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Top 10 IPS Stories: 2022–23 School Year

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is a district with momentum! 

Our Top 10 list of stories for the 2022–23 school year offers just a glimpse into the dynamic and talented community of IPS students and staff, shining a spotlight on their extraordinary achievements and initiatives. These narratives are a testament to the district’s unwavering dedication to excellence. 

There were many exciting and transformative things that happened at IPS this school year — including the unanimous approval of our bold and courageous Rebuilding Stronger Plan, which is our commitment to ensure there are excellent choices open to every single one of our students, in every school, in every neighborhood. And we can’t forget to mention the overwhelming approval by voters during the May primary of our 2023 Capital Referendum, a vital component of the Rebuilding Stronger Plan. With an impressive $410 million budget, IPS is poised to undertake essential renovations across more than 20 elementary and middle schools. This substantial investment ensures that IPS students will thrive in safe, contemporary, and well-equipped learning environments that foster their academic triumphs. 

But there was so much more that happened this year. So let’s get into the stories that made our Top Ten list. Prepare to be inspired!

10) Schools across district working to implement ‘Take Care, Be Aware’ campaign

Tim Clevenger, the principal of Theodore Potter School 74, is dedicated to the safety of his students as part of the districtwide “Take Care, Be Aware” initiative — which schools across the district are participating in. This traffic safety campaign extends both outside and inside of schools. 

Clevenger and many staff members wear reflective vests and hold traffic signs to direct traffic during the morning and afternoon hours. They ensure the safety of parents driving, students walking or biking, and buses transporting children to and from the school.

9) The Future: Ernie Pyle School 90 Students Getting a Head Start on Coding

At Ernie Pyle School 90, young students are learning the basics of computer coding to prepare them for career opportunities in the coming decades. The block-based coding curriculum focuses on developing computational thinking and is aimed at preparing students for future career opportunities. Starting from kindergarten, students learn about the capabilities of computers and gradually progress to activities such as navigating a robotic dog through a maze and creating online games. 

8) IPS Graduation Rates Steadily Improving Due to Increasing Emphasis on Academics, Teacher Support

Over the past two years, graduation rates in IPS have been steadily increasing, thanks to various programs aimed at enhancing academic rigor and supporting teachers. While the state graduation rate has slightly declined, IPS has seen improvements. In 2020, the IPS graduation rate was 74.8% compared to the state average of 87.7%. By 2022, the IPS rate rose to 80% while the state average fell to 86.6%.

The district attributes this progress to closely monitoring students’ progress, providing support through reports and resources like the SAT Suite of Assessments and Khan Academy. IPS is on track to meet its goal of increasing the graduation rate to 87% by 2025.

7) Cummins, IPS partner to launch company’s Technical Education for Communities (TEC) program at Arsenal Tech

IPS and Cummins Inc. have launched the Cummins TEC: Technical Education for Communities program at Arsenal Technical High School. The program aims to improve career pathways for Black youth in Indianapolis and other cities. Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson expressed gratitude for the partnership, highlighting how it aligns with IPS’ mission to prepare students for the district’s 3E’s: enrollment, enlistment and employment after high school graduation. 


6) Single Gold Coin Leads to Hours of Reading Adventures

Meredith Nicholson School 96 has installed a book vending machine in its media center, providing students with the opportunity to select books by inserting a gold coin. The machine holds 200 to 300 books, with options categorized by grade level. Students earn gold coins through incentives such as reaching attendance and academic goals.

5) IPS Educators Advocate for Physical, Health Education in Visit to Washington
Andrew Bartolacci, a physical education teacher, and Kathy Langdon, the physical education and health coach at IPS, visited Washington, D.C., as part of SPEAK Out! Day to raise awareness about physical and health education. 

During their visit, they met with elected officials and discussed the importance of including health and physical education in federal legislation and policy. They highlighted the positive initiatives implemented by IPS, such as the “Take Care, Be Aware” traffic safety campaign, increased professional development for staff, and a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.

4) Ten IPS Buildings Earn Certification for Superior Energy Efficiency
Ten buildings within IPS have been awarded the ENERGY STAR certification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their superior energy efficiency. These buildings achieved a score of 75 or higher on the EPA’s 1-100 scale, indicating their better performance compared to similar buildings nationwide. 

By partnering with Cenergistic, IPS has implemented an energy conservation program that has resulted in a 25% reduction in energy use since 2018, saving the district $18.1 million in energy costs. In 2022 alone, IPS reduced energy consumption by 28.1%, leading to $5 million in savings and significant environmental benefits equivalent to removing 5,345 cars from the road or planting 65,788 trees.

3) IPS Receives Diversity in Leadership Award for Prioritizing Racial Equity
IPS recently received the Diversity in Leadership Award at the 22nd Annual Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity Awards. The award recognizes IPS for fostering a culture of growth and supporting diversity at the upper-level leadership positions. 

The district’s commitment to racial equity as a strategic priority and its efforts to provide job-embedded coaching and training for diverse staff to advance into leadership roles were acknowledged. The award ceremony, attended by Mayor Joe Hogsett, local employers, and community members, highlighted the importance of inclusivity and progress in the Indianapolis community.

2) IU Health Fellowship Program Welcomes Third Class of Crispus Attucks Students
Crispus Attucks High School freshman Shadaye Moore joined the Indiana University Health and IPS fellowship program, which trains students for careers in the healthcare industry. Moore and 37 of her classmates became the third cohort of fellows in the program, which aims to increase diversity in the medical field. 

Throughout the four-year program, fellows will receive healthcare training, participate in enrichment activities, job shadowing, internships, and other work-based learning opportunities. Upon completion, fellows will be offered positions at IU Health and receive guidance for further education.

1) Data shows no summer learning loss for IPS students last fall
IPS students experienced minimal learning loss upon returning to classes last fall. Comparing the fall of 2021 to 2022, the on-grade level percentages for ELA and Math were ahead by approximately 2 and 5 percentage points, respectively. Much is attributed to the strong scores to investments in academic support programs as part of the district’s Strategic Plan 2025. IPS has achieved significant progress, including a reduction in course failure rates, increased passing grades, and a decrease in failing grades. Black and Latinx students have made gains that have been largely sustained, while suspensions and chronic absenteeism have decreased. IPS continues to implement initiatives to improve graduation rates and has prioritized adopting accessible and culturally relevant curriculum to enhance academic rigor.