This article was updated at 4:58 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.
An organization for at-risk youth was granted a conditional charter by Ball State University today to open an elementary school next year.
The HIM by HER Foundation plans to establish the school in the Near Eastside neighborhood Martindale Brightwood and offer an Afrocentric curriculum. It will also have a performing arts focus and offer wrap-around services, such as counseling and health care for students. The goal is for it to eventually offer grades K-8.
Indianapolis detective Harry Dunn co-founded the foundation in 2014. The nonprofit’s name stands for Helping Improve Mankind by Healing Every Race.
Bob Marra, Ball State's executive director of the Office of Charter Schools, says school leaders still need to prove it can be sustainable. The foundation proposed opening with grades K-5 in the fall, but Marra said they've required it to scale back to K-2 classes the first year.
"When you are developing a (school) culture, it is always better to start smaller than bigger," Marra says. "And enrollment is an issue."
The school needs to enroll at least 120 students before Ball State signs off on the charter, Marra says, among other requirements.
HIM by HER Collegiate School For The Arts will use Enroll Indy for student enrollment. The nonprofit is the enrollment hub for Indianapolis Public Schools and most Marion County charter schools.
Ball State's approval of the charter marks the foundation's third attempt to open a school. The Indiana State Charter School board declined to grant a charter based on two of the foundation's previous applications.
Marra says the application submited to Ball State does a better job at addressing curriculum and university staff will review the school's formal curriculum plan early next year. But he says, HIM By HER will need to hire teachers familiar with the Afrocentric pedagogy.
The school will infuse cultural themes from African American communities in its curriculum, such as spirituality, resilience, verbal expressiveness, emotional vitality, and musicality, according to the application.
Perhaps most importantly, the foundation still needs to rent a building.
The proposed location for the school is in the former building for diagnostic company Vasmo at 4101 E. 30th St.. That is less than a mile from James Russell Lowell School 51 and about a mile and a half from Arlington Woods Elementary School 99.
The below article was published Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019
Ball State University’s charter school committee will vote Wednesday on an application for a performing arts-focused K-8 school from an Indianapolis organizer previously denied a charter from another authorizer.
HIM by HER Foundation, an organization for at-risk youth, is now seeking a charter to open a school in the Near Eastside neighborhood Martindale Brightwood. Indianapolis detective Harry Dunn co-founded the foundation in 2014. The nonprofit’s name stands for Helping Improve Mankind by Healing Every Race.
Dunn’s application to Ball State’s Office of Charter Schools says the HIM by HER Collegiate School For The Arts will offer a college preparatory curriculum, including arts, and wrap-around services that aim to “counteract the school-to-prison pipeline.” The proposed school would open for 120 students in grades K-5 and add an additional grade each year through 8th grade with a maximum of 360 students.
In 2018 Dunn sought a charter from the Indiana Charter School Board. Board staff recommended the application be denied due to numerous concerns with the proposed budget and curriculum. At the time, the school was proposed as a K-12 curriculum with a goal of 1,000 students in the closed Broad Ripple High School, though there was no support by Indianapolis Public Schools for the building to be used by the foundation. The Indiana Charter School Board postponed a vote on the application during a May 2018 meeting.
The proposed school drew strong support from lawmakers, educators and Dunn’s co-workers at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Last year, Secretary of State Connie Lawson and State Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis, often a critic of charter schools, asked the state charter school board to approve the application. Bartlett’s 2018 letter of support is included in the application to Ball State.
Dunn said previously the curriculum would take a holistic approach to include physical and mental health supports for students. The Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County is on board to open a clinic in the school building, according to is application.
The proposed location for the school is in the former building for diagnostic company Vasmo at 4101 East 30th St.
The Ball State Charter School Review Committee meets 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Alumni Center, Assembly Hall-A, 2800 W. Bethel Ave., Muncie.
Correction: This story was updated to include that no reason was given when the Indiana Charter School Board to deny the foundation's charter application on May 14, 2019 according to meeting minutes.