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Two new K-8 charter schools: The first of their kind in the nation
On April 5, 2010, two K-8 urban Catholic schools received final approval by the Indianapolis City-County Council to become new charter schools. This marks a series of unprecedented acts of leadership by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis whereby a long and valued mission of charity to some of the most disadvantaged children, families and neighborhoods in Indianapolis, regardless of race or religion, will continue as articulated within the tradition and tenets of public education in America.

These two schools are the first in the nation to be chartered by an archdiocese through the establishment of an independent board (ADI, Inc.). As such, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has spearheaded a critically important opportunity by providing the structures, financial resources, as well as intellectual and charitable commitments to address the economic and achievement realities of the 21st century within the challenges now facing urban Catholic schools across the nation.

Never before has the United States needed to bring so many, with such limited resources, to the level of achievement demanded by 21st century workforce requirements. Innovation must address harsh realities. These chartered schools represent one innovative response to these realties and signal the recognition that a model is in some cases necessary to transition urban Catholic schools into vibrant, comprehensive, neighborhood-based public charter schools.

These new charter schools are charged to articulate a formative values/character development component in combination with academic achievement leading to college success, while maintaining to the extent allowed by law, a longstanding mission of charity. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has worked, above all, to maintain its commitment to these unique urban communities.

The Schools and Their Communities
The schools are referred to as Andrew Academy and Padua Academy.

Andrew Academy, located at 4050 E. 38th Street, has an African-American population (96 percent) with 77 percent of students of free and reduced lunch. Only seven percent belong to the Catholic faith.

Padua Academy, located at 349 N. Warman Ave., has a student body that is 90 percent Hispanic, 98 percent free and reduced lunch, and 91 percent Catholic.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis serves a total of six urban schools within the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies (MTCA). While two of these schools, Andrew Academy and Padua Academy, are now charter models, the resources and experience of MTCA remain firmly in support of the new initiative as the CMO. The new charters will receive capital improvements as well as increased emphasis on and resources targeted to teaching, learning and school leadership.

While student demographics under new charters cannot be known, the community pride in and support of these schools, traditionally and through the chartering process, favors continued participation by these populations.

 

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