Indianapolis Public Schools, other districts prepare for first day of school

Security, bus policy changes at IPS

INDIANAPOLIS - Several school districts hold the first day of classes on Monday, including Indianapolis Public Schools.

More than 33,000 students attend IPS, a larger school population than many towns and cities in central Indiana.

More: Back-to-school section -- http://www.theindychannel.com/news/education

The checklist for parents can be long, from school supplies to new vaccination requirements. IPS has a new superintendent, transportation changes and the normal concerns about safety.

"We have to be prepared to make sure that parents understand, don't just put the kid out the door and have them run across the street," said Steve Garner, IPS police chief. "Traffic might be out there, and we have to prepare ourselves so parents bring their children in a safe fashion."

IPS police said they have made several security changes at school entrances to prevent intruders from coming into its buildings.

Parents have been notified about bus stop changes and pick-up times. A new policy at IPS this year requires bus drivers to wait at each stop for at least 30 seconds so that children who are running late will be picked up.

While teachers spent last week getting classrooms ready, the concern at schools such as John Marshall Community High School is simply getting students to show up.

"There's been a huge emphasis on changing the culture, and so our attendance is improving," said Brian Dinkins, John Marshall co-principal. "We still have a long way to go, but when you create an environment where kids know they're loved and appreciated, they come."

IPS parents who still haven't enrolled their children can are permitted to sign up Monday so that students don't miss the critical first day of the new school year.

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