UIndy Educational Leadership grads lead innovative program to turn around struggling IPS school

When the Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School launches in July, University of Indianapolis Educational Leadership graduates will be at the helm of transformational change.

From left: Principal Ross Pippin, Assistant Principal Anuja Petrinuw and Director of Academics Dana Stockton

From left: Executive Director Ross Pippin, Director of Operations Anuja Petruniw and Director of Academics Dana Stockton

The near east side school – also known as IPS School 15 – will become an Innovation Network School, a model that puts the school administrators in direct control of the school’s structure, staffing and performance, with input from parents.

Innovation Network Schools are permitted to make choices about all aspects of their school and are held accountable by IPS for agreed-upon student outcomes. US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos singled out Indiana’s Innovation Network Schools initiative in a speech earlier this year to the Council of the Great City Schools. 

“This type of proposal gives everyone in the community a greater say—and greater responsibility—in the education of their children. It’s this kind of local control that we want to empower, because when parents are in charge, students benefit,” DeVos said.

Thomas D. Gregg Elementary (IPS School 15). Photo courtesy IPS

Thomas D. Gregg Elementary (IPS School 15). Photo courtesy IPS

Three of the key players behind Thomas Gregg’s story honed their leadership skills at the University of Indianapolis. Executive Director Ross Pippin ’13 and Director of Operations Anuja Petruniw ’14 are graduates of the University of Indianapolis’ iLEAD program, which prepares future school leaders with crucial field experience, decision-making skills and mentorship from leaders in education. Director of Academics Dana Stockton is a graduate of the MBA in Education Leadership program, an interdisciplinary program which combines best practices in business and education leadership.

The decision to adopt the Innovation Network School model follows years of low test scores and an “F” rating from the state in 2016.  Pippin said School 15’s transformation has been in the works for nearly two years, with IPS and Near East Side neighborhood organizations playing important roles.

“We truly believe the implementation of our community-led efforts here at Thomas Gregg will provide students and families with a truly personalized experience. Seeing that Ms. DeVos believes this model is as innovative as we do is exciting,” Pippin said.

Innovation Network Schools: A short history

The Indiana legislature passed a bill in 2014 allowing the creation of Innovation Network Schools, which are fully autonomous and operate within school districts across the state. The goal is to turn around chronically low-performing schools before they require a takeover by the State of Indiana (required by law after four years of an “F” grade). IPS now features ten Innovation Network Schools, which offer different types of learning opportunities and models to students, Pippin said.

We are just extremely thrilled,” Petruniw said. “The idea of being able to impact kids in an innovative, different way is amazing to me.”

While Innovation Network Schools are managed by an outside source, such as charter schools or non-profit organizations, they are considered part of their designated school district. Pippin said that structure allows for increased educational experimentation and creativity to solve fundamental issues currently facing school systems, including low test scores.

Petruniw said what sets School 15 apart is the focus on personalized learning, as well as resources and support for the social and emotional well-being of students and their families. “We really are borne out of the neighborhood,” she said, adding that more than 400 community members got involved in the discussion.

UIndy’s Educational Leadership programs in action

As they prepare for the July launch, Pippin, Petruniw and Stockton credit their field experience as students in the University of Indianapolis’ Educational Leadership programs in providing them a valuable growth opportunity.

“Any skills that you can imagine we developed at UIndy have been put to the test in recent months: budgeting, curriculum planning, hiring, marketing. Our time at UIndy also provided the three of us with long lists of colleagues and mentors who have been more than willing to help us out along the way as we navigate this project,” Pippin said.

“Being able to think outside the box about different educational models – we’re putting that into practice now,”Petruniw added. “We researched and developed a whole new school model with the collaboration of our neighborhood.”

John Somers, associate professor of teacher education, said it’s no surprise to see these Educational Leadership graduates effecting change in local schools, “given their standout scholarship in the principal preparation program and their successful execution of numerous field experiences. We are thrilled to see these experiences translate into real benefit for children and families within IPS.”  

Learn more about UIndy’s Educational leadership programs here.

Written by Sara Galer, Senior Communications Specialist, University of Indianapolis. Contact newsdesk@UIndy.edu with your campus news.

Alumnus brings awareness of refugees’ plight to immigration battle

Cole Varga (’10, international relations) understands more than most the impact of the recent immigration restrictions on families looking for better opportunities in the United States. As the executive director of Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc., he has seen firsthand how refugee resettlement transforms people’s lives. 

