At Indianapolis Public Schools we recently continued our
important work of supporting designated priority schools on July 20, 21 and 22
with the Department of Innovation and Transformation’s 2015 Priority Schools
Summer Institute.

Mercedes Moore, a K-6 ELA Instructional
Coach with the department, said, “For elementary schools, the institute is for
all elementary school teachers (except “special area” teachers) and
principals. For secondary schools, the institute is for reading, ELA, and math
teachers and principals.”

Principal Karen Hastings from Washington Irving School 14
said, “This is a great opportunity to bring staff together before the hectic
rush when the building opens for teachers to get classrooms ready for students
and administration lays out refreshed and enhanced policy and procedures.”

Participating schools included:

  • Washington Irving School 14
  • Elder W. Diggs School 42
  • Riverside School 44
  • James Russell Lowell School 51
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson School 58
  • Clarence Farrington School 61
  • Joyce Kilmer School 69
  • Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and
    Humanities
  • John Marshall Community High School
  • Arlington Community High School

The theme for the institute was “Developing and Empowering
for the Next Level,” and staff and leadership from the schools heard keynote
addresses like:

  • Baruti Kafele on motivating urban learners
  • Randy Sprick on positive behavior
  • Bonnie Davis on creating schools of cultural
    consideration

They also spent time in breakout sessions focusing on
reading and math instruction. Schools have appreciated the opportunities for
collaboration and instruction.

Hastings was happy to find one of the keynote speakers was
someone whose content she and her staff were already using in her school. “I
was excited to hear about the work being done with Baruti Kafele. We have
actually adopted his empowering young males video series entitled, Message to
Your Son, in our own Washington Irving Man Up program. We will continue
studying his work with book studies on Closing
the Attitude Gap:  How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success

and Motivating Black Males to Achieve in
School and in Life
.”

“The teachers and administrators are loving the
collaboration and the resources that are being provided,” said Principal
Ashauna Short of John Marshall, whose school hosted the institute. “The
principals have even been receiving time to meet with the presenters in a small
group after each keynote to learn how to better implement their strategies in
our schools.”

We’re happy to offer our priority schools this opportunity
for professional instruction and support, and to help teachers and principals
dial in on the information and attitudes that will help all our students in
those schools succeed in the coming year!

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