Citywide Education Progress Reports

INDIANAPOLIS: Allowing Schools to Choose from a Menu of District Resources

Indianapolis’ improvement strategy is centered around creating more school-based autonomy and choice. A key piece of this work, and a creative new approach to district-charter partnership, is the expansion of “Innovation Network” schools.

Thanks to a state law passed in 2014, IPS  can open new schools, or restart existing district or charter schools as schools governed by nonprofit boards with charter-like autonomies. These schools remain part of the district for enrollment, accountability, and planning purposes and have full control over curriculum, talent, operations, and use of funds allocated through IPS’ student-based allocation system, but have access to district programs and services as they choose.

Many of these schools are the product of a partnership between IPS and The Mind Trust, which provides a school incubator program for promising leaders.

The role of these Innovation Network schools is growing within IPS and currently represents 16 schools—nearly one quarter of district enrollment.

View Indianapolis’ citywide education progress report.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education. Questions? Email