Cole Varga, executive director, Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc.

Cole Varga, executive director, Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc.

Exodus is a 36-year-old Indianapolis-based non-profit refugee resettlement agency, and is one of about 300 in the United States. In 2016, Exodus welcomed 947 refugees from 17 countries, including Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Ukraine.

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UIndy Athletics honors 2017 Hall of Fame inductees

UIndy 2017 Hall of Fame class inductees were announced at halftime of the men's basketball game on February 11, 2017. Then a recognition banquet with plaques given was held afterwards in UIndy Hall. (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

UIndy 2017 Hall of Fame class inductees were announced at halftime of the men’s basketball game on February 11, 2017. Then a recognition banquet with plaques given was held afterwards in UIndy Hall. (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

The 2017 University of Indianapolis Athletics Hall of Fame inductees were honored in a ceremony Saturday, Feb. 11. This year’s Hall of Fame inductees were introduced at halftime of the men’s basketball game against Rockhurst University, with the induction ceremony following at the Schwitzer Student Center.

UIndy Athletics is proud to introduce this year’s inductees:

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UIndy Music Education program kicks off 2017 with national honors

The University of Indianapolis chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) recently was named the Outstanding Collegiate Chapter of the Year for Indiana. The honor is the fourth time the local chapter has received the award.

The NAfME award recognizes the University’s community outreach efforts to bring future music educators into classrooms, along with the program’s achievements throughout the year. University student-teachers impact up to 700 Indianapolis Public Schools students every year by assisting teachers in classrooms. The local chapter received the award at the Indiana Music Education Association/NAfME conference this month in Fort Wayne.

Michael Richardson at IMEA/NAfME conference

UIndy alum Michael Richardson (’10) presents a session at the Indiana Music Education Association/NAfME conference this month in Fort Wayne. (Photo courtesy Michael Richardson)

The recognition “validates everything that we as a faculty do and helps put UIndy on the map. It sets us apart from other universities,” said Brenda Clark, chair of the University of Indianapolis Music Education Department.

In addition to the chapter awards, juniors Charissa Catlin and Shaina Liv Lescano, both  instrumental music education majors, were two of five undergraduates from Indiana to receive the Outstanding Future Music Educator Award. With these awards, the University now boasts a total of 16 music education students who have been honored in the past decade.
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Thank you! #GivingTuesday goal exceeded

Over 250 pairs of socks were delivered to Laurelwood children as part of UIndy's Giving Tuesday support.  President Rob Manuel and mascot ACE were on hand to also greet the kids on November 29, 2016.

Over 250 pairs of socks were delivered to Laurelwood children as part of UIndy’s Giving Tuesday support. President Rob Manuel and mascot ACE were on hand to also greet the kids on November 29, 2016.

More than 290 alumni, students, parents, friends, faculty and staff came together to support the University’s motto—Education for Service—on #GivingTuesday with gifts totaling $19,231!

A Perfect Match…Starts with You was a campaign to recognize the strong connection University of Indianapolis students, faculty, staff and alumni have to service and to provide a chance for UIndy to give to the children at the Laurelwood housing community near the campus. When a $25 gift was made to UIndy on Tuesday, UIndy donated a pair of socks to the children at Laurelwood. Over 250 pairs of socks were delivered at the end of the day.

Gifts were received from 16 states and the number of donors who participated on Tuesday was a 50 percent increase from the previous year.

Visit the #GivingTuesday page to see more photos from Laurelwood and the final results.

UIndy joins global #GivingTuesday movement

givingtuesday-image

University of Indianapolis has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. A Perfect Match…Starts with You is a campaign that recognizes the strong connection University of Indianapolis students and alumni have to service and aims to give back to the kids at the Laurelwood housing community.

Occurring this year on November 29, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

The University of Indianapolis has partnered with the Laurelwood Community, a low-income Indianapolis community in the University’s neighborhood that is home to a unique after-school program operated in partnership with University of Indianapolis students and the YMCA. One of the most essential but often overlooked needs children may have is a good pair of socks. When a $25 gift is made to the University of Indianapolis on #GivingTuesday, the donor will receive custom UIndy socks and the University will donate a pair to the children at Laurelwood.

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Speech team places first at invitational

speech-teamThe UIndy Speech Team won first place as a team on Nov. 5 at Owensboro Community College’s invitational speech and debate tournament.

