Guiding Principle: Ensure all students have access to high-quality and rigorous curriculum and instruction, PLUS access to enrichment programming and athletic offerings.
Reorganization Advisory Committee: Meeting 5 Summary
On May 19, the Rebuilding Stronger community process continued with the fifth meeting of the reorganization advisory committee, covering our final topic in this series: IPS Student Experience.
As IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson made clear in her State of the District in fall 2021, everyone in the IPS community should have access to a school that “no one would see as a risk, or a sacrifice, or a trade-off. A school that any family would be delighted to send their children to because everything about that school communicated to their child their inherent value and worth. All that. In every neighborhood and every school in Indianapolis Public Schools.” That means we need to rebuild the student experience — to ensure access to high-quality academics PLUS enrichments and athletics in all of our schools.
The Cost of Small Schools
We started off the session with a deep-dive into the cost of running small schools: Small schools spend $1,500 more per pupil than non-small schools. Why? Because the fixed costs associated with “running a school” means that our smaller schools that cover more grade bands (K-8, instead of K-5, for example) have fewer dollars to spread to the classroom level. And that impacts what we are able to offer as part of the student experience in small schools:
- Our K-8 choice schools serve, on average, 25% more students per school than our K-8 neighborhood schools and are able to offer students twice as many enrichment opportunities.
- Our K-6 schools, on average, serve 25% fewer students per school than our K-8 schools, and are able to offer only 40% the number of enrichment experiences to students.
What we want to offer every student
As it stands today, our elementary school principals are often forced to make choices that they shouldn’t have to — between art, music, technology or physical education. Most schools can afford only to do one or two of those, especially the small schools. Our high schools can’t offer the diversity of advanced courses and athletic offerings that set students up for college. We know our constrained offerings don’t allow us to create the best conditions to cultivate the many strengths and interests our children have. It’s limiting, at a very early stage, and we want to change this. We’ve heard from the community a desire for every school to provide access to enrichment programs, access to athletics, and access to upper level math coursework.
Access to Enrichment Programs
- On average, our high schools offer twice as many in-day enrichment classes as our K-8 schools. Our 7-8 schools offer less than our K-8 schools, and our K-6 schools offer the least.
- Students at our K-8 choice schools have access to over twice as many enrichment classes as students in our neighborhood K-8 schools.
- On average, our IPS-run choice schools are able to offer students over three times the number of in-day enrichment classes as our neighborhood schools.
Access to Athletic Offerings
- While every school can access all 10 of our IPS athletic offerings, overall our schools offer an average of 6.
- On average, an IPS 7-8 middle school offers 9 athletic programs while a neighboring township offers 13 athletic programs at their middle school.
- Both the demand and opportunity to staff athletic programs vary by school enrollment. For example, at one of our 7-8 buildings, the total number of students is 6 times the amount of the 7-8 students at one K-8 building.
Access to Upper Level Math Coursework
- Students in Grades 7-8 have inconsistent access to advanced coursework math, depending on the school that they attend.
- Of the 12 schools that offer Algebra I, 11 of them are choice schools and 1 is a neighborhood school.
- Of the 12 schools that offer Algebra I, 2 of them serve a population of students that is above the District’s median BIPOC population percentage.
Join the Conversation: We need YOU to help us reinvent, rebuild, redesign!
- Join us: Our final meeting of the Rebuilding Stronger Reorganization Advisory Committee will take place on June 23 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at William Penn School 49.
- This meeting is the capstone of our discussion. We’ll bring together all the data we’ve discussed in previous sessions to create a complete picture of what it will take to Rebuild Stronger.
- Quick reminder: All committee meetings are open to the public. Can’t make the June meeting? Missed a previous meeting? Meetings are also recorded and put on the IPS website on the Rebuilding Stronger page.
ICYMI: What is the Reorganization Advisory Committee?
This committee is made up of parents and students, teachers and school leaders, Board members and other elected officials, community organizations, nonprofits and the business community. The committee is tasked with reviewing and discussing assessments on facilities, student experience, enrollment and choice, and finances to provide IPS with feedback and recommendations.