In 2014, Indiana passed groundbreaking legislation that established Innovation Network Schools. Innovation Network Schools combine the freedom and flexibility of autonomous schools with access to services and financial support from a large district. At KIPP Indy, our elementary and middle school were both selected to become some of the first Innovation Network Schools to partner with Indianapolis Public Schools.
Through this partnership, IPS supports KIPP Indy with the opportunity to lease a facility and the access to essential, cost-effective services such as transportation and building maintenance. This is imperative to our work because, as a public charter school, we receive fewer public tax dollars than district schools. Dr. Ferebee, the Superintendent of IPS, highlighted the importance of this partnership for our students, saying, “Our partnership with KIPP Indy is a great example of the power of the innovation model. We strive to provide KIPP with cost-effective transportation and facilities so that they can direct more dollars to teaching and learning.” With this support from the district, we are able to ensure that more of our funding goes directly into the classroom to provide the best educational resources for our students.
However, the partnership between KIPP Indy and IPS is about more than just a school building and transportation. Innovation Network Schools provide a unique opportunity for all public schools, both charter and district, to improve educational outcomes for students in schools across the city. Emily Pelino, the Executive Director of KIPP Indy, said, “Families want the best educational opportunities for their students, regardless of what type of school they attend.” The president of the IPS school board, Mary Ann Sullivan, echoed that sentiment. “We are so fortunate to have great programs like KIPP Indy as a partner in this innovative effort to ensure that every child, in every neighborhood, has access to a great school. Being able to include proven, successful models like KIPP, alongside newly developed programs, improves our ability to find the right school for every community.” As we reach the halfway point of our second year of our partnership with IPS, we are eager to continue to work collaboratively to ensure that our students at KIPP Indy and all students across the city have access to an excellent education.