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What parents should know as new school year starts for Indianapolis Public Schools

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Posted at 10:54 AM, Jul 31, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Students at Indianapolis Public Schools, one of the state's largest and most diverse districts, are back in the classroom on Monday.

At the start of this school year — IPS is making safety is a key priority through the Take Care, Be Aware campaign.

The initiative includes in-class lessons about how to stay safe while traveling to and from school, new safety equipment for schools and updated safety training for school staff.

Safety is a top concern for mom Hanna Webb, whose son Mack attends Center for Inquiry School 2 Downtown.

“Security of the building is important to me. Especially recently. Just making sure that they know who is in and out of the building," Webb said.

Her first grader’s favorite subject is math.

The two live in the Near East Side and decided to start the new school year off on the right foot by biking to school.

“We’re trying it this year," she said.

More than 30,000 students attend and 2,600 educators teach at IPS schools.

But Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson says the district is facing a shortage of teachers this year — specifically in subjects math and science.

“There are over 100 classroom positions that are still available. Obviously, our principals know best what those gaps and needs are in their schools and are making sure the classrooms are supported by a caring adult who will be sure their students are taken good care of," Dr. Johnson said.

The district has a roughly 10 percent vacancy rate.

They’ll fill the gaps with substitutes — meaning 4,500 students will start the year without a regular teacher.

Dr. Johnson encourages those who are interested to apply.

“Obviously we wanna be sure we have those positions filled as quickly as possible. If there are those in our community, teachers still looking for a role. I’d invite them to checkout team IPS," she said.

IPS yellow bus services are not automatic this year.

The district encourages parents to complete the transportation opt-in form, shared by their student's school.