October 3, 2016

Purdue Polytechnic High School moving forward in Indy

polytechhs-announce01 Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, (from left) Purdue President Mitch Daniels, and IPS Superintendent Lewis D. Ferebee on Monday (Oct. 3) discuss the new site for the Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis. (Purdue University photo/John A. Underwood) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University on Monday (Oct. 3) announced an agreement with Indianapolis Public Schools and opened applications for Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis, a new STEM-focused charter school scheduled to open in fall 2017.

“For this freshman class, we were only able to admit 26 students from the entire IPS system. That’s unacceptable and someone has to find a way to do better,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “We thank IPS and the city for this unique partnership, which we hope will build a new pathway to Purdue and to successful careers for future students from downtown Indianapolis.”

The challenges are not unique to Indianapolis. Among the 48,000 Indiana high school graduates in 2014 who took the SAT, only 101 African Americans and 156 Hispanics had SAT scores and GPAs in the range of the average Purdue freshman. Among that same set of graduates, only seven African Americans and 16 Hispanics fell in the range of the top 15 percent of Purdue freshmen.

Daniels said that if the Indianapolis high school can be made successful, the university would hope to open similar high schools in many of the eight other Indiana cities where the Polytechnic Institute already operates technology centers.

polytechhs-announce02 Scott Bess (center), Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis head of school, talks about the school’s new home with, from left, Bill Taft, executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Indianapolis; Susie Howard, Purdue Polytechnic Institute director of high school initiatives; and Joe Bowling, co-director of the Englewood Community Development Corporation. (Purdue University photo/John A. Underwood) Download image

Daniels, along with Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, announced that Purdue Polytechnic High School will be an IPS Innovation Network School and will be located at 3029 E. Washington St., in the former PR Mallory building, which is owned by the City of Indianapolis. During renovations, which are expected to be complete before the start of the 2018-19 academic year, the school will have temporary residence nearby at 201 S. Rural St.

Purdue Polytechnic High School is chartered by the City of Indianapolis.

"Today, the city of Indianapolis is thrilled to welcome the significant investment that President Daniels and Purdue University are prepared to make in this building in order to bring Purdue Polytechnic High School to the Eastside of Indianapolis," Hogsett said. "When the doors to the school open in a little more than a year, we will be doing more than merely putting Indianapolis kids in a high-quality educational environment, we will be helping the young men and women from Englewood and other Eastside neighborhoods reach their full potential, prepared for today’s fast-moving economy."

Joe Bowling, co-director of the Englewood Community Development Corporation, the neighborhood in which the school will be located, said the school fits perfectly with the goals of the Englewood neighborhood.

“Englewood Community Development Corporation is thrilled to support Purdue Polytechnic's partnership with IPS and their commitment to invest within our neighborhood and in our community's children,” Bowling said. “The new school is a critical component to our efforts, along with the contributions of dozens of partners, to revitalize the Englewood Neighborhood through Great Places 2020.”

Applications opened Monday for the school’s first students, those who will be ninth-graders in fall 2017. Space will be available for 150 students in the first year, and a new freshman class will be added each year, working toward a total enrollment of 600 in grades 9-12. Applications are available at the high school’s website at https://pphsi.purdue.edu/. Students who live within IPS boundaries will have first preference for spaces.

The high school curriculum will mirror the Purdue Polytechnic Institute on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus and serve as a pipeline to the college. Scott Bess, who was named head of school in April, and Shatoya Jordan, who will serve as principal for the school, will work with Purdue faculty on curriculum development. The process is under way to hire teachers for the school.

 

Polytech exterior An architectural rendering of the building exterior. Download image

As part of the IPS Innovation Network, Purdue Polytechnic High School will have access to transportation and food services provided by IPS. In turn, Purdue Polytechnic Institute and Polytechnic High School will provide professional development opportunities for IPS teachers and staff related to STEM education.

“We are pleased to engage in this exciting partnership with Purdue University, as it is certain to have a profound impact on IPS students, our educators and our community, Ferebee said. “With the expertise of Purdue’s faculty and research, we have the opportunity to inspire students and unlock their limitless potential.”

Polytech interior An architectural rendering of the building interior. Download image

Planning for the new school has been in the works for more than a year under the direction of the high school’s board composed of leaders from Purdue, the city of Indianapolis and USA Funds. USA Funds provided a $500,000 planning grant, administered by EmployIndy, for the start-up of the school.

 

How it will work

Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School will have open enrollment for a technology-based curriculum. The first two years will encompass problem- and project-based learning focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a connection among those subjects and real-world challenges. Students entering 11th grade will select a specific pathway to master skills, earn college credit and gain industry credentials while learning in the high school classroom, at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus and in the workplace. In the 12th grade, students will complete an internship in their chosen pathway. As part of the program, Purdue also will provide programs that help students transition from high school to college and college-level courses. Additional information is available online at https://pphsi.purdue.edu/

Contact: Brian Zink, 765-494, 2080, bzink@purdue.edu

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