I have a daughter who attends Herron High School. My oldest son used to attend Herron but now attends Options in Carmel because he struggled at Herron. During his time there, I realized there was a large gap in test scores at Herron between white children and Black children. This gap exists throughout the district, which is why I was one of the parents who helped write the vision for a more just and equitable IPS.
My 7th-grade son has attended several schools but now attends Paramount Brookside. I know it is not an IPS school, but as IPS leaders look at making the district more equitable, I hope they consider looking at both district and non-IPS schools that are reaching children like mine.
My son used to hate school and would sabotage in any way he could to miss it. This is his first year at Paramount and I am seeing an entirely different student. He likes his teachers. The teachers bring joy into the classroom and work to relate to their students. This year, my son has not once complained about bullying (for the first time in a long time). He is engaged in class and concerned over deadlines for assignments. He went from an F student to an A student and is excited about school in the morning. As a parent, I also feel like I know what is going on at the school and I feel welcome in any communication I have with his teachers or in just calling the school. Not all schools he has attended have been this way. I’m really proud of his progress and I hope to see IPS have just as much progress for all their students in the future.
Kids imagine themselves in the futures they see around them. The more equitable IPS can be and the more Black and Brown role models we have for Black and Brown students, the better. It does make a difference.
When I was in school, I was one of the only Black students, but I had a Black teacher in Kindergarten. I remember Mrs. Little fondly because she never made me feel out of place. I related to her and looked up to her. It wasn’t until my next year of school when I no longer had a Black teacher that I realized not every home was equal. My family did not have a lot of money and while Mrs. Little never called me out for not having crayons or pencils, I remember being called out for not having paper the next year. I remember feeling different, not only for being Black but for not having something the other kids did. As the years went on in school, I remember teachers making me feel awkward and out of place in other instances because they didn’t relate to me.
I am glad that IPS is making equity a priority. I want to see this district open the doors of opportunity for its students so we can see more IPS graduates become leaders in our community and beyond. To do that, we have to give kids what they need to succeed, or nothing will change. Please join me and ask IPS leaders to consider the recommendations in our vision for a more just and equitable IPS.