“We want 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.”Dr. Aleesia Johnson, State of the District 2021
Background: Vision and Priorities
During this fall’s State of the District, Dr. Aleesia Johnson kicked off a year-long community engagement process to Rebuild Stronger. As she said then, our vision for IPS is clear — a sustainable district that serves all our students with excellence, warmth, support and love, and that never again sorts children’s possibilities. She also made clear: we need to develop the solutions to get there together.
Advisory Committee: First Meeting
On February 28th, the Rebuilding Stronger community process continued with the first meeting of a new advisory committee, made up of parents and students, teachers and school leaders, Board members and other elected officials, community organizations and nonprofits, and the business community. The committee is reviewing internal data and third-party assessments on facilities, school performance, academic programming, enrollment, and more to assist the district in developing draft plans. Read more from the meeting below — or watch a recording of the full meeting HERE.
We are in a moment in which it has become more evident than ever the important role our schools play in our communities. We must not miss the opportunity to strengthen them – to give ALL students a shot at excellence. We know we need structural changes, and we believe the time for that is now while we have the time to discuss decisions as a community.
Strengths to Build From
We are starting from a place of many strengths and assets:
- We have a rich history in our city and serve a diverse community of students and families.
- We offer many high-quality choices across the district.
- We’ve invested in the pay of our teachers and leaders and our staff retention rates are rising.
- We have incredible partners and supporters across the city.
Defining the Challenge
We know our strengths, but we also know we’ve got work to do. At the meeting, the committee began diving into the data, centered around 4 key areas:
- Student experience: We know too many of our students are not experiencing strong academic performance and their school experience varies depending on the school they attend. Proficiency gaps are growing for Black, Latino, low-income and English-Language Learner students, and vary by what type of school a student attends. How do we improve student mobility and build a district that is excellent AND equitable?
- Facilities: 25% of our buildings are in poor or worse condition, and it would cost over $460 million to bring every building to “good” or better. How should we best use our facilities so every child is in a building that is safe, warm, and welcoming?
- Enrollment and Choice: Overall enrollment is increasing throughout our family of IPS schools, but we need to work to drive that same growth across all IPS schools. How do we ensure every child has access to excellent schools and a variety of programs?
- Financial Sustainability: We’re taking key steps to invest in students and teachers, while also stabilizing our budget. But we need to make more decisions to ensure we don’t go into the red. How do we make our budget sustainable for the long-term?
Join the Conversation: We need YOU to help us reinvent, rebuild, redesign!
Join us to help think through these critical questions on the journey to Rebuild Stronger! The next meeting of the Rebuilding Stronger Reorganization Committee is on Thursday, March 17th, from 6-7:30PM at Eleanor Skillen School 34 (1410 Wade St.)
For a full list of meeting dates, times and locations, click HERE.
Want to learn more?
- WATCH: Rebuilding Stronger Kickoff Speech
- READ: Indianapolis Public Schools superintendent outlines goals for more equitable district (WTHR)
- DISCUSS: “Attucks: The School That Opened a City” (WFYI)