State board holds off on IPS lead partner vote

The Indiana State Board of Education postponed the vote on a new lead partner for John Marshall and Broad Ripple high schools until November.

Sarah O’Brien, a board member and an elementary school teacher from Avon, asked to wait so the board could get advice from a consultant to help refine the responsibilities for IPS and the new proposed partner, Marzano Research Laboratories, before a contract is signed.

“I think Marzano appears to be the best choice,” O’Brien said. “I just want to make sure we do this right.”

Lead partner arrangements have frequently been fraught with struggles between districts and partner organizations. IPS, in fact, struggled to find common ground with The New Teacher Project, a New York-based group that state board originally picked to be its lead partner. The group withdrew from negotiations with IPS and the state last month, prompting another search for a replacement.

O’Brien said delaying the vote would let the board’s school turnaround committee receive guidance from Public Impact, a North Carolina-based national education consulting firm.

The contract for a new lead partner should have very clear and specific wording, she said, so each partner knows what the expectations are and who gets final say over various aspects of the process. Only State Superintendent Glenda Ritz did not vote for a delay. She abstained.