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State Board of Education: One school eligible for takeover


One school in Indiana this year is eligible for state takeover. That’s down from seven last year.  The state Board of Education Thursday chose not to exercise its takeover option, but is leaving that on the table. 

After six straight years at the lowest level of performance ratings, John Marshall Community High School in Indianapolis faced the possibility of state takeover. 

But the Indianapolis Public School district came up with a different plan.

IPS will partner with two outside education firms, Voyager Learning and the Vallas group, in an effort to turn around the school’s performance.  Voyager and Vallas won’t just be at Marshall: they’ll also be in the 14 district schools that feed the high school. 

IPS Associate Superintendent Li-Yen Johnson says IPS has confidence the turnaround can happen because of the confidence the district has in its turnaround partners.

“They are responsive. They are on task. They are in the trenches with you,” Johnson said. “You don’t see that in a lot of the external partners.  I’ve worked with a lot.”

State Superintendent Tony Bennett says, if the IPS plan works, he thinks other schools around the state should take notice.

“Another tool in the toolbox for the districts to transform schools before the state has to intervene,” Bennett said. “I think we have to remember this: it’s not in the state’s best interest to operate schools.”

Still, Bennett says if Marshall doesn’t meet specific improvement benchmarks this year, the state won’t hesitate to take over the school next year.