SOUTHEAST INDY LEADER CALLS FOR COLLABORATION BETWEEN IPS AND VCP
SAYS SALE OF PAUL MILLER FACILITY WILL BEST BENEFIT AREA FAMILIES
In an opinion piece published by the Indy Star on Sunday, November 11, longtime southeast Indianapolis community servant and leader Derrick J. Miller called on the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) Board of Commissioners to partner with Victory College Prep (VCP) to facilitate VCP’s acquisition of IPS Paul Miller School #114. IPS is expected to close Paul Miller school ahead of the 2023-2024 school year.
In his piece, Miller argues that VCP’s acquisition of the Paul Miller facility is in the best interest of the southeast neighborhoods he’s served for two decades.
“I know, serve, and love my southeast community. The educators and administrators at VCP share this passion. They are the committed stewards that our community needs at this time of transition,” Miller wrote. “Clearly, our neighborhood wants greater access to the VCP difference, and the network’s ability to grow into the Paul Miller School facility would allow it to meet this pent-up demand while extending all the aforementioned benefits to students and families.”
SELLING BUILDING TO CHARTER IS RIGHT MOVE FOR STUDENTS
Derrick J. Miller, Guest Columnist
With just days before their vote on the Rebuilding Stronger plan, I write to encourage the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of Commissioners to truly live up to the ideals inherent in the plan’s name by making choices that will advance the interest of all Indianapolis rather than just the district’s bottom line.
This includes embracing collaboration with other school districts and networks that are ready and willing to step up and serve in neighborhoods that are facing the likely harmful impacts of IPS school closures. One such region is southeast Indianapolis, where the pending closure of IPS Paul I. Miller School 114 will impact many hundreds of area students and their families.
Rather than be bussed more than 3 miles away to what would be the next nearest IPS school, current Paul Miller School families could have access to a better educational experience right in their own community if IPS accepts a collaborative offer extended by Victory College Prep last month to explore the purchase of the Paul Miller School facility.
I know such a move is in the best interest of southeast Indy because I’ve supported the children and families of this region for nearly two decades as the manager of the Bethel Park community center. For nearly as many years, I’ve also been a VCP parent. I know, serve, and love my southeast community. The educators and administrators at VCP share this passion. They are the committed stewards that our community needs at this time of transition.
If my heartfelt belief, informed by years of community service, doesn’t move you, maybe a look at the objective facts can do so. VCP is located just two blocks from the Paul Miller School building, and therefore, best positioned geographically to meet our neighborhood students where they are. More importantly, VCP achievement data all but guarantees that our area students and families will be better served.
As measured by 2022 ILEARN assessment testing, VCP student proficiency is more than 4% higher than Paul Miller School and more than 10% higher than IPS Frederick Douglas School #19 (the IPS option 3 miles away where Paul Miller students would be reassigned by the district). VCP also outperforms the two other charter schools nearest to Paul Miller School on ILEARN, and its high school graduation rate of 92% is well above the IPS and statewide averages. What’s more, the VCP co-teaching model commits two teachers to every classroom, their Restorative Discipline philosophy keeps kids in school while promoting a more connected community, and they offer two years of coaching services to alumni to support college persistence.
As a K-12 school network, VCP operates at a 104% utilization rate. No other school in a three-mile radius tops 50% of its capacity. VCP is the only neighborhood school forced to turn students away annually. Clearly, our neighborhood wants greater access to the VCP difference, and the network’s ability to grow into the Paul Miller School facility would allow it to meet this pent-up demand while extending all the aforementioned benefits to students and families.
Let’s put our city’s assets in the most capable and engaged hands so that our young people can carry the torch of success into brighter futures. We can ensure that Rebuilding Stronger is not only an IPS plan but a commitment to all corners of our great city. May the IPS board choose to make it so.
Derrick J. Miller has been the director of the Bethel Park community center in Indianapolis since 2004. He is an Indianapolis Mayor’s Performance Award recipient and has also been recognized by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity as the State of Indiana and Midwest Citizen of the Year for his community leadership.
READ MORE LOCAL COVERAGE
Indianapolis charter school announces intent to acquire IPS school building if it closes – Chalkbeat
IPS Prepares to Share Final Restructuring Proposal – WFYI News Reporter Elizabeth Gabriel, via Twitter
Charter school expresses intent to acquire IPS school building if it closes – Indianapolis Business Journal (subscription required)
An IPS school building potentially being closed has a buyer. They’d pay $1 – IndyStar
Charter school wants to pay $1 for IPS building on chopping block – WISH-TV 8
Charter School Wants to Buy School from IPS – WIBC Radio