July 15, 2020

Polytechnic High School students to enjoy a taste of university life

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Members of Purdue Polytechnic High School’s first graduating class will enter their senior year already prepared to further their education at the university level.

Watch Building a Pipeline: PPHS Origins Story to learn how and why Purdue Polytechnic High School is revolutionizing education and changing students’ lives.

Thirty-one of the rising seniors arrived at Purdue University Sunday (July 12) where they are living in a campus residence hall through Aug. 7.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels greeted the Purdue Polytechnic High School students in-person on Wednesday (July 15) during an ACT/SAT prep class in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center.

The Purdue Polytechnic High Schools are focused on providing underrepresented students authentic STEM-focused experiences that will prepare students for a successful future, especially at Purdue University if they qualify and choose to attend. There are now three such schools across central and northern Indiana, all committed to preparing a path for underrepresented students to enroll and succeed at Purdue.

“We are so fortunate to have Purdue University provide our students the opportunity to gain experience on campus taking college courses,” said Shatoya Ward, founding principal of the first Purdue Polytechnic High School. “Our students will have a foresight of resources and individual support needed in a rigorous system. This is an experience that our students will never forget and will prepare them for future success as a college student and future society, especially in such a time as this.”

John Gipson, director of summer session, said current undergraduates will serve as peer mentors for the visiting Purdue Polytechnic High School students, helping guide them through the on-campus experience.

“We want to increase access to Purdue University and give the students a jump-start on their college education,” Gipson said. “We are giving Purdue Polytechnic High School students a real university experience.”

Part of that experience is the opportunity to take one of three university-level courses alongside current undergraduates at no cost to the students. The courses are in technology, management or communications and allow the seniors to earn up to three credit hours.

Gipson said the Purdue Polytechnic High School students will participate in more than 20 events, attend scholarly lectures with Early Start students and work in regular study tables. Participants also will meet with various college and department officials at Purdue to explore majors across campus.

The students also will have access to success coaching via Purdue Polytechnic Institute Recruitment and Retention.

The monthlong experience is funded by Purdue Polytechnic Institute and Diversity and Inclusion and stands as part of the University summer programs.

More than 1,000 new Boilermakers are participating in Purdue’s Summer Start and Early Start programs, which allow students to arrive early, take summer classes for credit and become adjusted to life on campus. The programs have both in-person and online components. The program will run for five weeks. 

Organizers have worked with the Protect Purdue Health Center and University Residences to develop a safe move-in process that will involve temperature checks, wellness kits and welcome packets. The Protect Purdue Health Center has developed a detailed plan on contact tracing.

Purdue Polytechnic High School opened its first Indianapolis charter school in 2017 and its second in Indianapolis’s Broad Ripple neighborhood in 2019. The upcoming PPHS South Bend will replicate the innovative model that has been serving students successfully in the Indianapolis area.

The STEM-focused schools provide students with experiences including internships, industry projects, dual-credit courses and technical certifications.

The schools continue to progress with a grand opening Monday (July 20) of the Purdue Polytechnic High School in the former PR Mallory building, owned by the city of Indianapolis. 

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu. 

Writer, Media contact: Brian Huchel, bhuchel@purdue.edu

Source: John Gipson, 765-494-5296, gipsonj@purdue.edu.

Charli Renckly-DeWhitt, 317-506-3250, cdewhitt@pphs.purdue.edu 

Note to journalists: Video B-roll and photos of Purdue University President Mitch Daniels speaking to the student is available at https://purdue.university/32oWUxk.

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Note to journalists: Video B-roll and photos of Purdue University President Mitch Daniels speaking to the student is available at https://purdue.university/32oWUxk. Journalists visiting campus should follow visitor health guidelines.

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