Parents urge IPS board to approve plan

Access to High-Quality Schools | 10/29/2015

Kate Shepherd
Marketing and Communications Director

Kate Shepherd is the Marketing and Communications Director for Stand for Children Indiana.

Stand for Children Indiana parents are urging the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) board to approve a plan that would give principals more freedom to manage their respective schools and expand the use of the Innovation Schools law, which would attract new, high-quality school models to neighborhoods long-served by low-performing schools.  

The IPS board will take up these issues at tonight’s meeting. 

“My opinion is that principals right now really don’t have that much control over their school and how it’s run,” said IPS School 14 Parent Jason Johnson, who intends to speak prior to tonight’s vote.  “I think this plan is a perfect idea. It will help every principal equal the playing field and make the decisions that are best for the kids in their school.”

The proposal would help empower principals to make most decisions at the school level. These new areas of autonomy would include:

  •  Instructional methods
  • Time allocation in instructional day
  • Content and funding for professional development; and
  • Student-based budget allocation.

Tonight’s proposal would also support the expansion of Innovation Schools, which offer the greatest degree of flexibility for building leaders and would provide parents, most likely in neighborhoods with struggling schools, new quality educational options. The Innovation program in IPS would encourage the replication of current successful schools in the district, as well as invite innovative public charter schools to offer their models under the framework of traditional neighborhood schools within IPS.

“Thousands of students across IPS, especially children of color, do not have access to quality schools,” said Stand Indiana Executive Director Justin Ohlemiller. “This plan before the board tonight would mean dramatically improving the quality of lower-performing schools in these high-need communities.

“Every child deserves a great school in his or her neighborhood, and that’s just not the case right now in our city. We appreciate the district’s focus on attracting top school leaders and successful school models to neighborhoods that have been underserved for many years.”

Stand Indiana parents called for more school autonomy and the expanded use of Innovation Schools in their “Every Child, Every Neighborhood” plan. The plan was created by a committee of parents following the Stand Member Summit in March. Parents then gathered and submitted more than 1,000 signatures from Indianapolis residents to IPS in support of the proposals, the majority of which were then included in the new IPS strategic plan unveiled earlier this fall.  


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