At the May Agenda Review and Action Sessions, the Indianapolis
Public Schools Board of School Commissioners discussed and took action on
various district initiatives, including the sale
of the former Cocoa-Cola bottling plant and a mentoring program, while the IPS
Finance Division facilitated a public hearing on additional budget


SCIPS Property

At the
May 22 Review Session, our Real Estate Advisory Committee recommended
Wisconsin-based firm Hendricks Commercial Properties LLC as the preferred buyer
of our SCIPS property, the former Cocoa-Cola bottling plant on Massachusetts


which would buy the 11-acre site from IPS for $12 million, has proposed a $260
million development for the plant. The mixed-use space would include a hotel,
apartments, a movie theater, office and retail space, a daycare and a furniture


Indianapolis, Hendricks is known for the Ironworks development at 86th
Street and Keystone Avenue.


The committee
— a group of dedicated local professionals lending their expertise to provide
recommendations — recommended Hendricks for several reasons, including the
addition of more commercial retail space to the area and because the developer
isn’t requesting a city subsidy.


“We are
very excited to see it, and it will be a good development,” said George
Tikijian, one of the committee members and senior managing director of Tikijian
Associates, an apartment brokerage firm, on Tuesday.


During the
Board’s Action Session on May 26, the vote passed 4 to 1, with 2 abstentions. Commissioner Sullivan recused herself
from the vote, as she always does on real estate matters.  


Commissioners previously approved a partnership with the City of Indianapolis
to collaborate with the potential buyer. The
mayor’s office had expressed interest in a potential land transfer. Through
this plan, the City will take the lead on the sale of the property and give the
proceeds from the sale to IPS.


has a year to enter into a project agreement with the City. If it does not
close on the purchase of the property by the deadline, the City will buy the
property from IPS.


As a
result of consultation with the City of Indianapolis, the Real Estate Advisory
Committee also recommended the approval of an agreement stating the following:


  • The
    Board will require, in the purchase agreement, that the Developer enter into a
    project agreement with the City within 365 calendar days from the award date.
  • If
    the developer does not close on the purchase of the property within 365 days of
    the award date, the City agrees to purchase the property from IPS at the
    purchase price of the property as submitted in the bid selected by the Board,
    but not to exceed $13 million.
  • The
    City’s environmental liability shall be the same as the developer’s liability
    would have been if the developer had closed.
  • The
    City shall be permitted to conduct a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment to
    prepare for its potential purchase of the property.



step would ensure any potential sale fulfills the vision of the Board,
as carried out by the Real Estate Advisory Committee, to reach an agreement, which
is beneficial to our district and meets the needs of our


It is noteworthy that Board
Commissioners acknowledged the concerns expressed by several speakers who
signed up for public comment about the property sale. Commissioners also shared
some of their own concerns before ultimately approving the deal with Hendricks. 


“Due process will be had. I’m not comfortable doing this
all over again,” said Commissioner Mike O’Connor about the lengthy and complex process that included engaging the Real
Estate Committee to review bids and make a recommendation for the sale of the
Coke Plant.‎ 


The discussion signaled a level
of comfort that city officials would ensure the development of the property is
approximately addressed.



IMPD/OK Mentoring

Public Schools seeks to consistently expand programming to support our students
outside of the classroom.


Commissioners approved
a partnership between IPS and the OK Program, which will provide mentoring services for
African-American boys age 12-18 in collaboration with Indianapolis Metropolitan
Police Department (IMPD).


Through this
partnership, mentors will be paired with male students from Arlington Community
High School and Arsenal Technical High School. IPS will provide office space
for the IMPD officers leading each school’s program, along with the use of
facilities on Saturdays for programming for the students and mentors involved.




As we
maintain continued transparency in our operations, the IPS Finance Division
hosted a public hearing on additional appropriations during the May Agenda
Review Session.


additional appropriation is a request to spend more money than was initially
allotted for the district by the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF)
for a budget year. As IPS transitioned from a calendar year budget to a fiscal
year budget for 2015-2016, DLGF approved a smaller budget amount than was
initially requested by the district. This along with a change in property tax
caps, prompted IPS financial leaders to request additional appropriations to
make up for the lost revenue.


request for appropriations is not uncommon for districts operating on a fiscal
year budget, and DLGF sees this situation regularly with other similar
districts. Many initiatives covered by the additional appropriations would
increase long-term fiscal responsibility, including IPS Strategic Plan 2015
items and the purchase of propane-fueled buses to lower fuel and maintenance
costs for Transportation.


additional appropriations for the 2015-2016 school year budget was approved. Next
steps for district leadership would include submitting the request to DLGF for
final approval.



