At the May 25 Board Action Session, the
Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners discussed several key
initiatives impacting the 2017-18 school year.

 

Presentation of Valedictorians and
Salutatorians:

Whether
immigrating from another country to overcoming homelessness, our Valedictorians
and Salutatorians have graduated at the top of their class.  The Board of Commissioners recognized the
Class of 2017 high school leaders.

 

 What
Audiences Need to Know:

  • One valedictorian moved to Indianapolis from
    Nigeria 18 months ago and went on to claim the top spot at Northwest Community
    High School.
  • Another valedictorian started high school two
    years early at Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School and is
    graduating at the age of 15 with the highest GPA of all IPS graduating seniors
    with a 4.5.
  • The Valedictorian from Arlington Community High School
    experienced periods of homelessness, but overcame those obstacles to graduate
    at the top of his class and earn a full ride to IUPUI.

ACTION: Presentation-These graduates and
their families will be honored at a special ceremony and dinner on Thursday,
June 1, at Butler University.

 

High School Academic Model Planning:

Dr. Wanda
Legrand, Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Ben Carter, Director of Career
and Technical Education introduced the IPS Career Academies model for
information and discussion.

The district
wants to implement choice career academies at every high school.  The proposal identified planning partners and
a work-based learning framework.

 

What Audiences Need to Know:

  •  Career academies empower students to make
    informed career decisions, increase student engagement and develop pipelines
    for unfilled high-wage, high-demand jobs in Central Indiana
  • Career academies will provide elective career
    courses aligned to industry demand, career-themed projects in academic classes,
    a continuum of experiential work-based learning and opportunities for students
    to earn credentials.
  • Career academies will include Health Sciences,
    Manufacturing, Engineering & Logistics, Teacher, Learning & Leading,
    Construction, Engineering & Design, Business and Finance, Information
    Technology and Military.
  • Students played a valuable role in the decision
    about the academies.  Nearly 4,000
    students completed surveys on a multitude of career fields.
  • One or more career academies will be placed at
    each high school.  No decision has been
    made on where the academies will reside yet.

ACTION: Presentation-The career academies will be voted on at the June Board
of School Commissioners Meeting.  The
administration will also announce their recommendations for which high schools
to close at that meeting.  Once the commissioners
hear those recommendations and the reuse plan for the buildings, they will vote
on where each of the academies will reside. 
The new career academies will launch in the 2018-19 school year.

 

Pre-School Program Enrollment:

Dr. Wanda
Legrand, Deputy Superintendent for Academics and Patrick Herrell, Director of
Enrollment and Options presented the current state of pre-school admissions in
IPS. They also shared the rationale for filling open seats while offering
recommendations for changing the existing priorities for Pre-K registration.

 

What Audiences Need to Know:

  • Currently, there are no priorities given to
    families applying to Pre-K because the district wants to make sure there is
    equitable access to pre-K for all families.
  • Currently, families applying to K-12 receive
    multiple priority considerations including sibling, neighborhood proximity,
    loyalty (applied to same program previously) and IPS employee consideration.
  • The district is considering whether IPS should
    offer similar priorities for application to Pre-K as those applying for K-12

ACTION: Presentation-Commissioners
will vote on this at the June Board of School Commissioners Meeting.  At that time, they will decide whether to
maintain no priorities for pre-school to allow for equitable access for all families
across the city or implement limited priorities.

 

Additional Appropriation:

IPS budgets
are tighter than ever before. Therefore, IPS is seeking an additional
appropriation to request more funds than the Department of Local Government
Finance (DLGF) has already approved for the budget year. This comes as a result
of the transition the district has made from a calendar year to the school
year.  This is an annual process.

 

What Audiences Need to Know:

  •  IPS directly aligns General Fund appropriation
    request with budgeted expenditures
  • DLGF authorized less than IPS’ original budget
    request for property tax funded expenditures
  • Reduced revenue available for capital and
    transportation funds requires assessing rainy day funds.
  • This is an authorization to spend and utilize
    the cash balance we already have on our bonds.

ACTION: PASSED 6-0

 

 

Classified RIF Policy:

Dr. Ferebee and Commission President Mary Ann Sullivan presented a
modification to a policy that directs the superintendent to develop appropriate
administrative guidelines for classified reduction in force (RIF), which enable
strategic resource allocation decisions of school-level leadership while
supporting affected employees.

 

What Audiences Need to Know:

  • The Board
    recognizes that due to changes in enrollment, instructional model and a
    commitment to supporting greater autonomy, it will sometimes be necessary to
    eliminate certain positions
  • When executing a
    reduction in force, the primary objective of the Board will be to maintain an
    effective and efficient staff
  • Changes in staffing
    at the school and district levels should be based on strategic decisions by
    school leaders in the interest of supporting student achievement and should
    consider the performance of the classified employees

ACTION:
PASSED 6-0

 

Herron and Riverside High Schools
Innovation Agreement:

Innovation
Officer Aleesia Johnson and Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee presented an agreement to
transition Herron High School and soon-to-be launched Riverside High School to
innovation status.

 

What Audiences Need to Know:

  •  Herron and Riverside can and have created
    enrollment preference areas that intentionally encompass more high-need,
    low-income areas near their schools.
  • Herron and Riverside will be able to have a
    neighborhood enrollment preference as innovation charter schools allowing them
    to be connected explicitly to the neighborhood they are serving in a way that
    isn’t allowable outside of the innovation charter status.
  • As a result of participation in unified
    enrollment as well as neighborhood enrollment preference, both campuses will
    have the opportunity to expand their diversity to more closely reflect the district.
  • With participation in unified enrollment (Enroll
    Indy), the schools would have four application windows and participate in IPS
    student recruitment events.  
  • Herron and Riverside both employ a classical arts
    education model.  The addition of these
    schools allow us to expand offerings for families.

ACTION:
PASSED 5-1

 

The New Teacher Project:

Mindy
Schlegel, Human Resources Officer, presented an agreement with The New Teacher
Project (TNTP).  IPS has partnered with
TNTP since 2007, placing an average of 50-60 fellows in classrooms each year.
The 2017-18 agreement will support the placement and professional development
of fellows in IPS schools.

 

What Audiences Need to Know:

  • The pool of candidates is typically more
    diverse, aligned with our high-need vacancies
  • After they’re hired, fellows receive intensive
    support throughout their participation  
  • TNTP services include recruitment and selection
    of ‘teaching fellows’ to serve at the discretion of the district in high-needs
    schools and subject areas.\ 
    TNTP also provides ongoing monitoring of
    performance and professional development to fellows, which supplement the
    district’s efforts.

ACTION: PASSED 6-0

 

REMINDER on High School Closings:

In April, IPS announced a recommendation by
the Facilities Utilization Taskforce to operate only four high schools starting
in the 2018-19 school year. 
Collectively, the district’s high schools are less than 50 percent
full.  By right-sizing the high schools,
the district will save $4 million dollars annually to re-invest into the
classroom and enhance the high school experience.  The district has held five community meetings
to share information and gather feedback from the public.

 

Here’s a look at the remaining timeline
leading up to a decision on which schools to recommend 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 re-use plan for those buildings
    and 3) academic programming at the
    schools that remain open. No academic programs will be closed.  They will be re-located at high schools that
    remain open.
  • July/August 2017-The
    board will hold their regularly scheduled meetings at each high school
    recommended for closure to gather more public comment. 
  • September 28, 2017-The
    board will vote on 1) which schools
    to close, 2) a re-use plan for those
    buildings and 3) academic
    programming at the schools that remain open.