NewsEducation / January 25, 2016

2 Failing IPS Schools Eyed For Restart In Fall

Two Indianapolis public elementary schools could be managed by private charter companies starting this fall in a proposal that mirrors the restart of a Fareastside school last year.Indianapolis Public Schools, Phalen Leadership Academy, Global Prep Academy, Kindezi Academy2016-01-25T00:00:00-05:00
2 Failing IPS Schools Eyed For Restart In Fall

Joyce Kilmer School 69 would become Global Prep Academy, a Spanish and English immersion program, under a proposal by IPS administration.

Indianapolis Public Schools

Two Indianapolis public elementary schools could be managed by private charter companies starting this fall in a proposal that mirrors the restart of a Fareastside school last year.

Joyce Kilmer School 69 and Riverside School 44 have struggled with academic failure for at least the past four years. Both are currently rated F on the state’s A-F accountability scale.

Now Indianapolis Public School leaders want to restart both as charter schools with a curriculum far different than what is currently offered. The board of school commissioners will be briefed on the plan Tuesday.

Read more: Explaining Indianapolis Public Schools' Plan For School Autonomy

School 69 would become Kindezi Academy -- a blended learning school with two teachers in each classroom created by the founders of Enlace Academy. Enlace Academy is on the second floor of the former Gambold Preparatory building on the Farwestside.

Riverside School 44 would become Global Prep Academy, a Spanish and English immersion program designed by former Pike Township principal Mariama Carson.

Local education reform group The Mind Trust funded the development of these new charter school models as part of a partnership with IPS and the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office.

Under the plan, the schools would remain part of IPS but all hiring, teaching and administration would be handled by the private companies running each school. Both would be a so-called “innovation network schools,” a designation that allows the IPS board to contract with companies, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations or other types of management teams outside the scope of collective bargaining.

IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee has maintained that he’ll collaborate with charter resources and any other method he believes will improve some of the district’s long struggling schools.

Aleesia Johnson, the IPS innovation chief, said Monday the IPS Board will not be asked to vote this week on the proposal but a vote could come in the next month.

Staff and families at both schools have been contacted by the organizers of  Kindezi Academy and Global Prep Academy, she said, and meetings have been held.

Phalen Leadership Academy was the first charter school under an “innovation network school” agreement to remake the former Francis Scott Key School 103 at PLA @ 103 on the Fareastside.

Enrollment at PLA @ 103 increased by 12 percent from past school year to around 380 students.

Some have criticized Ferebee’s push to work with charter companies, such as Phalen, and characterized it as privatization. Johnson said the district will increase its outreach to better explain the proposed school restarts and the relationship between those companies and IPS.

This report will be updated.

Contact WFYI education reporter Eric Weddle at eweddle@wfyi.org or call (317) 614-0470. Follow on Twitter: @ericweddle.

 

 

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