The Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners met Tuesday, September 26 for an Agenda Review Session and on Thursday, September 28 for an Action Session. 

Topics included:

School Quality Review Update

Innovation Officer Aleesia Johnson provideed an update on the IPS School Quality Review (SQR) process. The 2017-18 school year marks the first year that the administration has implemented the process for schools that have been identified as low performing according to state assessment data.

What Audiences Need to Know


  • SQR is applied to schools IPS determines are low-performing as a means of intervention and support before the state gets involved.
  • That determination is made by first taking schools that fall in the bottom quartile on their proficiency test scores; and then of those schools taking the ones that showed the least amount of growth year over year.
  • SQR will provide contextual and qualitative data to better inform IPS’ decisions and recommendations.

Schools Under SQR Review

  1. Emma Donnan Elementary School
  2. George S. Buck School 94
  3. James Whitcomb Riley School 43
  4. Louis B. Russell Jr. School 48
  5. Washington Irving School 14
  6. William McKinley School 39
  7. Harshman Middle School


  • When performing an SQR, the district looks at qualitative data to get the story behind the low-performing numbers. Sometimes that story is positive in that the low numbers are a big improvement over where the schools were previously rated.  Sometimes those stories are not good.  But, the district uses this information to determine what interventions are required.
  • A cross-functional team of district leaders scheduled a one-day visit at each school to interview administrators, teachers, students, community partners and make classroom observations to gather information.


  • April 2017-Identified schools that would receive a SQR based on 2015-16 ISTEP+ data
  • May-July 2017-Developed and trained IPS staff on SQR processes.

Met with or provided information to various stakeholder groups of schools receiving a SQR

  • August 2017-Started conducting SQR site visits
  • September 2017-Complete site visits
  • November 2017-Share findings with the IPS Board of School Commissioners and make appropriate recommendations



Human Resources Policy and Guidelines Revisions

Consolidate, generalize and refresh Human Resources policies to eliminate redundancies, irrelevant or contradictory guidelines to reflect high-level principles and commitments.

Efficient & Streamlined Business Practices

Strategic Plan 2.5-IPS will increase and improve employee recruitment efforts by 100 percent based upon a review of industry standards and district best practices by 2018, as measured by district data

  • FMLA
  • Modernize to align with best practices
  • Move to 12-month calculation period instead of fiscal year
  • Discipline
  • Differentiates conduct vs. job performance
  • Focuses on coaching and alternative measures
  • Provides guidance for managers to conduct investigation
  • Attendance
  • Creates attendance policy
  • Unifies tardiness and absenteeism with the concept of “dependability”
  • Includes expectations of teachers
  • Compensatory Time Off
  • Creates annual cap on accruable comp time hours
  • Prioritizes utilization of compensatory time vs. overtime
  • Creates payout for unused comp time balances annually


Passed 5-0

Reinventing IPS High Schools

Superintendent Ferebee presented a resolution to approve the implementation of an all-choice program model at IPS high schools beginning in 2018-19 

School Autonomy & Accountability

Strategic Plan 1.7-IPS will provide research-based tools and support for high schools that assist students with coursework and progression toward their desired post-secondary goals by 2018, as measured by district data.

What Audiences Need to Know

  • Research demonstrates robust College- and Career-Themed academies that combine rigorous academic instruction with work-based learning opportunities show:
  • Increased student engagement
  • Reductions in the dropout rate
  • Improved attendance
  • Increases in on-time graduation
  • Other positive student outcomes.
  • The purpose of high school is to ensure every IPS student graduates prepared to be successfully enrolled in a two- or four-year college program, enlisted for military service, or employed at a livable wage.


  • Students can experience internships and apprenticeships through the College- and Career-Themed Academies
  • Students can earn college credit through Early and Middle College
  • Students can earn certification from the various 45 pathways to go straight to work earning a livable wage when they graduate


  • Future Centers
  • Provide intensive counseling for students around their career goals and their future.
  • The idea is to ensure that students are well-versed in the options available and choose the options based on their interest
  • Counselors help students identify options based on the skills they have and the things they enjoy doing.
  • During the first year of the new high school experience, the district will make it a priority to make sure seniors have the credits necessary to cross the finish line and graduate

Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, IPS will operate four high schools with the following programs and academies:

  • Arsenal Technical High School:
    • Construction, Engineering and Design Academy (new)
    • Math and Science (current)
    • New Tech High (current)
    • Career Technology Center (current)
    • Law and Public Policy Program (current)
  • Crispus Attucks High School
    • Health Sciences Academy (new)
    • Teaching, Learning and Leading Academy (new)
  • George Washington High School
    • Information Technology Academy (new)
    • Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics Academy (new)
    • Business and Finance Academy (new)
  • Shortridge High School
    • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (current)
    • International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme (new)

To help students and families prepare, IPS will hold nine individualized informational sessions during the week of October 2, 2017. Families will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with IPS Choice program experts and transition counselors to learn more about the options available and get assistance with the enrollment process.

