A new Westside charter school that’s part of the Indianapolis Public Schools District held an opening ceremony Monday.
Classes at Ignite Achievement Academy will start Aug. 7 at Elder Diggs School 42 on West 25th Street. The school is one of a growing stable of autonomous schools that are managed by outside groups.
Earlier this year IPS officials decided to restart the long failing School 42 to avoid state intervention. The school had been graded an F by the state for the past five consecutive years, triggering a process that could have led the State Board of Education to shutter the school or assign a company to take control of it.
IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee proposed Ignite Achievement Academy, a newly founded charter school co-led by Brooke Beavers and Shy-Quon Ely II, to manage the school. “We believe this is the strongest recommendation that we can present,” he said in February.
Under a special contract, the school will be part of IPS but operate independently with its own curriculum and oversight.
Ignite Achievement Academy @ Elder Diggs School 42 will be the first school led by Beavers and Ely under their curriculum that is described as focusing “on neuroscientific instruction and learning, staff and community collaboration, as well as a holistic emphasis that incorporates physical nutritional and mental wellness.”
Ely says the school will address the neighborhood’s problems of violence and poverty through its instruction and culture. One way is by teaching martial arts to all students in grades K-6.
“Traditional martial arts instruction does address the mind," Ely says. "So a lot of the times it is not about fighting external assailants, or what have you, but the assailant that is right between your ears.”
Around 500 students are expected to enroll at Ignite for the 2017-18 school year. More than 90 percent of those students attended School 42 under its previous management.
Beavers and Ely have been working together for seven years, leading the Tindley Summit Academy on the Eastside. The two were supported by local education reform group The Mind Trust in their efforts to design the Ignite Academy curriculum.
Ignite will open next month on a staggered schedule: Aug. 7 for students in fifth and sixth grades; Aug. 10 for third and fourth grades; Aug. 14 for first and second grades; and Aug. 16 for kindergarten.
Seven IPS autonomously managed schools or charter schools will open in the 2017-18 school year.