INDIANAPOLIS – Newly -elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz took a big step forward in her role Wednesday as she presided over her first meeting of the state Board of Education.
The biggest topic on the agenda was a proposal by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s office to take control of four low-performing city schools.
The schools, being run by charter organizations, are Arlington Community High school, Thomas Carr Howe Community High School, Emmerich Manual High School and Emma Donnan Middle School.
“We plan on working closely with the stakeholders in our community to ensure the success of these schools,” Deputy Mayor of Education Jason Kloth said.
All four schools are among the lowest-performing in the state, getting “F” grades seven years in a row. The mayor’s office pointed out that the 20 schools it already oversees have performed higher on testing than IPS or other charter schools as a whole.
“The Indianapolis mayor’s office has proven an effective oversight body of locally controlled schools,” Kloth said.
The board agreed, voting unanimously to allow the mayor’s office to take control. The office plans to hire a director for the “Turnaround Academies” and do weekly site visits, along with more stringent requirements.
As a whole, the board and Ritz appeared to agree throughout the meeting. Ritz laid out the beginnings of plans to focus on improvement statewide. That includes the addition of nine regional outreach coordinators to work as point people for local schools.