Local | May 5, 2015

Foundations pledge millions for IPS school, neighborhood

School 103, the struggling school on Indianapolis’s East side that will next year be run by Phalen Leadership Academy, is about to get an unexpected surge of extra cash.

The soon-to-be-redesigned school will be the anchor of a newly proposed community partnership between Indianapolis Public Schools and several foundations that promises to support students from even before they are born through college and beyond.

Under the plan, called the “Far Eastside Success Initiative,” several foundations – led by The Glick Family Foundation, the Central Indiana Community Foundation and the United Way – promise to spend “millions” to support the learning of more than 100 students at a specific apartment complex: Carriage House, a low-income housing apartment complex near Mithoeffer Road.

The proposal would start with providing mothers with maternity care, then continue on to pay for preschool, support public school programs at School 103 and John Marshall High School. Each student would then be awarded a college scholarship. Also included is a plan to redevelop the neighborhood, specifically the corner of 42nd Street and Post Road.
The foundations would not say the exact amount they plan to invest.

“It’s not often that people want to (make) this kind of investment in an area that needs so much additional support,” said IPS school board member Kelly Bentley. “All the planets have aligned. I think that is so important for our students and for their families.”

The plan is built on studies that have shown that early health and learning support can keep poor kids from falling behind their peers academically.

The idea is based off similar programs Ferebee visited and was impressed with in East Durham, North Carolina, as well as in Harlem in New York.

“We are stepping up here to partner, and focusing our efforts in ensuring that we transform the school and the community,” Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said. “This is our current lowest performing school in the district. We must put every effort forward.”