Proposed IPS magnet program shift has some parents speaking out

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —  A proposal to shift programs between several IPS magnet schools has some parents and community members upset.

Some got together Friday evening at Shortridge Magnet High School to discuss how they plan to speak out against the district’s plan.

Administrators proposed earlier this week what they call a Magnet Redesign, involving five IPS schools.

They would relocate the secondary International Baccalaureate program from Gambold Preparatory Magnet High School to Shortridge High School. Shortridge’s Law and Public Policy Program would move to Arsenal Tech.

The same goes for Broad Ripple High School’s Media and Mass Communications Magnet Program.

Under the proposal, Key Learning Community would close in June of 2016.

“We love this school, and we want to continue to go here,” said Cynthia Robertson, a mother with three children currently attending Shortridge.

“To make this a school where people are bussed in and bussed out, doesn’t afford the ability to tie in to the community,” said Joyce L. Moore, who attended Shortridge herself, and walked to school. “It makes me concerned because the neighborhood has worked so hard to create an environment of sustainability.”

In the plan administrators laid out earlier this week, they said they’d like to make these changes to have more efficient operations, better use of their buildings, more attractive secondary options and have more streamlined choice offerings. They said high school students already attending Shortridge will not be forced to go to another school if the plan moves forward. They could stay at Shortridge with the integration of some IB programming, or head to Tech or another magnet program.

Parents and community members at Shortridge Friday night said they’re hoping for a different solution.

One seventh grader who attended said she was looking forward to attending Shortridge High in the same location.

“I want to come here so I can be a police officer,” she said. “I don’t want to leave.”

The school board will discuss this again Tuesday, November 18 and there are many people planning to be there.

An IPS spokesperson released the following statement Friday evening:

Indianapolis Public Schools is committed to offer the best possible opportunities to our families and staff. Sometimes change is necessary to ensure we maintain excellence. Our administration carefully examined the enrollment and performance of our magnet programs as well as the ways our facilities are used. We are confident this redesign would enhance the educational experience for our students and staff.

Our families are at the heart of one of our bigger changes. We’ve heard the concerns of many families wishing for an expansion of our secondary IB offerings at a more central location. The plan to move the Law and Public Policy program from Shortridge was not made lightly, and we are committed to ensuring our current Shortridge students, staff and families will be guided through this transitional phase with great care.

Current Shortridge High School students would not be forced to attend another school; these students would have several options as they continue their studies. Students may complete their studies with the integration of IB rigor while remaining at Shortridge if they wish, students may follow the Law and Public Policy Magnet to Arsenal Technical High School, or students may explore opportunities at our other magnet and community high schools.

All of our magnet students are guaranteed a home at IPS; we look forward to what the future brings for our community!

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