Indianapolis Public Schools will soon start negotiations with an upstart Nearwestside charter school offering a dual language curriculum.
IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee made the announcement Tuesday night during the IPS Board brief session to the agreement of board members.
If discussions work out and the IPS Board approves a contract with Global Prep Academy, it would become the district’s newest “Innovation Network School.” The agreement would allow the charter school designed by former Pike Township Principal Mariama Carson to fall under the IPS umbrella and use district resources, such as transportation or food services. In return, IPS would receive the charter school students' test scores in district averages and state funding support for the charter students would flow through the district.
IPS has signed five contracts so far with with the so-called innovation schools, including two KIPP Indy schools. The contracts allow IPS to end the partnership if the schools fail to meet academic standards. Some of the schools pay IPS for use of district buildings.
Interview: Mariama Carson Talks About Global Prep
Global Prep Academy won quick support from the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office in June when the office approved a charter for the school. The school’s plan is to offer immersion teaching in reading and writing for English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students.
The school is slated to open in August 2016 in the Lafayette Square area with 90 students in Kindergarten and 50 first-graders and eventually expand to eighth grade. Carson evisions half of the students will speak English and the other half, will speak another language when they enroll.
Carson is the wife of U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis. She won a $250,000 fellowship from The Mind Trust, the local school reform organization, to design the the charter school.
So far enrollment at the district's five innovation schools has reached 1,347 students for the 2015-16 school year, Aleesia Johnson, IPS innovation officer, said during Tuesday’s meeting. The enrollment reported:
- Emma Donnan Elementary K-6, run by Charter Schools USA: 182 students
- Enlace Academy K-5: 280 students
- KIPP Indy College Prep Middle: 5-8 360 students
- KIPP Indy Unite Elementary: K-1 190 students
- Phalen Leadership Academy at Francis Scott Key K-6: 335 students
This is the first year for the Emma Donnan Elementary. It will be a "feeder" school for Emma Donnan High School, a former IPS school now run by Charter Schools USA as part of a state intervention.
Johnson said the addition of the five schools brought in around 800 students who are new to the district.
It is unclear if the enrollment increase will impact the tuition support IPS receives from the state. The new state budget projected IPS would lose at least $10 million during the next two years in state funds due to an enrollment decrease.