IPS changes reflect several Stand for Children recommendations but lacks focus on teacher retention

Staff Report
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Public School district is making several changes to their operation from how students are enrolled in school to how they attract school leaders.

IPS used many of the recommendations from Stand for Children Indiana’s “Every Child, Every Neighborhood” vision.

The vision was included in the IPS strategic plan that was unveiled Thursday. The parents applauded the district goals focused on establishing true school autonomy and partnering with chart operators to create a unified enrollment system to give parents better access to quality schools.

Stand for Children Indiana also gave feedback expressing concerns about the strategic plan’s lack of details around attracting and retaining the best teachers.

“We are excited to see that IPS is committing to giving principals more freedoms to make decisions for their schools that benefit our children,” Cynecqua Goodridge, IPS School 103 parent, said in a statement. “I was also pleased to see the creation of a one-stop shop for school enrollment and information about school options in the plan.”

IPS School 93 parent Eugenia Murry said she still wants to see the plan focus on hiring and retaining quality educators.

“The most important factor in improving our children’s education in the classroom is quality teaching,” Murry said in a statement. “There were some attempts to help make that happen in the IPS plan, but we think this area needs more work. The district is in the midst of a teacher shortage and needs to take big steps to address that.”

Stand for Children provided detailed feedback to IPS on the strategic plan.

Goals consistent Stand parent recommendations

  1. Common enrollment:Parents requested more details, but are excited to see IPS’ commitment to streamlining enrollment.
  2. Pupil-based funding: The move to equity and transparency in funding is important and consistent with empowering principals.
  3. School autonomy:Increasing building-level freedoms and limiting district mandates is an important factor in empowering principals and attracting school leaders.

Requests made by Stand parents not fully addressed in the plan

  1. Using student surveys as part of teacher evaluation: While measuring student perceptions was called out in the IPS plan, there was no mention of tying those surveys to teacher evaluation.
  2. No detailed talent strategy: Improving teacher recruitment was mentioned in the plan, but parents have called for and still want to see a detailed plan to create a teacher talent pipeline.

In April, Murry and Goodridge joined dozens of IPS parents to present the parent-led division, “Every Child, Every Neighborhood,” to IPS Superintendent and the IPS board. They then worked over the summer to gather 1,000 signatures of support. The signatures were delivered to district leaders in June.

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