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Potential School Shifts: Get Involved Now!

Indianapolis Public Schools needs your input as we prepare to make some very important recommendations to our Board of School Commissioners for the 2017-2018 school year. Join the conversation – your feedback is vital to the successful future of our district!

 

In recent years, many of our families expressed interest in seeing better options for our middle grades (7thand 8th grade) students. The community high school model has not yielded high student achievement, and we must provide opportunities to ensure student success. Last year, the Board of School Commissioners gave IPS leadership the directive to transition away from community high schools. We have committed to creating rigorous and supportive solutions for our middle grades students in IPS Strategic Plan 2015. 

 

While we work to create more immediate opportunities for a true middle grades experience, we are also committed to thoughtfully expanding attractive and rewarding high school options over time. The popularity and success of our career-centered programs sparked a conversation on additional high school academies for our students preparing to enter college or the workforce. These choice academies would connect students with opportunities for career planning, industry certification, and developing relationships with local universities and businesses. We begin focusing on post-secondary planning in our middle grades, and the many opportunities supported by these academies would prepare students for employment at a livable wage, enlistment in the military, or enrollment in a college, university or certification program. Note: There is no discussion on discontinuing existing IPS choice programming. The district endeavors to seek input on potentially implementing additional high school academic programs based upon high interest, industry trends and partnerships with local businesses, colleges and universities. 

 

IPS held a series of school community meetings recently at Northwest Community High School, George Washington Community High School, John Marshall Community High School and Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities. District leaders shared information with families, students and school staff about the potential opportunities for our secondary students beginning with the coming school year.

 

As we explore these exciting possibilities, these new programs would require an eventual shift in the structure of our current high schools. IPS currently has 5300+ high school students within eight (8) buildings that have a combined capacity of 15,000+. There are currently over 9600 available high school seats across the district, which is a costly impact on operational dollars that could be used to support our classrooms and educator compensation. It is necessary to increase student achievement for our secondary grades while simultaneously ensuring we are utilizing our resources more efficiently. For these reasons, our families were invited to take part in the first steps of the planning process. We heard from students, staff and families this spring and summer through focus groups, surveys and community town hall meetings. That feedback assisted us in developing initial ideas for the future, but we strongly ask that you take part in the next steps of this transition to greater opportunities for all students.

 

The voices of our families and school communities are crucial to this complex planning process, and we need to hear your thoughts! If you couldn’t make it to one of our school community meetings this week – or if you have additional thoughts to share – join the conversation now! We invite all families to get involved in the future of our schools. On our homepage, click the button that says “Important: Potential School Shifts” to learn more about the options and to share your thoughts with us online. That link can also be found here. There will also be several opportunities to offer public comment. In addition to our regularly scheduled Board sessions, our Board of School Commissioners will also host a public hearing for an opportunity to hear directly from you before taking any action this fall. Note: No action will be taken on proposed school changes during the month of August 2016.

 

Get informed. Get involved. Join this important discussion today.