Technology Standards

IT Officer Laura Larimer provided
Commissioners an update on our district’s baseline technology standards. In
alignment with IPS Strategic Plan 2015, our IT leadership identified baseline
technology needs that must be met in every school and classroom.


These standards ensure that teachers and
students can clearly see and interact with multimedia images, every student can
clearly hear what their teacher is saying and every school will be equipped
with prime wireless access and whiteboard technology.


An initial $7.5M investment allowed each
school’s leadership team the autonomy to choose new devices for teachers and
students to best fit their school’s needs. More than 1,000 Apple devices have
been delivered to schools, and more than 9,000 Windows devices have been
ordered and are currently in the delivery process. As the chart below
indicates, all elements of the baseline technology project are on target for
completion by their scheduled deadline.


Status Report Baseline Technologies  


The district is ensuring that
the new devices are accompanied by adequate professional development offerings
to ensure the schools are well-positioned to maximize their use.


“Schools were given the option to choose
their preference of Apple or Microsoft computers,” said Larimer. “Lots of
‘how-to’ documentation is available for teachers to access some of the better
materials online.”


Culture Update

Improvement Officer Jesse Pratt, who oversees the IPS Transformation Zone
schools, shared an update on the progress of our pilot Opportunity Culture (OC) schools and next steps for
expansion of this model. OC is a strategic initiative to increase the reach of
excellent teachers to more students and offer incentive pay to recruit and
retain top teachers. Teachers can earn up to $18,000 above their base salary by
taking on roles with increased leadership and responsibility.


schools from our Transformation Zone will implement OC models in the fall of


  • Lew
    Wallace School 107
  • Louis
    B. Russell School 48
  • Wendell
    Phillips School 63
  • William
    Penn School 49
  • George
    Washington Community High School
  • Northwest
    Community High School


design teams built their own instructional models to fit the exact needs of
each school community.


IPS has
already initiated steps for expansion of this exciting and innovative strategy;
eight school leadership teams expressed interest in joining the second
Opportunity Culture cohort. School-level design teams will begin work at the
following schools in fall 2016:


  • Arlington
    Community HS
  • Brookside
    School 54
  • Charles
    W. Fairbanks School 105
  • Clarence
    Farrington School 61
  • Elder
    W. Diggs School 42
  • James
    Russell Lowell School 51
  • Ralph
    W. Emerson School 58
  • Washington
    Irving School 14



Evaluation Redesign

Board of School Commissioners Core Commitments and
states that
“effective teachers and great schools are the key to students’ success.”


As our
leadership strives to ensure every IPS school is a great place to teach and
learn, our Human Resources team is redesigning our evaluations process. Human
Resources Talent Officer Mindy Schlegel updated Commissioners on the work of
our dedicated steering committee of 25 IPS teachers, principals and central
office staff. This committee meets regularly to develop a rigorous and fair
evaluation process.


reviewing assessments of the current evaluation rubric, the steering committee
identified the Danielson Framework as an exemplary model for


“I think teachers are more comfortable with
it. It’s more detailed; it takes out some of the objectivity. I think it’s a
good tool,” said Indiana State Teachers Association UniServ Director Ann
Wilkins about the use of the Charlotte Danielson teaching evaluation framework.


sessions and other professional development will be provided to staff over the
summer to ensure implementation can occur in the 2016-2017 school year. Increased
communications efforts and the assistance of teacher leaders will be utilized
to support the transition to this new evaluation model.



Food Service

to our efforts through IPS Strategic Plan
’s Efficient
Operations goal area and the savings created by USDA reimbursement for our
foodservice offerings, IPS will implement new initiatives and improvements
supporting school nutrition.

Deputy Superintendent for Operations Scott Martin shared with Commissioners,
this surplus will be allocated to future annual expenses and a group of
one-time purchases.



  • William
    Penn School 49 cafeteria expansion
  • Cafeteria
    table replacement
  • Salad
    bar expansion
  • Food
  • Smoothie



bars have been very popular with our students, while food trucks and smoothie
machines will bring additional fun to students and staff!


related capital improvements would require a USDA waiver, which IPS is
currently seeking. We look forward to sharing these exciting upgrades with our


“That operation and the amount of meals they
prepare for our students is unbelievable. It is a huge operation, said
Commissioner Kelly Bentley about the IPS Food Services central kitchen. “I want
to give kudos to our Food Services staff. They have an amazing facility out
there. They are our unsung heroes.”