Herron H.S. to forge groundbreaking partnership with IPS to become an Innovation Charter School
Indianapolis – Herron High School (HHS), an Indianapolis mayor-sponsored charter school and one of the nation’s top-rated high schools, today announced that it would explore a partnership with the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to become an Innovation Charter School.
Innovation Network Schools are free public schools that operate within or in partnership with a school district. They have the guaranteed flexibility of charter schools, allowing school leaders to make decisions about all aspects of their school based on the specific needs of its student body. This includes the freedom to hire staff, introduce new school models, design new curricula and extend the school day and/or year, among other things. In exchange for this autonomy, the schools are held to the highest academic standards.
IPS is the first district in the state to create Innovation Schools. The district may convert any of its existing schools into an Innovation School. But, it may also partner with existing schools and organizations to establish Innovation Charter Schools, which are both an Innovation and a charter school. That would be the case with HHS, as well as HHS’s Riverside High School, scheduled to open on the near northwest side in Fall 2017.
As a part of the partnership, HHS and Riverside would have the ability to reach out and attract IPS middle school students. HHS and Riverside also would have access to additional resources that would strengthen the nationally-recognized schools for the future.
In turn, IPS will add new high-quality high school options for its many middle school students. As mayor-sponsored charter schools, HHS and Riverside would still be accountable to the Mayor’s Charter School Office, but they also would report their academic data to IPS for the district to use in its state reporting.
“This proposed partnership is absolutely reflective of HHS’s core mission and values of providing an excellent, world-class education to students across our city, but particularly children in underserved neighborhoods and communities,” said Janet McNeal, HHS’s head of school. “We are excited about the leadership, direction and commitment to innovation IPS has demonstrated in the past several years, and we’re delighted to be partnering with the district to expand HHS’s reach in our community.”
The partnership would not change HHS’s status as an independent nonprofit or as a mayor-sponsored charter school. Most importantly, the characteristics that have allowed the school to be successful and unique would remain the same. The school’s autonomy, mission, curricula and ownership of its buildings would not change. Likewise, its board of directors and school leadership would not change.
HHS leadership presented to the IPS board earlier this evening and now will begin discussions with IPS to draft a contract to operate as an Innovation Charter School. Once a contract is finalized, it would have to be approved by the IPS board. If successful, HHS and Riverside would be open as Innovation Charter Schools for the 2017-18 school year.
“IPS is pleased to consider expanding our portfolio of Innovation Charter Schools to include Herron and Riverside high schools,” said Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee, IPS superintendent. “Indianapolis provides a unique landscape where public and charter schools can exist, collaborate and provide excellent outcomes. This opportunity provides a growing example for how our district is leading the nation in providing options for high quality education accessible to all students.”