The winners included:

Team Awards:
Individual Events Team Sweepstakes Tournament Champions
Team Traveling Trophy Winner

Individual Awards:
Individual Events Pentathlon Sweepstakes – Tournament Champion Vanessa Hickman, 2nd Brooke Abbott
Poetry Interpretation – 2nd Vanessa Hickman
After-Dinner Speaking – Tournament Champion Brooke Abbott
Dramatic Interpretation – 2nd Vanessa Hickman, 3rd Emma Rund, Top novice Dae’Ja Gaston
Prose Interpretation – 2nd Carolyne Wilhelm, 3rd Kameron Murdock, Top Novice Hanna McClard
Impromptu Counseling – 2nd Vanessa Hickman, 4th Brooke Abbott
Impromptu Speaking – 6th Kaylee Blum
Extemporaneous Speaking – Tournament Champion Jessica Carroll
Persuasive Speaking – Tournament Champion Carolyne Wilhelm, 2nd Jessica Carroll
Informative Speaking – 3rd Jessica Carroll, 4th Shayla Cabalan
Duo Interpretation – 2nd Kameron Murdock & Emma Rund, 3rd Vanessa Hickman & Brooke Abbott, 6th Dae’Ja Gaston & Shayla Cabalan
Programmed Oral Interpretation – 4th Brooke Abbott, 6th Kaylee Blum
Impromptu Weathercasting – 5th India Graves
Coach of the Year – Rebekah Watson Gaidis

Coached by UIndy alumna Dr. Rebekah Watson Gaidis, Assistant Professor and Director of Forensics in the Department of Communication, the team looks ahead to their final tournament of the semester on Nov. 18 at Bowling Green State University.

University of Indianapolis announces 2016 Alumni Awards

Homecoming festivities: the golf cart parade makes its way down Hanna Avenue on October 8, 2016. (Photo by D. Todd Moore, University of Indianapolis)

Homecoming festivities 2016

The University of Indianapolis Alumni Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Alumni Awards:

  • 2016 UIndy Distinguished Alumni Award — Dr. James Hurrell ’84, Westminster, Colo.
  • 2016 UIndy Distinguished Young Alumni Award — Nikki Reed ’07, Indianapolis
  • 2016 UIndy Distinguished Faculty/Staff Alumni Award — Rebecca Cartledge ’06, Indianapolis
  • 2016 UIndy Education for Service Award — Dr. Ronald Morris ’86, Centerville, Ind.
  • 2016 UIndy Honorary Alumni Award — Robert and Marjorie Begeman, Franklin, Ind.
  • 2016 UIndy Gene and JoAnne Sease Award — Kendall ’62 and Georgia ’65, ’72 Hottell, Indianapolis

The award winners were announced at a dinner and awards ceremony in Indianapolis on October 8 as part of the University’s Homecoming celebrations. Presiding over the ceremony was UIndy Alumni Board member and news editor of NUVO, Amber Stearns.

The University of Indianapolis Alumni Awards promote and recognize excellence among University alumni and supporters, both in their careers and their communities. The Alumni Awards also recognize dedication, service and commitment to the University.

“Selecting alumni to honor each year is a difficult task given that so many of our graduates are deserving of having their accomplishments recognized,” said Anita Samuel, University of Indianapolis Alumni Association President. “We are very proud of our 2016 Alumni Award recipients who have been both wonderful leaders in their respective communities and dedicated ambassadors for their alma mater.”

For more information about the University of Indianapolis Alumni Awards, and for photos, please visit www.UIndy.edu/alumni/award-winners.

To watch videos about each winner, visit https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3D8rfzfyQXjLpUhbBySMXUc4PysyX79K

 

All clear after bomb threat, evacuation

In the wake of a bomb threat received today at the University of Indianapolis, the following statement was issued by Jeanette DeDiemar, vice president for communications and marketing:

The University of Indianapolis campus was evacuated this afternoon in response to an anonymous bomb threat.

Police conducted a complete search and found no evidence of a bomb or suspicious materials around campus. An all-clear message was issued within an hour, and students, faculty and staff were permitted to re-enter buildings. All evening classes remain canceled.

Campus police received the threat at approximately 4 p.m., and university leadership determined the concern was credible enough to merit ordering a complete evacuation. The safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors is the university’s top priority. The evacuation was executed quickly and smoothly.

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