March 31, 2017

Purdue Polytechnic High School receives $1.25 million grant

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis received a $1.25 million grant from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, which will help lay the foundation for the school’s opening and future success.

Purdue Polytechnic will welcome its first incoming class for the 2017-18 school year. The STEM-focused charter high school is temporarily located at 525 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis, in a building that used to be home to Manual and Wood high schools.

The grant supports hiring new teachers this spring prior to the start of the school year. Early hiring allows staff members to become engaged in the curriculum planning and fully immersed in the school’s culture. The $1.25 million grant, awarded over three years, also will enable the program to hire key operations and instructional positions that would be necessary for any future expansion.

“We are enormously grateful for the generosity of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “This most ambitious of undertakings can only succeed with a staff of the highest quality, and the foundation has given us a great start toward recruiting and preparing one.”

The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation is a private foundation that focuses on the education, health and vitality of Indianapolis. Purdue Polytechnic High School will open in August 2017 in partnership with Purdue University to provide STEM-focused education, particularly to low-income and underrepresented minorities who might not currently have plans to attend college. The high school’s mission is to prepare those students to take advantage of opportunities to succeed, particularly in STEM-related fields.

“Having a workforce equipped with science, technology, engineering and math knowledge is critical to Indianapolis’ economic success, including in the life sciences, yet far too few of our city’s students receive the academic preparation they need for STEM careers,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “Purdue Polytechnic High School is taking an innovative approach to providing rigorous academic preparation for low-income and minority students, growing Indianapolis’ pipeline of STEM talent, and closing our city’s workforce-skills gap.”

Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis will offer a strong foundation in personalized learning, project- and problem-based design thinking, academic preparation for rigorous careers and college, career pathways through industry partnerships, and supportive relationships with staff and industry mentors.

“The combination of personalized learning with projects and problems, and with industry partners being continually involved with teachers and students, means that our students will not only be exposed to rigorous academic instruction, but will learn how to apply the academic standards to real-world situations,” said Scott Bess, head of Purdue Polytechnic High School. “This will move Indianapolis to the forefront of STEM education nationally and make a real difference in our students’ ability to compete internationally in STEM-related fields.”

Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis, which was originally announced in June 2015, was created through the vision of leaders at Purdue University and the city of Indianapolis, and the support of Indianapolis Public Schools and several community and industry partners.

Purdue Polytechnic High School students who meet Purdue University admission criteria will have direct admittance to the Purdue Polytechnic Institute in West Lafayette. 

The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation strives to advance the vitality of Indianapolis and the well-being of its people by addressing the city’s most significant challenges and opportunities. To advance its work, the Foundation implements a three-pronged approach: strategic grantmaking, evidence-based advocacy, and cross-sector collaborations and convenings. 

Media contact: Brian Peloza, 

Sources: Mitch Daniels,

Scott Bess,

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2015-22 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Office of Strategic Communications

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact News Service at