After several years in state takeover status, Emma Donnan Middle School, Emmerich Manual High School and Thomas Carr Howe Community High School were returned to their home district.

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE) voted 6–2 to give the schools back to Indianapolis Public Schools.

“We are appreciative of today’s Indiana State Board of Education vote to bring Emma Donnan Middle School, Emmerich Manual High School and T.C. Howe Community High School back into the IPS family of schools,” said IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson.

“Our sights are now on the upcoming family and community meetings for all three schools. It is imperative that we receive their input as we move toward preparing them for the 2020–21 school year.”

Students and staff from Emma Donnan, Howe and Manual will finish out the current 2019–20 school year under Florida-based Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), which began managing the schools after they were removed from the IPS district under a state takeover in 2012. CSUSA’s contract with all three schools ends in June 2020.

Since 2012, IPS has restructured into a district that offers a broad spectrum of academic options for its more than 30,000 students. Under its current administration, the district’s 70-plus schools represent proven educational models and academic pathways for students in Grades K-12.

Now, with all three schools back under the IPS family of schools, the district can move forward with its plans for Emma Donnan, Howe and Manual, which will take effect for the 2020–21 school year.

IPS’ plan includes:

Emmerich Manual High School

The IPS Board of School Commissioners approved an Innovation Network School agreement with Christel House Academy (CHA) to serve both the current Manual students as well as transition the Christel House Academy South location and Christel House DORS South, an adult dropout recovery high school, to the Manual facilities.

The namesake of Manual will remain prominent in the school name, honoring historical legacy. Manual students can graduate with a Manual diploma and Christel House will offer interviews to all current staff with the goal of hiring as many as possible to provide continuity.

Christel House will begin conversations and interviews with Manual staff this month; and, beginning in February, will continue outreach to families and students to ensure clarity and enrollment options.

Emma Donnan Middle

Adelante Schools and Phalen Leadership Academies are being considered as potential partners to serve Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School as a full K–8 school.

The district will host a series of community meetings and information sessions, set to begin this month,to give students and families a chance to meet the applicants and provide feedback before a partner for Emma Donnan is selected in early February. This will ensure a level of stability for current students and staff.

Current students at Emma Donnan Elementary and Emma Donnan Middle School will be able to remain at the school under the Innovation Network partner chosen. No students will be displaced.

Thomas Carr Howe Community High School  

Howe will be closed to students for the 2020–21 school year while the district, through its newly formed Howe Reuse Committee, reimagines the future of the school site. The committee will use the next year to strategically plan the best use for Howe, ensuring that feedback from a variety of stakeholders is included.

To ensure students receive an exceptional education, the IPS Board of School Commissioners recently voted to give current Howe students guaranteed enrollment in:

  • IPS’ four college-and-career Choice high schools (Arsenal Tech, George Washington, Shortridge and Crispus Attucks)
  • Thrival Indy Academy, the district’s study abroad Innovation high school. This option is open to rising Howe 9th graders.
  • Two IPS Choice middle schools (Harshman Middle School and Henry W. Longfellow Medical/STEM Middle School 28) or in the IPS middle school based on their home address.

While it was not the district’s original intent to close Howe, the district was unable to find a sustainable and robust Innovation partner for the long term in the time frame given.

“IPS is committed to an efficient enrollment process for Howe students as they begin choosing other existing IPS-managed schools to attend for the next school year; a smooth transition for Manual students under Christel House Academy; and a thoughtful selection process between Adelante Schools and Phalen Leadership Academies for Emma Donnan,” said IPS Superintendent Johnson.

“Everyone from our district administrators to our school-based engagement team members will be working closely with staff, students and families from all three schools.”