In an expansive, wide-ranging Afternoons with Amos interview, Dr. Lewis Ferebee, Superintendent of the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) talked about a number of critical issues facing the state’s largest school district. This month IPS is holding meetings with parents, staff and the community on helping the district create a Strategic Plan for, in Dr. Ferebee’s words, “the next three years”. The meetings and other discussions with IPS stakeholders will help Dr. Ferebee, his staff and the IPS School Board create policies to better serve the 29,000 student district.
During the hour long interview, Afternoons with Amos Host Amos Brown brought up a number of issues and subjects, including some of the recent controversies involving the district. Moving IPS’ Law and Public Policy Magnet from Shortridge to Tech – Supt. Ferebee admitted that most Shortridge students will be staying at Shortridge and indicated that the number of students choosing to move to Tech is lower than expected. Turmoil at Washington High School – While Dr. Ferebee admitted that there’s been problems at the school, he felt the leadership at the school is getting a handle on the situation. An observation that those in the community who work at the school strongly disagree with. Taking Arlington Back – Dr. Ferebee is hopeful that IPS will be allowed by the State Board of Education to take back control of Arlington HS. Regarding the fate of John Marshall, Ferebee said in the interview that he hoped Marshall would remain open.
Transformation Zone Proposal – Ferebee talked about IPS’ conversations with the State Board of Education concerning a new idea to cluster poor performing schools together to provide the help and assistance to turn student achievement around and prevent takeovers. Removal of Principals – Dr. Ferebee said that decisions of removing principals “is one of the most difficult decisions” a Superintendent makes. When pressed on whether IPS will share data about the schools where principal changes will be made, Ferebee was hesitant citing personnel considerations. The upcoming announcement of principal changes will create a firestorm of controversy. Suspensions and Expulsions – Supt. Ferebee said IPS is working to reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions and creating new ways of administering Graduation Controversy – Supt. Ferebee addressed the firestorm of criticism IPS consideration to locate all the 2015 high school graduations in one location. ISTEP and New State Standards – Supt. Ferebee is concerned about the upcoming ISTEP tests and while he and his staff is working to have students do their best he wants state education officials to not have the results of the 2015 ISTEP count towards school, district and teacher accountability performances grades and evaluation. Ferebee is also nervous about whether the state will be able to cut three hours off the ISTEP test length. A fact that’s generated strong outrage throughout the state. Click the Media Player to Hear the Expansive Afternoons with Amos Interview with IPS Supt. Dr. Lewis Ferebee. Runs 54 Minutes ©2015 WTLC/Radio One.