It’s our
time to shine, and teamIPS did just that last Friday at our 2016 District


5,000 IPS employees filled the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the Indiana State
Fairgrounds for our second annual Convocation, sponsored by AT&T and Grand Canyon University.Arlington High School Convocation 2016


A sea of
spirit signs, school colors and comical cardboard cutouts added to the
festivities. Our enthusiastic keynote speaker Carrie Cline, WTHR anchor/reporter, kept the
energy high by providing regular “spirit breaks” so employees could represent
their school in the biggest, boldest way.


This year, we
held a talent search to identify Convocation performers to take center stage.
Though it was difficult to narrow down which musicians would perform, the
following entertainers were invited to participate:


  • Amy Dolphin, ballet accompanist at
    Broad Ripple High School for the Arts and Humanities, provided an impressive
    keyboard rendition of the National Anthem.
  • Anne Deckard and Mario Salinas, English
    as a Second Language representatives, serenaded us with the Beatles classic “Can’t
    Buy Me Love” while playing the keyboard and acoustic guitar, respectively.
  • The (unofficial) IPS All Star Band,
    featuring Dr. Yvonne Stokes, P.J. Majors, Paul Riley, Damon Smith, James
    Gilson, Bryan Thompson, Matthew Jackson and Denise Johnson, wowed us with Earth
    Wind & Fire’s “Shining Star” and Kelly Price’s “It’s My Time.”


Between the
music and giveaways, important messages were delivered.


speaker Robert Jackson emphasized the value of building
relationships with students. And IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee explained
what it will take from everyone to ensure IPS is the school district of choice.


Dr. Ferebee described
the many ways in which the district is on the path to excellence, noting that
we continue to maintain our highest graduation rate ever, with almost 100
percent of our students having post-secondary plans to enlist in the armed
forces, enroll in a college or university or become gainfully employed. He also
reminded the crowd that the district has expanded preschool seats by more than
50 percent, with our former preschool students outperforming their peers when
they reach primary grades.


“More third-grade
students are reading on grade level – as measured by IREAD 3,” said Dr.
Ferebee. “Third grade reading proficiency is the indicator touted as the
projection used to build prisons. Third grade reading reserves our babies seats
in prison. As educators and supporters of educators, know that we are headed in
the right direction.”


also included important updates on Academics, Finance and Autonomy and
Innovation from Dr. Wanda H. Legrand, Weston Young and Aleesia Johnson, respectively.


Teacher of
the Year winner Micah Nelson gave recognition to other outstanding teamIPS
members, including Teacher of the Year finalists, Hubbard Award Winners and the
Superintendent Advisory Council. Indianapolis Education Association President
Rhondalyn Cornett talked about the association and its benefits.


members of teamIPS helped to make Convocation a success, but we couldn’t have
done it without our generous sponsors. We’d like to extend a special thank you
to our title sponsor, AT&T. Bill Soards, president of AT&T Indiana, provided details on the
services that benefit IPS families and employees. His team further engaged our
staff about AT&T’s services in the lobby.


Grand Canyon
University, another valued sponsor, also set up shop in the lobby to bring our
staff up to speed on its accredited programs.


OurHealth’s Vice President of Engagement Katie Vicars addressed our team with
details of how the organization is working with IPS to keep our staff healthy.
To give lucky winners a head start on their fitness journey, OurHealth
registered interested employees for a chance to win a pair of custom Nike
athletic shoes. The organization also contributed a Fitbit to our stash of coveted


We also
appreciate the other generous organizations who provided prizes, including United Art & Education, Indy Fuel and Iron Skillet Restaurant.


This year’s
spirited celebration excites us for what’s ahead!


definitely our time to shine!

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