School 93 parents deliver petition to IPS board

Kesha Harris
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Parents of students in what the state says is a failing school say they will not accept poor performance in the future.

Tuesday night, the group of empowered parents was set to deliver to the IPS School Board a proposal they believe will turn around the fortunes of School 93. If it works, those parents hope it could become a blueprint to helping other failing schools in the district. Like IPS School 93, students at 88 and 99 face similar challenges.

Kesha Harris makes it a point to spend time with her six-year-old son Antwon to teach him reading basics. They're the building blocks for his success not just in school, but in life.

"This is the only thing I want is to see my kids able to walk across a stage and feel proud about doing it," said Harris.

Harris, who never graduated high school, wants more for Antwon than what she had. She's currently working on earning her GED.

"As a parent, I have to step up. I have to join in. I have to participate because if I don't my child is going to be lost," she said.

It seemed that's where it was already headed when Antwon started kindergarten this year at School 93.

"He was in detention every day," said Harris, who made the decision to teach him at home until he goes back to school next year.

When Harris visited the school, though, what she saw troubled her.

"I saw that and I said, 'oh, my God. This school needs help,'" said Harris, noting how hard the teachers work.

Harris plans to send her son back to School 93 next year. However, the school has earned an F grade three years in a row from the state.

That's why Harris, along with a few hundred other School 93 parents, has signed a petition asking school officials to bring in a school improvement program called Project Restore. The program focuses on cumulative testing and rewards success.

"We're a nation of succeeders," said Harris.

The program has already worked in schools with similar challenges to the ones School 93's students are facing,

"A lot of them (live) in poverty. You know, a lot of them don't have the means of what they need to keep them motivated," Harris said.

Kesha Harris hopes Project Restore is the answer.

"They need an intervention," she said.

Until that happens, Harris is going to make sure she's on the front lines at home - one lesson at a time.

IPS has not said how it plans to deal with the issues at School 93.  Tonight's school board meeting starts at 7:00 pm.