Feb. 20, 2013
Dr. White’s departure; what is next for IPS? Robot rumble By Alexis Hardman The Tech Titan Power Storm #2360, competed in the 2013 city of Indianapolis VEX Robotics championship, sponsored by Mayor Greg Ballard. During the entire two-day event, the Tech Titan Power Storm's remained in the top 10 of all the 700-plus competing teams from over 20 countries. The Power Storm members worked hands-on building a robot that had to get bean bags into a trough to score points. Tech Robotics placed third on the
first day and Tech Robotics placed 12th. At Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, this was the first time the mayor sponsored a Robotics competition. Titan students gained experience with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), while setting up many computer programs, websites and data for their robot. Staff members Jeff Powell, Richard Aker, Kathy Flowers and Dr. Roberta Bowers mentored the Tech students.
After-school program replaces intercession By D’ylan Massey Students at risk of not graduating now have another chance to get their diplomas on time. Seniors who had not yet passed both the math and English ECAs were required to attend a mandatory meeting Feb 6 with school officials. Attending seniors were informed at the meeting that they would need to take an after school class until May. The class will provide resources to the 140 enrolled seniors to help them pass the ECA as well as make them eligible for an ECA waiver should they fail. Many seniors will have to scramble to work around other commitments in order to attend the classes. “At first I was mad, but after talking with my coach I realized education comes first,” said Deoun Williams, a senior on the Tech
basketball team. The decision to transition from Intercession programs to after-school classes came from Principal Larry Yarrell’s desk after the district told schools that they would be allowed to use money given for intercession on the afterschool classes instead. “We are more likely to have kids attend the class if they can just stay after school,” said Assistant Principal David Brunsting. “Also, we can stretch the money further by letting them take the after-school buses home because we would have to pay for transportation during intercession periods.” Three math teachers and three English teachers have been assigned to teach the 140 seniors four days a week from 2:454p.m. A software program called PLATO will be used to prepare students for the ECA.
Counselor absence causes problems By Brandon Real As seniors reach the final stretch of their high school careers, many are finding it difficult to get their classes in order, send transcripts to colleges and get help for their FAFSA due to the absence of counselors. Margiy Outten, one of two counselors for the junior/senior center has been out since Jan. 1 on sick leave. Currently, it is unknown when she might be back. This left many seniors in need without a counselor for some time before they were reassigned to other counselors. “It has inconvenienced me a lot,” senior Asia Harrington said. Despite not having a primary counselor there to help her she says she understands the situation. “I’m sympathetic; I know she is sick and not just out for no good reason, so I’m not mad,” Harrington said. She said most of her needs have been taken care of by the other counselors. “There are so many counselors if I need something I can just go to them.” Outten’s fellow junior/senior center counselor Vicki Martich, has been out following an accident which left her
needing eye surgery. Martich will be working in her absence. “Ms. Martich took a lot of work with her,” Robinson said. “Those students will not be neglected.” In order to deal with the absence of Outten, Robinson called up a former Tech counselor, Bessie Conn. Conn is the former counselor for the Early College Magnet. “I called her and told her that I really needed her,” Robinson said. “She knows the campus and she knows the students.” In the meantime if students need to send in last-minute transcripts to a college, they should go see the guidance secretary in the Arsenal. Robinson said that students with urgent matters can go to any of the counselors. Part of the problem students are facing is the fact that counselors are responsible for many students. Currently the ratio of counselors and students is 1:400 meaning that for every one of the eight counselors on campus, there are 400 students assigned to them.
