The state Board of Education chose Thursday not to takeover an Indianapolis public school but is leaving the option on the table.
After six straight years at the lowest level of performance ratings, John Marshall Community High School in Indianapolis faced the possibility of state takeover. It was the only school in Indiana eligible for state takeover this year, compared to seven last year.
But the Indianapolis Public School district came up with a different plan. IPS will partner with two outside education firms, Voyager Learning and the Vallas group, in an effort to turn around the school’s performance.
Voyager and Vallas will not just be at Marshall. They will also be in the 14 district schools that feed the high school.
IPS Associate Superintendent Li-Yen Johnson says IPS has confidence the turnaround can happen because of the confidence the district has in its turnaround partners.
“They are responsive. They are on task. They are in the trenches with you. You don’t see that in a lot of the external partners. I’ve worked with a lot,” Johnson says.
State Superintendent Tony Bennett says, if the IPS plan works, he thinks other schools around the state should take notice.
“Another tool in the toolbox for the districts to transform schools before the state has to intervene,” he says. “I think we have to remember this: it’s not in the state’s best interest to operate schools.”
But Bennett says if Marshall does not meet specific improvement benchmarks this year, the state will not hesitate to take over the school next year.