IPS transformation could serve to keep kids off street, in school

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WEST SIDE — The Superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools revealed the latest details in work to transform the district, including plans that could serve to keep kids away from violence and in school.

Dr. Lewis Ferebee spent the morning at Clarence Farrington School 61, alongside his Deputy Superintendent and the school’s principal.

“We believe that this is an opportunity for us to be more strategic,” Ferebee said.

Ferebee addressed the school district’s controversial budget, saying the first of two independent audits will begin next week.

Also changing, the teacher evaluation model used to rank teachers this year.

Data showed 89% of IPS educators ranked “effective” or “highly effective.” However, only 51% of students in the district passed both parts of ISTEP last year.

“We do believe that there‚Äôs a misalignment between the teacher performance data and our student outcomes,” Ferebee said.

Along with plans to change the model, Ferebee also spoke about elevating high-performing teachers and giving them more opportunities for leadership incentives.

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, speaking at a Board of Education meeting Wednesday, echoed those thoughts.

“Believe me, having a highly effective person in a leadership role and teacher leaders within that school can affect change like no other,” Ritz said.

Ferebee also addressed crime within Indianapolis’ youth, in light of recent violence committed by teenagers.

“Chief Hite and I started a partnership very early on, just having conversations about how we could work together to solve some of the challenges that we have in our community,” Ferebee said.

The focus is on graduating students with the skills they need to get a job or go to college, along with fostering an environment in which students can go to police or teachers about crime in their communities.

“I believe it all begins with leadership. If you look at any research on why people leave or stay in an organization, it starts and ends with good leadership,” Ferebee said.

IPS will also form a committee with students, teachers and community leaders to begin drafting the 2015 district budget this summer.