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new ferebee headshotIn his most extensive interview since becoming IPS Superintendent, Dr. Louis Ferebee signaled a new day in how the city and state’s largest school district deals with the potential for more charter schools. Appearing on Afternoons with Amos, Ferebee talked about his and IPS’ support for House Bill 1321 which provides IPS an opportunity to allow charter schools to operate inside existing IPS schools.  Under the bill which was approved by the Indiana House, over fierce objections by Democrats, including Democrats from Indianapolis, IPS would house charters, provide services to those schools and the academic achievement of those charter students would be included in the academic achievement and state “A-F” grades for IPS.  In the interview Ferebee signaled that he is willing to work with and cooperate with charter schools.  A sharp reversal of the adversarial position against charters taken by the previous IPS School Board and former Supt. Dr. Eugene White.  Asked if IPS, which has had the authority to charter schools since the creation of charters in Indiana a decade ago, is considering chartering schools, Ferebee didn’t reject the idea saying he and the Board “had talked about it.”  Also in the interview, Dr. Ferebee talked about a series of listening tours he’s planning for the first week of February where he’s traveling the community to hear the views of IPS parents and others in the community; parents and non-parents.  Ferebee indicated the importance of the community having input on where IPS should go.  In the extensive hour long interview, Ferebee also talked about the improvement in IPS student achievement and his plans to build upon that improvement.  Ferebee talked about what goes into the decision to close schools for bad weather or call for a 2 hour delay.  Ferebee said the district is exploring not only how to add snow days to the the missed days to the schedule, but whether the district should explore lengthening school days to make up for lost instructional time. In response to confusion and concerns from IPS employees who called into Afternoons with Amos, Ferebee explained that all IPS employees will be paid for the January 6 & 7 missed days because of the severe storm.  And that employees would be paid for other snow days when the makeup days occur in the Spring. But IPS employees who spoke to the Superintendent expressed confusion about IPS’ snow day policies for employees.  Dr. Ferebee also lauded the athletic and academic achievements of the Tech HS basketball team, which is ranked among the tops in Indiana and the nation.  Joining Dr. Ferebee near the end of the interview was Light of the World Church Senior Pastor Dr. David Hampton.  The church and a new faith based initiative the Expectations Project, is holding a gathering with the city’s five African-American school Superintendents Feb 8th to discuss improving parental engagement and involvement. Click the Arrow to Hear Amos’ Extensive live interview with IPS Supt. Dr. Lewis Ferebee. Runs 65 Minutes ©2014 WTLC/Radio One.