Although Arlington Community High School will become a middle school in 2018, high school students will still walk the halls in the evening.
As part of Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) “Reinventing IPS High Schools” plan, Arlington will operate as a middle school by day and high school by night. The dual function will allow students whose needs aren’t met by traditional high school the opportunity to still earn their diploma. As of now, the school will be open to traditional high school-age students only.
“We have many students that need a non-traditional setting, including but not limited to parenting and working students for whom evening classes would be more conducive to their needs,” said Lisa Brenner, student services director.
Graduation coach Nichole Thomas added, “Some students have legitimate conflicts that prevent them from attending school at 7:30 in the morning.”
IPS is still ironing out the details, but school officials say the night school won’t just provide latitude in scheduling, but flexibility in curriculum delivery as well. The school will offer online and independent learning options, additional instructional support and smaller classrooms.
“When students feel successful in a classroom, they are often more motivated to attend and complete course work toward their diploma,” Thomas said.
As part of its mission to bolster academic performance, IPS wants to ensure graduates are prepared for life after high school. When the school board of commissioners approved “Reinventing IPS High Schools” during a special meeting on Sept. 18, Superintendent Lewis Ferebee discussed the district’s goal to prepare students for career, college or military.
“Students will have access to high school courses required for graduation as well as specialized advisory curriculum focused on IPS’ three E’s — enrolled, enlisted and employed,” Brenner said.
Students who attend the evening school to catch up on credits can return to a traditional IPS high school once caught up, if they choose. Moreover, if a student is supposed to graduate in 2019 but doesn’t complete graduation requirements until 2020, that student will still be counted in the class of 2019.
The amount of staff and enrollment numbers are undetermined at this time.
In addition to the changes at Arlington, “Reinventing IPS High Schools” also includes converting Northwest High School into a middle school and closing Broad Ripple High School and John Marshall Middle School, while Arsenal Technical, Crispus Attucks, George Washington and Shortridge remain open as high schools. All changes are effective starting fall 2018. With these changes, IPS expects to save an estimated $4 million, which can be spent at the classroom level.