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Can more movement and computers help turn around this struggling school? The principal thinks so.

Indianapolis Public Schools School 43 hopes to add more flexible seating and technology to classrooms.
Indianapolis Public Schools School 43 hopes to add more flexible seating and technology to classrooms.
Dylan Peers McCoy

After months of uncertainty, Indianapolis Public Schools leaders have chosen a new plan for a struggling northside elementary school.

More technology in the classroom and more physical activity during the day are some of the panoply of tools Principal Bakari Posey hopes will help improve School 43.

The school has struggled with unstable leadership, discipline problems and plummeting test scores. But with a new principal on board — who grew up in the neighborhood — the district is betting it can turn the school around.

Posey, who took the helm this year, shared details of the plan with neighborhood residents at a meeting Tuesday. He expects to begin rolling out the new strategies in the fall.

“For us as educators, engagement is something that we always struggle with — keeping kids plugged in, keeping them bought in, keeping them active in the classroom,” he said. “When kids are active and they are really involved, they retain that information and they are able to apply that later down the road.”

Classrooms in the school will have seats and equipment that allow students to move during class similar to those at SUPER School 19, a magnet school with a focus on physical activity, where classrooms even have child-size ellipticals. Instead of having traditional rows of desks, classrooms will also have tables for students with the aim of encouraging collaboration, Posey said.

In addition to adding more flexible seating, the school will incorporate more blended learning, which uses software to give students instruction at their level, said Posey. Both approaches are being used to some degree at other IPS schools.

The school is making these changes as part of a shift in teaching, said Posey, that aims to help kids master skills like critical thinking and collaboration.

“When you give students some options about how they will learn,” he said, “that encourages them and forces them to take some ownership of what they are learning.”

Read more about School 43:

IPS reverses course on School 43 plan that ‘blindsided’ community leaders

Incoming principal at troubled school invokes neighborhood roots, promises ‘new day’

Weeks after crisis, School 43 faces a rocky climb

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