Individualized information sessions are available at the following times and locations:

Monday, October 2, 3-7 p.m.
George Washington High School
Shortridge High School

Tuesday, October 3, 3-7 p.m.
Arsenal Technical High School
Crispus Attucks High School

Wednesday, October 4, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
George Washington High School
Shortridge High School

Thursday, October 5, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Arsenal Technical High School
Crispus Attucks High School

Saturday, October 7, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
John Morton Finney Center for Educational Services
120 E. Walnut St.


Passed 5-0

RightFit Program-Memorandum of Agreement

School commissioners approved an MOA with the RightFit Program to partner with the district for a second year to feed students within the district, instruct on healthy living and exercise, and engage in meaningful relationships with the law enforcement community.

  • The 2017-18 program adds new schools


Passed 5-0

Amended School Profile-IDOE Amendment Form

This amendment creates unique program codes for the Marion County Jail School and IPS’ Residential Special Education programs. Previously, students who served at the above programs were included on enrollment counts for the neighborhood school, which would otherwise serve them.


Passed 5-0

Repeal and Replace of BP 2281-Parent and Family Invovlement

Consolidates and refreshes policy last revised in 2006 to:

  • Align with the Board’s Core Commitments and Beliefs
  • Introduce additional school-level flexibility
  • Identify district-level supports
  • Provide for required annual updates



Revision to BP 2620-Innovation Network Schools

The proposed revision seeks to define the essential terms of an innovation network agreement and clarify the circumstances in which a modification of adjustment to an agreement requires approval by the Board of School Commissioners.

The changes:

  • Provide the Administration authority to execute amendments to “non-essential” terms of Innovation Agreements
  • Require reporting of amendments with the Innovation Operator’s semi-annual report to the Board
  • Maintain Board approval requirement for any amendment to “essential” terms (e.g. term, location, grades, attendance area, enrollment, instructional model, material financial matters)


Passed 5-0

Ignite Achievement Academy-School Nursing Agreement

This agreement specifically relates to school nursing services to be provided by IPS to Ignite Achievement Academy.  Both parties agree that this is an efficient way to meet the medical needs of all students in the building.


Passed 5-0

Emma Donnan Special Education Funding-Innovation Agreement Amendment

IPS will amend its agreement with Emma Donnan to no longer make the school responsible for providing all special education services to the school. IPS will now provide such services in exchange for withholding funds for services rendered. Those services will include:

  • Psychologists
  • Special Education Specialists
  • Compliance Monitors
  • Occupational & Physical Therapists


Passed 5-0

Global Preparatory Academy & Kindezi Academy Testing Responsibility Agreements

Currently, under the Innovation Network Charter Agreements (grades K-3), the schools hold all responsibility for administration of State testing. For grades 4-6, IPS maintains responsibility for test administration. This agreement transfers all testing for Global Prep and Kindezi.


Passed 5-0

Resolution in Support of Undocumented Students and Families

Board President Mary Ann Sullivan and Vice President Michael O’Connor presented a Resolution in Support of Undocumented Students and Families 

  • IPS is committed to creating a safe, supportive and welcoming learning environment for every student regardless of nationality or immigration status.
  • The Board of School Commissioners recognizes the tremendous value and diversity that immigrant students and families bring to the school district.
  • The uncertainty regarding the permanent status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) creates fear and insecurity for undocumented students and families.
  • In February 2017, the Board approved a resolution affirming its commitment to creating a safe and supportive learning environment for all students regardless of immigration status
  • Be it resolved:
  • The Board-and every person it employs-remains committed to standing with and supporting all IPS students and families to the fullest extent possible.
  • The Board encourages Congress, especially those elected officials who represent the students and families of IPS and the President to work constructively towards a permanent solution that protects the security and promotes the future of undocumented children brought to the United States.


Passed 5-0