Parents, teachers getting ready for IPS school year

IPS repaired thousands of buses to get them back on the road.
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It's the last weekend before the state's largest district heads back to school and there's a lot that still needs to be done.

There is a constant stream of parents registering children for classes. Half are new to Indianapolis Public Schools. Some were looking relieved, others smiled broadly.

Gwenda Webster wishes she could have enrolled her son Levontay earlier, but with five sons to look after, she says, "they all have to take their turn, so it is hard, but we get it done."

The vast majority of the district's 30,000 students ride school buses. State police records show almost half the buses owned and operated by IPS failed their initial inspection. Of that number, more than half had safety violations so serious, the buses were pulled off the road.

IPS says all have been repaired and are ready to roll. Teachers have been working since Thursday getting classrooms ready.

"I've actually come into every year anxious and this year, I've come in excited and ready to go," said IPS School 44 Principal Kirshawndra Davis.

At School 44, every student will have an iPad this year. Teachers will use them to match lessons to the needs of each individual student.

"They want it to be on them as much as they can, so if we can integrate it into their learning, perfect," said teacher Gretchen Stulken. "We've matched where the student is at and what we need to do."

The district is promising to do a better job getting information to parents and students. For the first time, every school has several social media accounts.

"More people than you know are on those social networks, including our smallest children from preschool all the way up. They know about Facebook, they know about Instagram and I think this is just one more way to reach the parents," Davis said.

Hundreds of kids came to school early and the Indiana Members Credit Union gave each one a new set of clothes and shoes. Some scored new backpacks from Indiana Pacer George Hill.

New outfits and new hope for a new school year.