Kroger expands School 46 support, add John Marshall High School

PHOTO: Hayleigh Colombo
Superintendent Lewis Ferebee thanks Kroger executives for grants to its schools.

New principal Karen Linn said she was astounded to discover a 30-year partnership between School 46 and Kroger, the Ohio-based grocery chain, after taking a new job leading the Southwest-side school last year.

The school is awaiting a new shipment of 137 laptop computers to help support its digital lessons thanks to a donation from Kroger. And this year 43 kids will receive a $500 college scholarship from the company.

Today the company continued its trend of supporting local education efforts by announcing $1.8 million in grants to Indianapolis Public Schools and education groups for 2015, including another $70,000 for School 46. The awards are part of the company’s three-year, $5.3 million program to support education in Indianapolis.

“It’s unbelievable,” Linn said after she accepted a giant check from the company today at IPS headquarters downtown. “It’s an amazing partnership. My kids are so blessed to have it. We just can’t be more proud of the students and what that’s going to mean for them as they go to college.”

Nearly 80 percent of School 46’s students are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. The school earned a B last year from the state because of its test score growth.

Kroger also announced today a new partnership with John Marshall High School. The company will “adopt” the school and try to increase opportunities for students after graduation, Kroger spokesman John Elliott said.

The grants went to several nonprofits, government organizations and others devoted to improving education. Among the bigger gifts were:

  • $140,000 per year to Teachers Treasures, which partners with local schools to give teachers donated classroom supplies
  • $50,000 per year to support United Way of Central Indiana’s ReadUp program
  • $50,000 per year for Project SEED’s math skills program
  • $50,000 per year to Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Central Indiana Community Foundation’s summer youth program.

Kroger President Jeff Burt said the company has decided to support local education efforts as an investment in the future of its workforce.

“As state governments and local communities across Indiana and Illinois drive significant change and unprecedented community dialogues related to education,” Burt said, “the mix of stakeholders who truly care about and rely on successful, high-quality, student-centric education continues to grow.

Kroger was one of the first companies IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee met with when he arrived in Indianapolis almost two years ago. He said he is grateful for the continued support of the company in his effort to match Indiana businesses with struggling schools.

Ferebee launched the IPS Business Alliance last year to match companies up to donate to and volunteer at priority schools. Kroger will work with John Marshall High School through that effort.

“It’s not just about writing checks,” Ferebee said. “Kroger dedicates a lot of hours and time. They’re a great partner.”

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”


Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”


Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”


Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”


Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”


Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”

moving forward

After Confederate flag dispute at Colorado football game, schools pledge to bring students together

PHOTO: Marc Piscotty
Manual High students.

Acknowledging “we may never have a conclusive picture of what happened,” two Colorado school districts sought to move past a controversy over whether a Confederate flag was displayed at a football game and open a conversation between the two school communities.

The principal of Manual High, Nick Dawkins, wrote in a community letter over the weekend that the visiting Weld Central High School team “displayed a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the (Friday night) game, offending many members of the Manual community.”

Officials from Denver Public Schools and Weld County School District Re-3J released a joint letter Tuesday saying that based “on what we have learned to date, however, the Weld Central team did not display the Confederate flag.” At the same time, it said, multiple Manual eyewitnesses “reported seeing spectators who attempted to bring a Confederate flag into the game and clothing with flag images.”

Going forward, students from the two schools — one rural and one urban — will participate in a student leadership exchange that has student leaders visit each other’s schools and communities to “share ideas and perspectives,” the letter says.

“At a time in our country when so many are divided, we want our students instead to come together, share ideas and learn together,” says the letter, which is signed by the principals of both schools and the superintendents of both school districts.

The alleged incident took place at a time when issues of race, social injustice, politics and sports are colliding in the United States, making for tough conversations, including in classrooms.

Weld Central’s mascot is a Rebel. Manual, whose mascot is the Thunderbolts, is located in one of Denver’s historically African-American neighborhoods.

Dawkins in his initial community letter also said “the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field,” and that three Manual players were injured, including one who went to the hospital with a leg injury. He also said some Manual players reported that Weld Central players “taunted them with racial slurs.”

Weld Central officials vehemently denied that their team displayed the flag. In addition, they said in their own community letter they had “no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior.”

They said district officials “do not condone any form of racism,” including the Confederate flag.

Weld Central fans told the Greeley Tribune that they didn’t see any Confederate flag.

Read the full text below.