By Jacon Miller The IPS School Board wasted no time in bringing about the very change that many of them promised when running for their board seats. Four members of the board were sworn into office on Jan. 7. The board held two closed door meetings regarding “personnel matters” in the week following the new installations. IPS Superintendent, Dr. Eugene White, was invited but not present. Diane Arnold and Sam Odle, two of the more moderate board members, met with Dr. White on Jan. 11 where he first told them that he would step down from his position. White’s future has been uncertain since the November election when he lost his 4-3 board majority support due to the retirement of two longtime supporters, Mary Busch and Marianna Zaphiriou, and the defeat of Elizabeth Gore, leaving Michael Brown as the remaining White supporter on the board. Caitlin Hannon, Sam Odle and Gayle Cosby joined Samantha Adair-White, Annie Roof and the re-elected Diane Arnold to form a new 6-1 board majority with a focus of reforms very different from those proposed by Dr. White. Some board members explicitly said that they wanted to see Dr. White go; most notably was the outspoken White opponent, Adair-White. A sign of the end for the IPS superintendent came when the board quickly decided to put the brakes on Dr. White’s preschool initiative. Jan. 15, was slated as the first public IPS board meeting, but multiple sources close to White came forward that morning to announce that White was expected to
step down at the meeting. White formally announced his retirement date as April 5 and went on to accept $800,000 from the school board because of an extension to his contract that would have lasted through 2015. The $800,000 deal includes compensation for the $192,000 a year in base pay he would have received plus additional perks such as a car allowance. The board announced that it hoped to have chosen White’s successor before his departure. Opinions about White’s announcement are split. “I’m happy. It’ll be good to see what change will come,” said Tech student Joey Townsend. Townsend’s view of White’s departure was echoed throughout social networking sights as news of the announcement spread. “God answers prayers!!!” was posted by one user onto the IPS Facebook page. On the other hand, there are those who stand by their support for White. “I think it is a big loss to the school,” said Assistant Principal David Brunsting, “and not just because he signs my checks. Good organizations have charismatic and visionary leaders. It makes me fearful. Will we find someone as charismatic?” Brunsting cited White’s athletic programs, magnet programs, and dress code initiative as reasons why IPS would have been better off with White. Scott Defreese, dean of New Tech, expressed a weariness seen in students, parents, teachers, and administrators alike.“I think that events like this end up unavoidable when politics enters education.”
Judge’s decision could send $6 million to IPS By Charles Gates IPS is fighting with the Indiana Department of Education to get $6 million in state funds for students originally slated to go the IPS takeover schools. Those students , however, stayed in the IPS district. The state based its payments on enrollment in the spring 2012 and those numbers changed drastically in the fall. On Jan. 14, Glenda Ritz was sworn in to the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction after beating Tony Bennett in the 2012 election. One of Ritz’s first actions was to intervene in the appeal process for the $6 million that IPS is claiming after a Marion County judge found that the Indiana Department of Education was withholding due to incorrect calculations based on student enrollment.
“This is a significant decision in favor of children and giving them the financial support they deserve under state law,” IPS Superintendent Dr. Eugene White said. The appeal of the decision to give the money to IPS is pending. “(IPS will get the money from the appeal) based on when the Department of Education appeals,” said Kim Hooper of the IPS Communications department. The money would be spent on the general fund, which includes salaries, supplies and after-school activities. She said that it will have no affect on the recent layoff warnings to administrators. “The status of the appeal is in review with the Attorney General,” said David Galvin of the Department of Education. “There is no set date for the appeal until the Attorney General reviews the case.”
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The cause of the fight was a dispute between the students, “It was pretty much ‘he said, she said’ and people not being able to move past their differences,” Yarrell said. The cheerleaders, the girls basketball and track team were warned that if they did not behave up to standard then their sport would be in danger of being cancelled. “I had the cheerleading team, the girls basketball team and girls track in the media room in the gym, and stated to them what the qualifications for each of their team for competing and completing their season,” Yarrell said. “We had several runins with them over discipline referrals and other things.” One student at Tech witnessed the Friday incident. “A juice flew right pass me and then I saw two guys fighting and two girls fighting,” student Erica Long said. “After that I saw a police officer slam a girl and then she began to shake.”
People at Tech have expressed their thoughts over the incident, “I think that this is a shame; you come to school to get an education, not to cause drama. A group of students ruins things for other students on this campus. I think that it is a shame because you come to school for an education, not to solve drama,” said teacher Michael Batz. The news over the incident was shown on the Fox 59 website where several citizens posted negative comments about Tech. “When people make bad decisions, it should not, but it ends up being a reflection of the school, and that’s why we have to have consequences. We cannot allow people to make bad decisions and then it be reflected on our school,” Yarrell said. Yarrell said that student athletes should be setting an example for their peers. “As athletes and cheerleaders, they represent the school, and as such, they should be above reproach and their behavior top-notch.”