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Educators highlight topics in publication ‘Indy Kids Winning’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Educators are partnering with the state’s oldest African American newspaper to share more education-focused stories. Representatives say with students of color facing the highest achievement gaps, much of the work will center on that.

The Indy Kids Winning publication has been around for six years, and representatives say they will continue to amplify education stories while educating readers. They say partnering with a legacy publication like the Indianapolis Recorder only adds credibility and helps broaden exposure to education issues impacting Hoosiers.

Indy Kids Winning is twofold. Illustrating the hope for Indiana students. But also the new name for a publication.

“The need for it was to tell the education stories of Black students. And how best to support them,” said editor-in-chief Shawnta Barnes. “And to provide advice for school administrators, for teachers and families and even elevate the voices of students.”

Founded in 2016 as part of a national push to share education stories under the name Indy K12. It’s a now independent publication run by true educators.

“Parents will reach out and say I have a issue with this. And then we write about it because we know that parent isn’t the only person that’s trying to tackle that same issue,” Barnes said.

Barnes says it’s important to understand the education system to help shape your child’s educational future, but also valuable for educators to recognize best practices for new ways to approach education.

Indianapolis Recorder president Robert Shegog said, “Empower educate and engage. So, we have to engage the community. We have to educate the community and then empower them.”

They’ve now partnered with the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper. A 128-year-old paper with a strong presence in Indianapolis to help expand reach and credibility.

“We have to find a way to link arms with people in the community that’s already doing the work. And not try to reinvent the wheel,” Shegog said.

Kimberly Graham is Director of Organizing and Partnerships for EmpowerED Families. An agency that helps guide parents on how to best advocate for high quality education.

“Anybody who’s trying to get the message out to the families is a great resource,” Graham said.

While not connected to the publication, Graham says that education topics discussed in the legislature add another layer of importance to being in the know, particularly for Black and Latino families.

“Sometimes different communities feel intimidated when they don’t have a voice. And so we want the families to feel comfortable and to let them know that they do have a voice,” Graham said.

Barnes says Indy Kids Winning is working on establishing itself as a non-profit. But in the meantime, they’ll continue the vital work.