|Linda Broadfoot is Executive Director of the Indianapolis Public Schools Education Foundation.|
|Arsenal Technical High School's Marching Titans perform at the "Get Down On It" Cultural Trail celebration. Photo courtesy of Big Car.|
|Students at IPS #54 Brookside Elementary take part in the Indianapolis Art Center's ArtReach program.|
CICF regularly invites community leaders to share their viewpoint on central Indiana's past, present and future through our Inspiring Insights essays. This month's perspective comes from Linda Broadfoot, Executive Director of the Indianapolis Public School Education Foundation.
It seems you can’t go a day without hearing something about education. No doubt you’ve even heard Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) mentioned. Beyond the headlines, it’s important to remember that at the heart of IPS are the lives of 30,000 children. Children who deserve the very best education, because one day these same children will live in your neighborhood, work in your business and run our city.
I took this job two years ago not knowing what to expect. I left a vibrant, high-profile organization for a lesser-known one. All I knew about IPS was what I’d seen in the news. I’d been told by smart successful professionals that they wouldn’t dare send their children to most IPS schools. I’d driven by many school buildings with cinematic visions of what urban public education meant. I was a little nervous.
What I found were scores of inspiring professionals who are working, sometimes against incredible odds, to shape the futures of our promising young people. I am blown away by the teachers I work with and the students I get to see. They are inundated with messages that their schools are bad, and yet they stick with it, oftentimes with a bright attitude.
We know the legends of IPS past, a golden era that produced Richard Lugar, Kurt Vonnegut, Judy O’Bannon and Oscar Robinson. But we shouldn’t count out the students of today! That’s why I work for the IPS Education Foundation (IPSEF), because its focus is on helping IPS students achieve. Who’s to say we don’t have another David Letterman at Broad Ripple High School?
Last month, the IPSEF honored this year’s inductees into the IPS Hall of Fame—another list of accomplished graduates. As the alumni were being honored, guests also heard from amazing students: Zoe Snow, a senior at Broad Ripple High School, whose resume is on target to someday be as long our inductees. Bryan Thompson, a saxophone player whose album you’ll likely buy. Zoe and Bryan are just two of 30,000 students, whose talent is already renowned throughout the district and who are continuing the legacy started by those before them.
No matter what education ideas you support, what part of town you live in or where you went to school yourself, I am sure you agree: it’s critical that we support IPS students to ensure a strong city.
I urge you to go visit a school you’ve always been curious about. You probably drive by an IPS school every day. There are beautiful buildings full of energetic young people all over Marion County. Stop by one, go in and see what’s happening. Hopefully you’ll be inspired as I have been.
CICF believes educational attainment is critical to central Indiana's future. In partnership with generous donors, we support that belief through grants, scholarships and our College Readiness and Success Initiative.