At its November 11, 2014 Briefing Session the Board of School Commissioners discussed a proposed redesign of the Indianapolis Public Schools Magnet Program. After considering stakeholder input along with program enrollment, student achievement data, and efficiency of operations, district administrators presented a carefully drafted plan to the board. Recommendations from financial experts, including the Indy Chamber, and other external audits, support efforts to streamline choice offerings and increase facility utilization. While it is clear that our magnet offerings are an asset, district academic results indicate the need to evaluate student interest and achievement in the current magnet programs. The plan, addressing four specific programs, aims to meet the evolving needs of students and families.

Five IPS schools would be impacted by the proposed redesign. The plan would relocate the secondary International Baccalaureate program from Gambold Preparatory Magnet High School to the Shortridge High School campus, establishing an IB lab partnership with Butler University to train future IB educators while providing IPS students with world-class instruction. The Law and Public Policy magnet program would then relocate from Shortridge to Arsenal Technical High School. Additionally, the Media and Mass Communications magnet program currently located at Broad Ripple Magnet High School would relocate to Arsenal Tech. The proposed redesign plan also includes the sunset of one magnet program – Multiple Intelligences. Key Learning Community would remain open for the next school year, closing in June 2016.

Benefits of the redesign would include more attractive secondary education options and significant efficiency gains. Challenges associated with the modifications include program transitions, staffing and professional development.

IPS leaders are committed to guiding students, staff and families through the proposed changes with the greatest ease possible. Students in relocated magnet programs would be guaranteed seats in those programs, and staff will work closely with families to ensure students’ needs are met. The proposed plan was met with mixed reactions by board members. Board discussion is set to continue at the November 18th action session.