The Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is regaining operational control of Arlington High School, three years after the State took the high school over for academic underperformance. In an extended Afternoons with Amos interview, IPS Supt. Dr. Lewis Ferebee explained the plans for Arlington for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year as IPS regains control of both the physical building and more importantly the academic programs. Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett led the charge to takeover Arlington and three other IPS schools and a Gary high school in August 2011. The takeover went into effect with the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
The State Board of Education announced the decision April 1st, after being forced to take action when EdPower, who the State had chosen to run Arlington, pulled out after suffering three years of severe financial losses because the number of students attending the eastside school was far below projections. Accompanied by Dr. Wanda Legrand, the Greensboro, North Carolina educator Dr. Ferebee recruited to IPS to be the district’s Deputy Superintendent for Academics, Supt. Ferebee explained IPS’ mission at Arlington. Dr. Ferebee said the Arlington would adhere to IPS’ dress code and policies, including length of the school day. The State Board placed a number of academic benchmarks that IPS must achieve at Arlington, including getting the school’s graduation rate up over 60% (it’s currently at 43.5%).
In the Afternoons with Amos interview Dr. Ferebee was confident that IPS would achieve and exceed those academic goals. There had been concerns that if IPS regained Arlington that John Marshall High School would be closed. But Supt. Ferebee assured that would not be the case. In the interview, Dr. Ferebee and Dr. Legrand covered a number of academic issues. They talked about a staff position at every IPS school that many are unfamiliar with. Parent Involvement Educators, called “PIE”, are staff who assist parents become involved in their child’s school and their child’s school achievement. Dr. Legrand encouraged listeners and the community to take advantage of PIE staff to learn how their children and grandchildren are progressing and how to help them improve. Asked with the end of the long running federal desegregation efforts in IPS would the district now look at a total overhaul of IPS school boundaries, Supt. Ferebee wasn’t sure. But he did say the attendance boundaries for Arlington would be the same as they were before the state takeover. Supt. Ferebee also talked about IPS’ improving graduation rates and that the growth was achieved with far fewer graduation “waivers” than in previous years. Supt. Ferebee and Dr. Legrand were asked what the district was doing about it’s white graduation rate which is lower than the district’s overall graduation rate and those for Hispanics and Blacks. But the Superintendent and the district’s chief academic officer sounded vague on their solutions. Hear the Full Interview About IPS Regaining Control of Arlington HS and Other IPS News in the Afternoons with Amos Interview with IPS Supt. Ferebee and Chief Academic Head Dr. LeGrande. Runs 3x Minutes. ©2015 WTLC/Radio One. Audio Starts After Brief Ad.