A bright future for all Indianapolis students

Indy Ed is born of a simple idea: There are so many changes swirling around our schools that it’s hard to get straight answers. So maybe Indy parents, students, neighbors and educators can start their own dialogue and come up with their own answers to improving public education. Together we can get the well-resourced, safe, and effective schools our children deserve.

At the center of our community is an urban school district serving about 30,000 students--three fourths of whom are African American or Latino, and many of whom live in low-income families. Though Indianapolis Public Schools features one of the most robust systems of school choice in the country, like many urban districts nationwide, we have wrestled with troubling issues of inequity — achievement gaps, school segregation, financial shortfalls, and disproportionate discipline of students of color. Only two-thirds of IPS students (and only 35 percent of our special education students) are graduating on time. Only 5 percent of our African American students are taking Advanced Placement exams.

We know we need to do much better by our children. So, how do we make sense of all the debate about our schools? How do we engage as good citizens to support every child in Indianapolis?

If you would like to lend your voice to this conversation, or this blog, please contact us at info@indy.education.

About our bloggers

Cheryl Kirk

Mrs. Kirk is a married mother of three children, 16-year-old twins and a 9 year-old son, who all currently attend private school on a voucher. She is a Gary, Indiana native but has lived in Indianapolis for many years. While trying to provide a quality education for her children she met many obstacles and became determined to access the best education for her children. Cheryl is a licensed practical nurse and has worked in home care, hospice, long-term care, and is currently the clinical director for an assisted living facility.


David McGuire

Mr. McGuire is an administrator with Tindley Accelerated Schools, a Teach Plus Policy Fellow alum, and a current doctoral candidate at Indiana State University. Driven by the lack of having an African American male teachers in his classrooms growing up, David helped launched the Educate ME Foundation, which is geared towards increasing the number of African American male teachers in the classroom. A born and raised Hoosier, he is dedicated to improving educational outcomes for all students in Indianapolis. He describes his educational beliefs as a reformer grounded in the best practices of traditional public schools, where strong leaders mentored him. David graduated from Central State University with a degree in English and also holds advanced degrees from Indiana Wesleyan University and Marian University.

Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.

Shawnta Barnes

Shawnta S. Barnes is a married mother of identical twin boys.  As an Indiana native, she attended school in two Indianapolis school districts; she attended Indianapolis Public Schools for two years and completed her education in Lawrence Township Schools.  Her sons entered kindergarten during the 2016-2017 school year and now she is experiencing Indianapolis schools from the parent perspective.  Shawnta is a literacy coach for Indianapolis Public Schools, an adjunct instructor at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis School of Education, and a Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow alum.  Previously, she has taught English grades 6-9 and has been an elementary English language learner teacher. She earned her BA in English education from Purdue University and her MS in language education from IUPUI.  Her Indy/Ed blog post can be viewed here

Barato Britt has an accomplished record in journalism, education management, marketing, public relations and non-profit management, Mr. Barato Britt has committed much of his professional career to community empowerment. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Leadership and Legacy Academy. Based in Indianapolis, IN, the Center is a 75 year-old institution that provides wrap around services for over 3,000 low income families in urban Indianapolis. Mr. Britt is a current member of the Board of Directors for KIPP Indy Schools.