Three charter schools will expand in Indianapolis next year

A staff member stands in the doorway next to a long line of high school students.
Purdue Polytechnic High School students line up in Broad Ripple High School on the first day of school in 2022. PPHS is one of several charter schools expanding or planning to expand in Indianapolis in the coming years. (Amelia Pak-Harvey / Chalkbeat)

Three more charter schools will open in Indianapolis in the fall of 2024 and plan to grow to a combined capacity of more than 1,100 students over the next several years.

Matchbook Learning, Paramount Schools of Excellence, and Purdue Polytechnic High School will each launch an additional campus or school after receiving approval from Education One, the charter authorizing arm of Trine University in Angola. 

The new campuses for Matchbook and Purdue Polytechnic will be high schools on the city’s west side, while Paramount’s new K-8 campus will be in midtown. 

The new schools will bolster the city’s charter community, which has grown to nearly 70 schools in recent years as student enrollment at traditional public schools in IPS has declined. IPS and charter schools are competing for students as well as certain facilities and funding streams. And several more charter schools are planning for Indianapolis expansions for 2025.   

Matchbook Learning to open career and technical school

Matchbook Learning, a national charter operator that runs Wendell Phillips School 63 as part of Indianapolis Public Schools’ “restart” charter turnaround effort, plans to open a career and technical high school on the city’s west side. The school recently announced a $5 million grant it received from the U.S. Department of Energy to help transform warehouses in that area into a career center. 

The Matchbook College, Career, and Technical Institute will serve grades 9-12 and up to 10 adult students after several years, growing to a total enrollment of 280, according to its original application

The school had initially proposed opening in 2022 or 2023, but delayed its start date as it tried to find a facility. 

Matchbook did not respond to a request for comment on its newest location.

‘High-quality high school’ coming from Purdue Polytechnic

Purdue Polytechnic High School, which has two campuses in Indianapolis and one in South Bend, also plans to open on the city’s west side after another charter authorizer rejected its plans to expand in Pike Township. 

The school plans to to be a high school option for students seeking a smaller school on the west side, which lacks high school options, the school said in its application. The school also hopes to provide a “high-quality high school option” and a pipeline for students to attend Purdue University. 

Purdue Polytechnic, or PPHS, initially applied with the mayor’s Office of Education Innovation, another charter authorizer, to open its third Indianapolis campus in Pike Township. But the Indianapolis Charter School Board denied the application after intense community pushback last year. 

PPHS West initially planned to open in 2023, but delayed its start as it looked for an appropriate facility. The school plans to grow to 500 students by its seventh year of operation, according to its original application. 

PPHS declined to comment on its new location. 

Paramount’s new charter to focus on science, math

Girls IN STEM Academy, operated by Paramount Schools of Excellence, also plans to open a K-8 school for girls in 2024 in the midtown area of Indianapolis near Broad Ripple. 

Paramount currently has three campuses in Indianapolis and an online academy that is part of IPS’ Innovation Network of autonomous schools. 

The school plans to grow to a capacity of 325 students in the next several years, according to its application

Paramount did not respond to a request for comment on its new location. 

More charter schools planned for 2025 and beyond

Believe Circle City High School, which won approval from the Indianapolis Charter School Board last year to expand to a second location, also plans on expanding to another campus in 2025. 

Founder Kimberly Neal-Brannum told Chalkbeat Indiana in June that the school is still interested in the west side of Indianapolis because that is where the majority of its families come from.

Other charter schools also have long-term expansion plans.

Circle City Prep, which plans to grow to K-8 next year, expressed interest in using the closed IPS Francis Bellamy School 102 as its second location. 

Adelante Schools, which operates an IPS Innovation Network charter in the Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School building, also expressed interest in expanding to a second campus at the closed IPS Raymond Brandes School 65. 

The Mind Trust, which helps establish Indianapolis charters, recently selected leaders from both Circle City Prep and Adelante — as well as Girls IN STEM and PPHS — for fellowships. The School Launch Fellowship provides leaders with support to grow an existing charter school network, the Mind Trust said in a press release. 

Amelia Pak-Harvey covers Indianapolis and Marion County schools for Chalkbeat Indiana. Contact Amelia at apak-harvey@chalkbeat.org

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