parker School 56, an IPS Montessori school, since 2016. During her tenure in education, Zack has worked as an art teacher and a special education teacher throughout various school districts.

Congratulations to these IPS employees on their new assignments!