STEM charter

New STEM school forges pathway to college

Purdue Polytechnic High School in Indianapolis aims to increase diversity in university STEM pipeline

Purdue University and Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) will open a new STEM-focused charter school aimed at encouraging minority students and traditionally underrepresented students to apply and pursue their STEM interests at the university level.

Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis is scheduled to open in fall 2017, and applications are already open.

“For this freshman class, we were only able to admit 26 students from the entire IPS system. That’s unacceptable and someone has to find a way to do better,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “We thank IPS and the city for this unique partnership, which we hope will build a new pathway to Purdue and to successful careers for future students from downtown Indianapolis.”

The challenges are not unique to Indianapolis. Among the 48,000 Indiana high school graduates in 2014 who took the SAT, only 101 African Americans and 156 Hispanics had SAT scores and GPAs in the range of the average Purdue freshman. Among that same set of graduates, only seven African Americans and 16 Hispanics fell in the range of the top 15 percent of Purdue freshmen.

Next page: How the STEM curriculum will help students prepare for college and the workforce

Laura Ascione

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