April 2019 Board Highlights

When the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners convened for its Agenda Review Session on Tuesday, April 23, and Board Action Session on Thursday, April 25, topics included updates on the high school reinvention, a quarterly finance update, a review of the IPS Education Foundation and much more.

What follows is a deeper look at the agenda items.

The Love of Reading Project Update

Interim Superintendent Aleesia Johnson and project leaders from the Central Indiana Community Foundation presented an update on The Love of Reading Project, a partnership between IPS, CICF and the Herbert Simon Family Foundation.

What Audiences Need to Know:

The LOR mission is to increase grade-level reading attainment in elementary school children by cultivating a love of reading through an integrated framework co-created with families, schools and communities. The project was designed to honor the legacy of Herbert Simon who said books saved his life.

Key Messages:

  • The project includes an integrated framework of environment, skills and materials.
  • Key components include:
  • A re-imagined and re-designed physical space.
  • Additional staff dedicated to grade-level reading attainment.
  • Increased access to expanded book collections at school and home.
  • The three participating schools are:
  • Francis W. Parker School 56
  • Meredith Nicholson School 96
  • Jonathan Jennings School 109
  • The space renovations are underway at each of the three schools.
  • The purchase of the first round of new books will take place in May.

High School Reinvention Update

IPS Postsecondary Readiness Officer, Jennifer O’Shea, presented an overview of the new high school experience, including an update on the implementation of career academies and new high school options.

What Audiences Need to Know:

In the fall of 2018, IPS consolidated high schools, implemented an All-Choice High School model, created additional Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways, College & Career-Themed Academies, and implemented Future Centers in each of the four newly reconfigured high schools.

Here’s a look at the enrollment numbers across all of our high school options:

Current high school options.

Key Messages:

  • Construction projects are underway at each high school to complete upgraded, new and relevant spaces for the options each school provides.
  • The IPS Future Centers have a dedicated space and staff in each high school to provide:
    • 3E programming and resources.
    • Access to employer and community partnerships.
    • Leadership opportunities for student ambassadors.
Future Center statistics.
  • IPS high school successes and celebrations include:
  • Investments by JPMorgan Chase, IU Health, Salesforce and the Lilly Foundation.
  • The district’s first Junior Achievement Inspire Job Fair for seniors seeking employment.
  • Arsenal Technical High School’s Construction Trades class is building a tiny home.
  • George Washington High School successfully launched its Career Fair Day in November.
  • Shortridge High School students will participate in a Week Without Walls on May 28-31.
  • Crispus Attucks High School’s Health Sciences Academy students will participate in the Mini Med School program.
  • The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council launched in February 2019.
  • The council includes nine students representing all IPS and Innovation high schools.
  • The students meet monthly with Interim Superintendent Johnson at the IPS Ed Center.

Quarterly Finance Update

IPS Chief Financial Manager, Weston Young, provided an update on the third quarter of the 2018-19 school year, including the status of district funds, financial management projects and priorities, and initiatives in progress.

What Audiences Need to Know:

IPS is committed to financial accountability. Over the past four years, IPS has voluntarily pursued greater transparency and more robust external financial statement reporting.

Key Messages:

  • Financial reporting system upgrades are in process to automate business workflows, enhance information sharing and improve decision-making.
  • In March 2019, S&P modified its outlook on IPS’ credit rating from negative to stable, affirming its “A” rating.
  • IPS has completed a refund of $100 million in bonds, saving local taxpayers $10 million.
  • IPS is preparing to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) audited financial statement reporting in order to issue debt after August 2020.

IPS Education Foundation Update

IPS Education Foundation Executive Director, Stephannie Bailey, and IPS Special Projects Director, Joe Gramelspacher, presented an update on the IPSEF partnership.

What Audiences Need to Know:

The IPS Education Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the district that increases resources for IPS through strategic and intentional fundraising. The goal is to grow to a minimum of $15 million raised and distributed yearly.

Key Messages:

  • IPS priorities for fundraising include:
  • Developing and empowering talented educators.
  • Building and sustaining a high-performing organization.
  • Supporting students and providing academic enrichment.
  • The IPSEF fundraising framework includes:
  • The Annual Fund to collect funds from individual donors and receive corporate gifts.
  • Major Gifts from corporations, foundations and competitive grants.

Collected funds are distributed to IPS to cover the following:

  • Micro grants
  • Special events
  • Programs and projects
  • Districtwide strategic initiatives
Key successes