Indianapolis Propping Up Three New Schools in Response to Parent Feedback

Indianapolis Public Schools is in the process of launching three new school options in response to family demand building off of community-driven learning hubs in the 2020-21 school year.

Phalen Virtual Academy provides a full-virtual program, and students are welcome to participate in extracurricular and sports at their neighborhood schools. The Paramount Virtual School will provide virtual education with dedicated space in a brick-and-mortar school for families to have a home base if they need in-person support.

Families and students also received virtual school training in-person at the beginning of the year, and teachers are expected to be in-person in this space for teaching. Students are also welcome to visit Paramount’s flagship school for hands-on activities.

The district is also in the planning stages for Brookside Community School, conducting empathy interviews and creating a collaborative process for the school, families, and community partners to work together to imagine the learning environment.

We are spotlighting this because the district is using recovery funds to rethink school designs that allow for virtual and in-person learning options.

Reviewer Analysis

Learning Heroes

This is an excellent practice that deploys resources to adjust schooling practices as a result of genuine parent feedback. This is a ticket to deeper trust and teamwork with the community it serves. - Dr. Eyal Bergman

National Parents Union

This is a fantastic, family and community driven solution that will not only help many children but also help to repair relationships with a critical stakeholder group by being responsive to feedback. - Keri Rodrigues

The Rural Alliance

The district in collaboration with families and community partners is developing a program with opportunity, flexibility and options. There is support, social opportunities and blended learning. We look forward to learning more about the virtual learning training for students and PD for staff. - Kevin Jacka

New Leaders

The reimagining of what school could look like and the proposed levels of flexibility are encouraging. The application of family and community input will likely help to rebuild trust. With this new delivery option, Indianapolis should also consider the role of school leaders – including the professional learning, resources and support they will require to drive instructional excellence and equity in these new models.

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