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INDIANAPOLIS--The first-ever State of the District for Indianapolis Public Schools was given Wednesday night led by IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson. 

The theme of Johnson’s address was “Stronger Together.” 

Johnson released six strategic priorities for the 2019-20 school year, which they believe will lay the foundation for a long-term strategic plan. Johnson gave a 40-minute address at Shortridge High School. Those six priorities are as follows: 

  • Student-Centered Teaching & Learning: Integrate SEL programs and align high-quality instructional, curricular and assessment resources.
  • High-Performing Team: Recruit and retain talent by developing staff and holding them accountable for implementation of IPS’ shared vision of excellence.
  • Racial Equity Mindset: Strengthen and expand racial equity work to eliminate opportunity gaps and build capacity for team members to persistently interrupt and address institutional bias.
  • School-Centered Central Services: Design Central Services to transparently and effectively meet the needs of schools.
  • Engaged Families, Team & Partners: Engage families, team members and the community in authentic and collaborative partnerships to improve student outcomes.
  • Sustainable Finances and Operations: Strengthen and expand efforts to equitably and efficiently allocate resources across IPS schools. 

After years of enrollment decline, the district is adding more students. Johnson says she expects there to be more than 32,000 students this year. Johnson says of those, 44{46ff1f14221e6e90aab6104ff16614ca22b12c1f029f774ee196565ca96b3af3} are black and 29{46ff1f14221e6e90aab6104ff16614ca22b12c1f029f774ee196565ca96b3af3} are Latino. 

Johnson says the data shows disparities in achievement by race. 

“Oftentimes that pattern plays out where white students are performing at the top while black and Latino students are performing at the bottom. We just believe that there’s no reason for those kinds of disparities and patterns to play out year over year,” Johnson said to WISH-TV Thursday. 

Which is why, Johnson says, the school district has partnered with the Racial Equity Institute to train teachers and staff about how to deal with race.  

There will be a series of community meetings where the public can give their input. 

“We’re going to be kicking off town hall meetings from November 4-14 to share our priorities and hear from the community. ‘What do we have right? What do we need to work out and figure out?’ We invite folks to come out and share their opinions with us,” Johnson said to WISH.  

Johnson said IPS’ overall graduation rate has been 82{46ff1f14221e6e90aab6104ff16614ca22b12c1f029f774ee196565ca96b3af3} for each of the last two years. The state average is 88{46ff1f14221e6e90aab6104ff16614ca22b12c1f029f774ee196565ca96b3af3}.  

You can see the full address here.