Purdue To Open Science-Focused High School In Downtown Indy

Jun 19, 2015

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels on Thursday (June 18) announces the university’s plan to open Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis High School, an educational experience designed to provide a bridge for inner-city students and others to succeed in high school and to be admitted directly to Purdue University.
Credit Mark Simons/Purdue University

Purdue University plans to open a charter school in downtown Indianapolis that will focus on the STEM fields -- that’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The concept could eventually spread across the state. Graduates will be guaranteed a spot on the West Lafayette campus.

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels says the current education system in Indiana is not producing enough low-income, first-generation and minority students who are qualified for Purdue.

To ensure some Indianapolis students get a chance to attend the Big Ten school, the university plans to open the Purdue Polytechnic High School in the fall of 2017.

"In the entire state of Indiana last year, there were 101 African-American students at the median profile -- median profile -- at Purdue," says Daniels. "There were seven in the whole state of Indiana who matched the profile of our top 15 percent. There’s just not a big enough pool."

The school will use project based learning and partner with local businesses. The Purdue Polytechnic Institute, formerly the College of Technology, will oversee the high school. The College of Education will also play a role.

The university is collaborating with USA Funds, EmployIndy and the city of Indianapolis to open the school, that will eventually enroll 300 to 400 students. Purdue has yet to be given approval by a charter authorizer to open the school.