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Seven IPS schools would close next school year as part of 'Rebuilding Stronger' plan

Dr. Aleesia Johnson announces plan during State of the District speech
Aleesia Johnson.PNG
Posted at 8:01 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 13:28:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS — During her state of the district speech, Indianapolis Public Schools' Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson announced details of the district's Rebuilding Stronger draft plan.

The plan, Johnson said, "is a century in the making." She said it is a commitment to children and the entire community.

If approved by the school board in November, it will benefit everyone, Johnson said.

She delivered the speech at Arlington Middle School, and as she noted, would be the new home of a STEM, project-based learning school if the draft plan is approved.

The plan, according to the district, focuses on expanding what works while creating a roadmap to deliver great schools, excellent offerings and more equitable access.

"The hard truth is that our reality has been divided between choice schools, often with more challenging classes, and neighborhood schools, which haven’t always had the same offerings," Johnson said. "We also know that for so many children, it’s the arts, or music, or team sports that draw them into school and learning — yet at a number of our schools, a child might have only one of those options. Those limitations have fallen especially hard on kids of color in our district, who attend neighborhood schools in higher numbers. Far too many have been denied the exact kind of offerings that make kids excited about school."

During a briefing Tuesday morning with reporters, Johnson and other district officials discussed the plan. Here are the key things you need to know.

The 8 components of Indianapolis Public Schools' Rebuilding Stronger plan

These components address the needs and wants from the community to address the district's "most pressing challenges," according to the district.

  1. Creating dedicated K-5 and 6-8 schools to create an "exciting and robust" school experience for elementary and middle school students.
  2. Increase equitable access to schools and reduce student mobility by creating enrollment zones.
  3. Upgrade facilities and modify schools to accommodate new programs, academic models or grade reconfiguration.
  4. Improve student access to high-performing and high-demand schools in all zones.
  5. Improve access to free pre-k by adding programs in schools
  6. Increase accessibility of special education programs in each enrollment zone
  7. Offer increased access to high-ability programming to eligible students in a more centralized location.
  8. Reduce the number of small schools and poor facilities while improving student enrollment

A major part of the plan involves creating K-5 and 6-8 schools to create equitable experiences. Under the proposed plan, all students in K-5 IPS schools will have access to:

  • Arts
  • Music
  • Physical education
  • Computer science
  • Core phonics curriculum every day in grades K-3
  • Libraries with up-to-date collections and opportunities to borrow books
  • College and career ready curriculum
  • High school connections

Under the proposed plan, all middle school students will have access to:

  • Learn to play a musical instrument
  • Athletic programming
  • 7th grade students can take pre-Algebra and 8th grade students can learn Algebra 1. This will make it possible for students to complete Calculus before they graduate.
  • College and career counseling
  • Foreign language starting in 7th grade
  • Civil and social studies

To support the new K-5 and 6-8 schools, several schools will change the grade levels offered.

The following schools will transition to K-5 schools

  • Anna Brochhausen Elementary School
  • Brookside Elementary School
  • Carl Wilde Elementary School
  • Charles W Fairbanks Elementary School
  • Christian Park Elementary
  • Clarence Farrington Elementary School
  • Cold Spring School (6-8 grade to William Penn)
  • Eleanor Skillen Elementary School
  • Ernie Pyle Elementary School
  • James Russell Lowell Elementary School
  • Jonathan Jennings Elementary School
  • Lew Wallace Elementary School
  • Meredith Nicholson Elementary School
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary School
  • Theodore Potter Elementary School
  • Robert Lee Frost Elementary School
  • William McKinley Elementary School
  • Adelante @ Emma Donnan School
  • Center for Inquiry II (84)
  • Center for Inquiry III (27)
  • Center for Inquiry IV (70)
  • Cold Spring School (6-8 grade to Penn 49)
  • Daniel Webster Elementary School
  • Eliza A Blaker Elementary School
  • Frederick Douglass Elementary School
  • George W Carver Montessori School
  • George W Julian Elementary School
  • Global Prep @ Riverside 44
  • James A Garfield Elementary School
  • James Whitcomb Riley School 43
  • Merle Sidener Gifted Academy (from 2-8 to 1-5, 6-8 grade to Harshman)
  • Rousseau McClellan Montessori School
  • Washington Irving Elementary School (merged with CFI II)
  • William A Bell Elementary School

The following schools change or reopen to offer 6-8 grades:

  • Northwest Middle School
  • Arlington Middle School
  • Longfellow Middle School
  • Harshman Middle School
  • Broad Ripple Middle School (Purdue Polytechnic North High School will also be located at Broad Ripple)
  • Howe Middle School
  • William Penn
  • Edison School of the Arts

Citing various reasons, including low and or declining enrollment and buildings not being well utilized, the plan proposes the following schools stop providing classroom instruction after the 2022-2023 school year:

  • Francis Bellamy PreK Center and Step Ahead Program
  • George Buck School 94
  • Floro Torrence School 83
  • Raymond Brandes School 65
  • Francis Parker School 56
  • CFI 2 - Benjamin Harrison facility
  • Paul Miller School 114

Several buildings will undergo facility upgrades, including new rooms, investing in VOIP phone systems and intercoms, athletic field improvements and addressing building deficiencies, like interior lighting, fire alarms, paving surfaces and fencing.

Most buildings have a target completion date of summer 2024.

You can view the presentation from the district below to learn more about the Rebuilding Stronger plan.