That's the goal of a new MBA program at the University of Indianapolis, said John Somers, who directs graduate programs in education at the university. A panel of experts from the colleges of education and business, convened to study what school leaders really need to know, concluded principals should have an understanding of teaching and learning along with proficiency in analytical and problem solving techniques more common to business schools. Just as important, they found, was a need for ongoing support and mentoring even after the training program ends. In cooperation with the national Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, and with financial support from the Kern and Walton family foundations, the university is one of just two sites in the country that this summer will pilot a new education masters in business administration. Its share of funding is $3 million.
Superintendent Lewis Ferebee and board President Diane Arnold Superintendent Lewis Ferebee's plan to reorganize Indianapolis Public Schools' leadership will require a "sizeable number" of his central office team to reapply for their jobs as the large-scale effort will both shrink the district's management structure and refine its functions. In an exclusive interview, Ferebee expanded on Friday's short announcement of the reorganization on the district's Web site, which lists a handful of new positions. Ferebee declined to give key specifics, such as how many administrators will be given notice before the end of the year that they will have to reapply, what positions will be redefined, how many jobs will be cut or how much savings might be expected when all the changes are complete. But he called Friday's announcement the first of at least three steps toward overhauling the way the district is managed. There will be another round of of job realignments for the academic team next, followed by a similar process for the central office operations team, Ferebee said. In each case, a top deputy will be selected to oversee and realign employee groups. The academic team is led by Deputy Superintendent Wanda Legrand. The systematic overhaul he described might have been unthinkable a year ago under former Superintendent Eugene White, who rejected the notion that the downtown bureaucracy saddled IPS. But the new superintendent's charge is to make change and a majority of the school board members have publicly stated support for his plan. The move was praised by board members and others who have called for a new direction in IPS' management structure.
Gov. Mike Pence and Sen. Luke Kenley Luke Kenley, the powerful chairman of the Indiana Senate's appropriations committee, said Wednesday he doubts potentially costly proposals from Gov. Mike Pence to offer preschool tuition vouchers to low income families, boost charter schools or aid teacher innovation can be enacted before 2015. "I don't see us doing anything in 2014 on these issues," Kenley, R-Indianapolis, said in an interview. "If you want to have a fair sense of fiscal discipline and evaluate any program, it has to be done in the context of the rest of the budget."
Gov. Mike Pence gave a major education policy speech Wednesday in Corydon: Pence's challenge: Paying for his education proposals. (Chalkbeat) Pence's education proposals build on Daniels' work. (AP) Innovation is at the forefront of Pence's education plan (Trib Star) Charter schools and job training are focuses of Pence's agenda. (NWI) Pence places emphasis on charter schools. (The Statehouse File) Early childhood vouchers would come in 2015 under Pence's plan. (Indy Star) Line drawn between universal and targeted preschool by Pence. (StateImpact) A shorter school turnaround timeline for failing schools is also on Pence's education agenda. (WIBC)
Gov. Mike Pence talks with high school students at Indiana's old statehouse after speaking about education in Indiana's first capital of Corydon. (Scott Elliott) Gov. Mike Pence knows that some of his 2014 education proposals for the Indiana legislature could be costly. He's hoping for some creative thinking from lawmakers to make them work, but it's unclear how much cooperation he will get. He's also rooting for an improved economy, just one day after ordering the sale of the state plane and higher education cuts to counter a $141 million drop in tax collections. "We are going to continue to see this economy grow," he said Tuesday in an interview with reporters following an afternoon speech. "We're going to have additional resources as a state to focus on our priorities." Speaking at the old statehouse in Corydon, the state's first capital, Pence expanded on his education agenda, noting that Hoosier lawmakers made Indiana the first state to guarantee a free public education when its 1816 constitution was forged there. "I think time has come for us to focus on the supply side of education," Pence said, "promoting new innovation, new learning methods and new technology to improve student outcomes." Pence has proposed a handful of new programs aimed at instituting state aid for preschool, supporting charter schools, boosting vocational education and creating opportunities for teachers to try new approaches. But the potential price tag of his education ideas have raised some eyebrows with the legislature poised to open 2014's "short session," a scaled back lawmaking effort held between biennial budget-making odd years.
Christel House Academy plans to open a second charter elementary school next year at the site of the former Central State Hospital on the west side of Indianapolis. (Scott Elliott) The percentage of public schools students who attend charter schools located within the boundaries of Indianapolis Public Schools grew to 28 percent last year, keeping the district ranked in the top 10 nationally. IPS saw its charter school competition grow by about 1,000 students last year, up to 11,750. Charter Schools' share of public school students within IPS saw a corresponding gain of about 3 percentage points. Charter schools are free public schools that are privately operated. IPS ranked eighth for the size of its charter school market share, the same as last year, in an annual report by the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools. The city was tied with Dayton, Ohio, and Philadelphia. But only four of the 16 districts ranked in the top 10 nationally (including ties) saw bigger gains in charter school market share than IPS.
Indianapolis Public Schools has redefined several top central office jobs, meaning some administrators will have to reapply if they want to stay with the district. Superintendent Lewis Ferebee, who could not be reached for comment Monday, said on Twitter the moves were the first step of his plan to reorganize IPS. IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee "New beginnings... Our 1st phase of reorganization to become more effective and efficient," he wrote in a tweet Friday, when the district announced the plan on its website. The new positions are student services director, innovation and transformation director, federal and special programs director, curriculum officer and three academic improvement officers. The new administrators will report to Deputy Superintendent Wanda Legrand, Ferebee's former colleague in Greensboro, N.C., who followed him to Indianapolis. IPS did not identify which employees would have to reapply. All the new positions will be open to external as well as internal candidates. Ferebee, who is an active tweeter under the Twitter handle @FerebeeIPS, raised eyebrows last month when he tweeted about the central office. "Our central services department is not an adult employment agency for those who were unsuccessful employees in our schools," he tweeted.