Strategic Plan

2020-2023 ICS Strategic Plan
In late winter 2020, the ICS Leadership Team was preparing to release the 2020-2023 ICS Strategic Plan. Our intention was to post the plan overview on our website and hold several public meetings to present it to our school community. Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the city of Indianapolis shutdown on Friday, March 13. Progress on many school-related projects ground to a halt as we turned our attention to delivering an effective eLearning program to our K-12 students.

As we regain our footing in this most unprecedented school year now underway, we are finally publishing the plan overview. In doing so, we realize that much has changed since our 18-month strategic planning process began. Regarding the five “strategic pillars” we identified and detailed, a number of changes have already occurred, as you’ll read in the update below. We will be updating the plan to include the influence of the pandemic, what we’ve learned from the pivot we had to make into eLearning and the hybrid model at Irvington Community Elementary School, and envision what school will look like in the next several years and how we will continue to refine our academic product.

Strategic plans are living documents, which is especially evident given the current circumstances of the pandemic in which we all find ourselves. We will be sure to let you know of our progress in executing the 2020-2023 ICS Strategic Plan and any additions and revisions we make along the way. Following is a status update (as of September 4, 2020) on the plan:

Academic Pillar:
Objective #1: “Classroom Differentiation Efficacy”: The TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement rubric has been modified by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, the creator of TAP, for hybrid and eLearning applications per the pandemic. This will help to inform our student differentiation teaching effectiveness and teacher evaluations this school year.

Objective #2: “Project-Based Learning and Authentic Learning Experiences”: Although these pedagogical methods are ideally implemented in the traditional classroom environment, we are developing ways of introducing these learning tools in an eLearning construct.

Objective #3: “School-Specific and Cross-Corporation Instructional Practices”: About a year ago, ICS undertook a “codification” project (AKA standard operating procedures manual) with consultants arranged through The Mind Trust, who graciously underwrote the majority of the project. Then the pandemic happened as the project was about to conclude. The ICS Standard Operating Procedures Manual will be finalized by the end of the first quarter. It, too, is a living document; and it, too, will need to be modified upon publication due to the influence of the pandemic. Next summer (2021), the ICS Leadership Team will review the manual and update it accordingly.

Financial Pillar:
Objective #1: “Maximize Student Enrollment”: At this time, ICS is well above our enrollment target per our budget goals for the current school year. Once Average Daily Membership day (ADM) or “count day” occurs on September 18, we will be able to determine our student retention percentages per grade.

Objective #2: “Refine Advancement Efforts”: The pandemic’s negative financial impact on families and businesses has been profound. For this reason alone, the majority of our fundraising efforts have been tabled for now. We are currently exploring other means of fundraising that would appeal to potential donors in the current climate.

Objective #3: “Make Realistic and Achievable Adjustments in the ICS Compensation Plan”: Although Gov. Eric Holcomb has pledged that this school year’s education funding will remain untouched by emergency state budget cuts due to the pandemic’s effect on Indiana’s economy, the 2021 Indiana General Assembly will undoubtedly make adjustments that will tighten the state’s education funding allocation. We plan to address the critical issue of teacher and support staff compensation as best we can once the final numbers for the next state budget are legislatively determined. We remain hopeful that lawmakers will consider teacher pay in their deliberations and decisions in the coming biennial state budget session, even under the current economically challenging circumstances.

Community Engagement Pillar:
Objective #1: “Expand Programs”: The framework for a phased expansion of the ICS Service-Based Learning Program has been developed and is ready for implementation pending the return of ICES, ICMS, and IPA to full-time on-campus learning. The expansion to ICMS includes both club- and classroom-based SBL activities. The expansion to ICES includes club-based participation in SBL activities.

Objective #2: “Serve as the Lead Implementation Partner for Community-Based Planning”: By the ICS Director of Community Engagement, and in partnership with the Irvington Branch Public Library, a seven-member student cohort participated in Placemaking Through Public Spaces which introduced high school students to the definition and context of “placemaking” and the practice as it relates to meaningful community development strategy. This project focused on youth empowerment and was structured to offer a project-based opportunity that was youth-driven and youth-centered. Students gained experience in community-based programming as it applied to the library’s community spaces, specifically the outdoor performance plaza. Additionally, the project course was designed to exceed the Indiana Department of Education’s Graduation Pathways standards and meet the requirements of the funder’s (Arts For Learning) Project Design Rubric.

Objective #3: “Create and Formalize School, Family, and Community Partnerships”: ICS has developed several virtually based partnerships with our families and local community members including the new ICS Social Media Ambassadors Team. Team members, primarily made up of ICS families representing all three schools, receive technical training specific to the role of social media ambassador. The team has had significant positive impact in generating awareness and action specific to ICS-sponsored events, fundraising needs, and disseminating critical school information. Additionally, outreach to ICS families regarding the allocation of Title 1 federal funds has resulted in the development of the virtual Parent/Learning Coach Institute.

Culture Pillar:
Objective #1: “Continue Implementation of Restorative Practices”: Already this school year, the deans in each of our three ICS buildings have put Restorative Practices (RPs) to good use. Even during this atypical school year with students working entirely or mostly in a distance learning framework, we continue to use RPs with students who might be struggling behaviorally and/or academically, while bringing their parents into the conversation to seek better outcomes.

Objective #2: “Craft an Organizational Development Plan”: It is absolutely critical that we work even harder than ever to assess and improve culture and camaraderie among our staff members in such a challenging environment. Principals, assistant principals, mentor teachers, and ICS Human Resources staff are collaborating on measures to continually improve organizational cohesion.

Growth Pillar:
Objective #1: “Determine the Feasibility of Developing a Pre-K Program”: Prior to the school shutdown, Deanna Dehner, ICES Principal, and Tim Mulherin, ICS CEO, had been meeting with Early Learning Indiana to explore the possibility of establishing an ICS Pre-K program. This exploration will resume in the second quarter of this school year.

Objective #2: “Conduct a Feasibility Study to Expand the Current Number of Middle School Seats”: In December 2019, ICS entered into a Letter of Intent with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), in collaboration with The Mind Trust, to see what opportunities might be available to increase the number of high-quality middle school seats at ICMS. We anticipate that this preliminary research project will resume in the second semester this school year.