Indianapolis Public Schools leaders recently revealed a proposal to overhaul schools in the district. These plans involve sweeping changes, including reconfiguration of schools, closings, and new magnet programs.
Among the proposed initiatives is separating middle and high schools. According to Superintendent Lewis Ferebee, supporting preteens is very different from supporting high schoolers, and having one staff focused on both age groups is challenging. The suggested plan involves closing underused high schools, turning some high schools into middle schools, and expanding some elementary schools to serve grades 7 and 8. IPS also wants to create 3 new magnet schools.
This proposed plan may not be the best way to improve IPS schools. Mary Louise Bewley, former IPS PR Director, believes that these decisions were made based on input from very few voices. She explained to us that although middle schoolers and high schoolers were in the same building, they were in different sections and rarely interacted. “Teacher morale is about as low as it’s ever been, and this move in no way addresses this issue,” Bewley said.
At Elevate Teachers, we think the first step in improving schools should be improving teacher morale. We hope to see IPS and other school systems address this issue soon!