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Parents Lobby For Project Restore
Updated April 18, 2014 7:05 AM | Filed under: Education
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(UNDATED) - A program called Project Restore has improved a pair of Indianapolis schools, so much so that parents and teachers at another school are lobbying heavily for it.

Last week, a petition in favor of Project Restore containing signatures from almost every teacher and staff member from School 93, also known George H. Fisher Elementary School, was delivered to the Indianapolis Public Schools board.

This week, volunteers have been collecting signatures from parents and guardians on a second petition to be delivered to the board next week.

"I think Project Restore would be good for this school," said Lechess Taylor, who collected signatures as students went home Thursday afternoon.

The movement at School 93 belies the common belief that failing schools have poor parent involvement.

Even though almost all of the K-6 school's students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, more than 200 parents or guardians have signed the Project Restore petition so far - the school has 354 students.

Taylor's seven-year-old son attends the K-6 school, and she has been attending weekly informational meetings organized by the education advocacy group Stand For Children Indiana.

"We talk about our kids, their grades, their future for college," said Taylor, who said Stand For Children's weekly course called Stand Up was where she learned about Project Restore.

The program was created five years ago by two IPS teachers at School 99, Arlington Wood Elementary. The school, like School 93, was rated an F school by the state, but in those five years it doubled its passing rate for the ISTEP.

"It is a completely different curriculum, and the curriculum has tests that get longer in length (as the year progresses) to build students' stamina," said Heather McKinney, a teacher at School 93 who would like Project Restore brought there.

Project Restore also strictly enforces rules and has discipline deans handle all discipline of students rather than teachers.

Project Restore was brought to School 88 in 2012, and the school jumped from an F to an A in one year. School 93 has received three consecutive F's and is on Superintendent Lewis Ferebee's list of schools that need immediate attention.

Taylor doesn't understand why Project Restore isn't already there.

"We have the right people. We just need the right program," she said.

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