Ferebee pitches plan to turn around 11 IPS schools

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The superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools is pitching his plan to turn around 11 persistent failing schools.

After summer break, when the new school year starts in August, students, parents and teachers should see dramatic changes.

IPS is in the process of hiring 10 principals. The district is hiring 13 graduation, math and English coaches to increase student achievement and graduation rates. Schools will implement a nationally-recognized program to improve student behavior.

Dr. Lewis Ferebee predicts it will take three years to see the full impact of the reforms.

"But we will have checkpoints on the way. We will identify specific milestones and expectations for year one, year two and year three," he said.

The IPS superintendent is selling his plan to the state board of education. During a detailed presentation, Ferebee explained, "What we do impacts the quality of life for everybody and the community has to lock arms with us."

He’s asking the board to give IPS the money it's now paying private companies to help improve the 11 schools. Ferebee insists the district can do a better job and make better use of it.

"We can engage our community and partners in more rich ways, compared to someone external that doesn’t have a stake here and does not engage in the community and doesn’t know our community and families," he said.

Here is the list of the 11 schools:

  • Washington Irving 14
  • Joyce Kilmer 69
  • Elder Diggs 42
  • George Fisher 93
  • Riverside 44
  • Francis Scott Key 103
  • James Russell Lowell 51
  • Northwest Jr HS
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson 58
  • John Marshall
  • Clarence Farrington 61

The plan relies on giving administrators and teachers more support, more training and holding them more accountable.

Principals of the 11 schools won’t have the summer off. They’ll work year round. Teachers will return two weeks before students, giving them time to prepare for what’s expected to be a turn-around school year.