Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard will address the 2009 Indiana Public Charter School Conference during breakfast on April 29. Ballard, the only mayor in the nation with the authority to authorize new charter schools, will discuss academic expectations for charter school students and how college preparation is the road to success for the city and state.

“Ballard’s administration has focused on creating a sustainable city. Charter schools are part of that plan,” said Kevin Teasley, president and CEO of the GEO Foundation. “What schools are doing to sustain themselves and to ensure that they are indeed a part of the fabric of this community for years to come is a critical point of the discussion.”

Last week, the Indiana Department of Education released data showing that three public high schools that made adequate yearly progress in Indianapolis were charter schools sponsored by the mayor. The Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, Herron High School and Fountain Square Academy were deemed to have made AYP, which is a determination made after considering standardized performance indicators under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

“What is especially impressive about these three charter high schools is that they have met even higher performance expectations with significant percentages of students of low socioeconomic status,” said Ballard. “At the same time, I echo Superintendent (Tony) Bennett’s charge that we must continue to raise the bar and expect even more from all our students and schools”.

At the conference, hundreds of the state’s charter school principals, board members and service providers will explore several areas – academic performance, succession to college, tools for successful schools, and legal issues – surrounding the state’s charter schools. The conference, which is being held at the Indiana Convention Center, kicks off with an evening reception on Tuesday, April 28 and then picks up the next morning with a keynote from Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard during breakfast.