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Beyond good grades: A unique school for Indy

Posted at 5:03 PM, Jan 11, 2016

A high school where you have to do more than get good grades to graduate is coming to Indianapolis. It’s bringing a unique idea, which it promises will get more kids into college.

The new school is called The Mind Program High School, and it’s being modeled after an Ohio high school.

We took a road trip to that high school in the state next door to find out for ourselves how it all works.

On the third floor of the University of Dayton’s Fitz hall sits the Dayton Early College Academy, also known as “DECA.”

It’s a free public charter school that posts college acceptance letters and frames every teacher’s diploma – making its mission clear on every wall, in every hallway: Getting students to college.

To guarantee that happens, Superintendent Judy Hennessey says the high school steps away from other schools’ patterns with “gateways.”

"Taking your high school classes is one part of high school. It's important,” Hennessey said. “But in addition to that, there (are) all these other things you should be doing to get ready for college, and that's where the gateways come in: to make them requirements, not options."

They are six individual stages of education each student must complete in order to get a diploma.

Gateway 4, for example, requires an internship, 25 hours of community service and the completion of a community college course.

Gateway 5, for another example, requires a second internship, a second college class and the completed tours of at least three different colleges.

“What they call gateways we are calling ‘milestones,’” The Mind Program H.S. CEO Tiffany Thomas said. “I really see it, on the far-east side, giving more educational options for families and getting into that untapped education potential that’s there on the far-east side. You have kids that are wanting to excel and wanting to grow, and want a more rigorous and challenging education option.”

Overall, it seems like this process is working out great. So far, 100 percent of DECA graduates enroll in colleges or enlist in the military when they leave the school.

The school coming to Indianapolis is expected to be just as successful at getting kids into college or successful post-high-school areas.

The Mind Program High School is expected to open in 2017, and enrollment begins this fall. For more information, tap or click here.


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