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IPS State of the District speech celebrates improvements

IPS State of the District celebrates improvements

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Aleesia Johnson addressed the school system in her State of the District speech on Wednesday night.

Johnson said the pandemic set academic achievements back across the country, but IPS is already making up for it.

“We now have a greater share of students at or above pre-pandemic performance in both reading and math, and we’re the only school district in Marion County that can say that,” said Johnson. “In fact, among Indiana’s larger districts, we are #1 in 4-year growth for our students in both subjects.”

Johnson took the time to celebrate teachers and students for their hard work and spoke more about equity efforts. Johnson highlighted programs that are now offered to 100% of middle school students. Previously, less than half of students had band, orchestra, world language, and Algebra I classes.

“We promised that we could do away with the fiction of excellence without equity,” said Johnson. “We promised that we could build anew.”

The district is expanding also athletic opportunities.

“For the first time, we’ll have the facilities and the offerings to field competitive teams in nearly all of the sports we offer,” said Johnson. “Which in turn, means our kids will be better prepared and more competitive.”

Johnson noted that the recently passed referendum will help to fund efforts to make the district more equitable.

“For as long as I can remember, our most exciting and comprehensive offerings were concentrated in neighborhoods that were whiter and wealthier,” said Johnson. “Now, for the first time, every family in our city can access our best stuff. What was once a privilege, is now a right.”

Johnson celebrated teacher retention at IPS. The school saw 88% of teachers stay in a time when schools across the country are struggling to keep faculty.