An Idea for Indianapolis Public Schools

1) What if a child didn’t have to worry about what they were wearing to school. Does my uniform fit? Is it clean? I am reminded back at the beginning of this 2011-12 school year when IPS was in the news looking for 7,000 students who still hadn’t shown up. Some parents were interviewed talking about their kids not having uniforms yet to go. During that same week, it was announced that Ray Skillman made a 5-year commitment to cover Center Grove High School’s sports programs so no one had to pay extra to play sports. That is $200K a year for the next 5 years. The first thing that came to mind was, who wants to sponsor our kids? Perhaps in offering them a school uniform at the beginning of each school year so they wouldn’t have to worry, does my uniform fit? Is it clean? Some of the schools are offering a uniform exchange opportunity for growing kids to get a uniform their new size. But, isn’t there something about the way you feel in a brand new outfit, just for you?

Would you buy/wear a T-shirt that read, “Chick-fil-A gives a damn about our inner city kids”? A joint partnership between and fast food company and the citizens of the community. Would you be proud to wear it? I figure many of us have T-shirts. So maybe not only seek a direct financial contribution, but what if we as a city offered our own, local element to TOMS, one for one movement? Or I am reminded of FIGS in which you buy a men’s tie and your purchase includes buying a school uniform for a child in Eastern Africa. What if we had some of the IPS kids in Career Technology Magnet Fashion Merchandising class design a product unique to, well us? Would you buy it and wear it with pride knowing your money went to purchasing a child a uniform?

2) There are kids in our community whose parents don’t know how to use a computer, who can’t read English or even maybe cannot read at all. This is a realistic learning obstacle in our kids life. There are children that are showing up for tutoring help, seeking help with reading that are getting turned away because there aren’t enough volunteers. What if the great Young Professionals groups of Indianapolis made a commitment in early education, volunteering to serve our inner city kids?  There are 33K students.  Am I being to ambitious or unrealistic in putting out there the idea of 33K volunteers who can commit 30 min to an hour a week with a student?

Wow, could you imagine the impact?

3) Finally, what if there was a targeted incentive to bring young people in the same stage of life and encourage them to live downtown. Raise a family downtown. Most of the employees in downtown Indianapolis commute from the suburbs to work. What if there was an incentive in place to encourage employees to live downtown. Or maybe target specific companies, like ExactTarget. When this young staff gets married, decides to have children. Do you think they would come together as a team and enroll their children in IPS? Knowing they are not alone?

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