Posted: Wed, 05/08/2019 - 8:07am Updated: Mon, 05/20/2019 - 9:52am

A patchwork of many logos and drawings.The Project School

TPS has a culture of high expectations for teachers. All prospective teachers seeking employment will find a document on our school website created by the founding group entitled “Description of a Project School Teacher”. This long list of characteristics presents an ideal that is so ambitious as to be unattainable. Those hoping to fill open positions at TPS may be inspired by the idea of working with others who are also striving toward this common set of ideals or may be intimidated by the expectation and choose not to apply.  Any current teacher who uses these descriptors as a metric by which to measure their success as a teacher will inevitably fall short. We strongly believe in high expectations for all teachers and students but recognize the incredibly rigorous standards we have established, and, as a result, we developed our Teacher Internship.

Current Internship Program at TPS

Internships at TPS began in 2010, the spring semester of our first year as a school, as a way to “grow our own” teachers. We identified candidates as they completed their student teaching with us, or were licensed teachers already and were knew to the profession, or those whose experience was dramatically different than what was expected at TPS. We often found potential interns through instructional assistants at our school who showed great promise. This program arose from an acknowledgement that our model places demands on teachers that go above and beyond what’s typically expected of a first-year teacher to include an emphasis on teacher-designed units and lessons that are integrated with our Project- Problem- and Place-based curriculum, narrative communication with families rather than traditional letter grades, ongoing collaboration with team teachers as well as those in the arts and with inclusion staff, multiage classroom structures, and TPS-specific programs like Passions courses.

Students gathered around a table.Purdue Polytechnic High School

Purdue Polytechnic High School is a free public charter high school that encourages learning outside the box – and the traditional classroom – through the lens of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Here, students take learning into their owns hands, earning a well-rounded education, and mastering the skills needed to succeed in college and a technology-rich world.

At Purdue Polytechnic High School, our students are immersed in STEM, learning all core academic concepts within the context of STEM-focused instruction. Students are curious about solving real-world problems, igniting their imagination, creativity and enhancing their learning experience. PPHS teachers are passionate about student success, personalizing instruction to match each student’s needs and learning style. The PPHS model is centered around industry partners to provide students with an inside look at the world outside the classroom. Students take ownership of their learning to help prepare them with the skills and knowledge for college or a career, getting a jump start on a bright future.

PPHS focuses on getting students ready for high demand careers in STEM fields. We know our students in Indianapolis have the potential to succeed in STEM careers, but they were not getting into STEM-based programs at top colleges in Indiana. We identified an achievement gap that we aim to close. Our students work alongside industry partners, solving real-world challenges and preparing for either college or the workforce. We focus on hands-on, design-based learning, just like in the real world, our students work in groups to solve problems, create prototypes and present their solutions.

Photo of the front of SENSE Charter School.SENSE Charter School

SENSE Charter School has forged new paths in working with students.  In 2018, SENSE was recognized by Starr Global as the first certified trauma informed school in Indiana.  Placing focus on social emotional health and learning, SENSE has changed the way all staff members work, talk, and educate students.  Through a variety of approaches used for emotional regulation in the classroom to outside supports such as the school's trauma team, Cummins Mental Health and Playworks; SENSE Charter School strives to help students work through internal and external stressors which research has  shown to obstruct learning pathways in the brain.

Three students working with paper and scissors.Hammond Academy of Science and Technology

Hammond Academy of Science and Technology opened in 2010. Their mission: to bring hands on, project based, STEM education to the students of Northwest Indiana.  They quickly became a gold certified Project Lead the Way school. Their small, but mighty Science Olympiad made it to the state finals every year, surprising many, going up against some of the brightest students from the 'best' schools around the state. HAST recently received a highly competitive grant from Arcelor Mittal to expand the Project Lead the Way program to their middle school.

All students participate in one of the most rigorous STEM curriculums in the area.  HAST graduates move on to degrees/advanced studies in STEM subjects (specifically engineering and biomedical).  Most schools may have a difficult time interesting students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, HAST students love and excel in these much-needed and demanding areas.

Students playing chess.Seven Oaks Classical School

Seven Oaks Classical School is a charter school with a timeless mission. It exists to train the minds and improve the hearts of young people through a rigorous classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue. Seven Oaks opened as a K-8. Enrollment then grew by 40% from year one to year two and again by 50% from last year to this one. The school plans to continue adding grades each year through 12th grade. The fastest area of growth has been the number of students with an IEP. The school has seen academic growth as well. The school has maintained an A-rating from the state for the past two years. The Seven Oaks curriculum represents a realization of the notion that charter schools should be little laboratories of reform, adding an innovative alternative to the educational landscape.