If you work in a school district, summer must be the easiest
time of year, right? For many Indianapolis Public Schools 12-month employees,
we’re right in the middle of crunch time! To find out what goes on behind the
scenes as students and parents count down the final days of summer, we went
straight to some of the busiest areas of the district.

This is the first summer as a principal for Francis W.
Parker Montessori School 56’s Christine Rembert, and it has been a busy one! As
one of the few 12-month employees in the building, elementary principals find
themselves acting as administrative assistants, social workers, and any other
role that’s needed throughout the summer.

“The reason I’m in education is because of the people; it’s
a people business,” said Rembert. “In the summer you’re here all by yourself,
writing policies and procedures. But every single thing I do here in the summer
has a kid attached to it. Every policy I write is because of a situation
involving a student, and I want to ensure our students have the best experience
possible.”

Another piece of a principal’s summer job that might
surprise you is facilities management. This summer, Francis W. Parker is
hosting a construction crew for facilities upgrades and a technology team to
rewire the building for increased technology access for all students and staff.
Rembert advises the teams as questions arise, along with overseeing the
deep-clean her custodial team is completing to prepare for a fresh start next
month.

“It’s busy, but I love it!” Rembert added.

Our principals don’t
have to go through the summer totally alone, though – our Academic Improvement
Officers (AIOs) are on the clock in the off-season to ensure principals have
all the tools they need in preparation for a successful school year.

“We work through checklists with every
principal for the closing of school in May and the opening of school in
August,” said Magnet Learning Community AIO Greg Newlin. “This way we set the
same expectations at each school, and we know all of our families will have the
smoothest start possible as we begin another amazing year.”

The AIOs host professional development workshops for new principals to learn more about IPS and the resources
available to help their students succeed. Veteran principals receive guidance,
too, as the AIOs meet with each principal to review their school’s safety plan,
staff handbook, student handbook and other materials updated for the new school
year. Our Academic team also hosts a Summer Leadership Institute, a multi-day
workshop to inform and inspire our school leaders as school reconvenes.

All of this work is meaningless without
students in the classrooms, and that’s where our Office of Student Assignment
(OSA) comes in. The OSA team is running at full speed through the summer to
ensure new and returning families receive a warm welcome for the 2015-16 school
year.

The biggest event of the summer for OSA is
Open Enrollment; our one-stop shop provides families with all the services they
need to start the year strong with IPS. For more information on dates and times
for Open Enrollment, click here. OSA will work with school-based staff to
ensure families are able to enroll at their neighborhood
schools with ease.

For students and families eagerly awaiting
their chance to attend one of our popular magnet schools, OSA manages the
waitlist for our schools already at capacity. In the event a magnet family
moves out of Indianapolis, our Student Assignment team helps the next student
to join our amazing magnet programs.

As students are assigned to school for the fall, someone has
to ensure they’ll arrive safely! Our Transportation Department is working this
summer to ensure our students receive seamless service when being transported
across the district.

Transportation has a team constantly working out the
logistics of our bus routes, determining the most efficient paths for each bus
and assigning appropriate stops to serve all students. We also welcome new bus
drivers to the transportation team each summer, and all drivers complete
comprehensive training to guarantee the safest possible journey for all bus
riders.

Looking ahead to the new year, our transportation leaders
also seek out ways to improve service and efficiency for the IPS family. This
year, two areas of focus are working out more efficient fueling processes and
fine-tuning field trip scheduling to ensure no time is wasted throughout the
day.

As divisions across the district execute their back to
school plans, the Public Relations Division (PRD) works collaboratively with
all departments and schools to share important information with our students,
families and community stakeholders. Our design team is assisting principals to
ensure school and staff handbooks are informative and user-friendly, attractive
and printed and distributed on time. The Service Center teams up with many
departments to fine-tune and distribute documents, presentations and other
helpful materials. One of the most important pieces of mail families get all
year, students’ bus stop assignments, is a team effort between Transportation
and PRD! Knowledgeable Service Center Associates answer phone calls to address
any questions or concerns our parents, staff and students can bring our way.
Please don’t hesitate to call us at 226.4000!

In addition to support services, our digital and media teams
are spreading the word of our back to school initiatives online and in the
news. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates on
our district events and initiatives including Open Enrollment, open houses and
the many exciting school-based events in our community. Our website has a
dedicated Back to School page that
features this year’s revised dress code, school supply lists for the
year, and other important updates. Don’t be surprised to see back to school
updates on TV, in the local papers, or hear a spot on the radio; PRD is here to
ensure IPS is everywhere this summer!

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These are only a few of the preparations going on behind the
scenes this summer; all IPS 12-month employees are on the job this season to
make 2015-16 the best year yet!

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