August 29, 2014

Transition plan is announced for two charter schools next year

By John Shaughnessy

Four years after the archdiocese received approval to create two charter schools in Indianapolis, one of the schools will re-open next year as a Catholic school while the other hopes to continue under new management, according to the independent board that oversees the two schools.

In announcing the decision to relinquish the charters of Andrew Academy and Padua Academy at the end of the 2014-15 school year, the president of the board of directors of ADI Schools Inc. said, “It is in the best interest of the parents and students to offer alternatives to the current schools.”

“We have worked the past four years to provide a quality education to the children of these communities,” said Marc Guess, president of the ADI board of directors. “Our focus has always been to do what is best for the students. We believe these changes will allow for better opportunities for these children and their families.”

A transition plan for the two schools for the 2015-16 school year is already in place, according to a press release from ADI.

“The Indianapolis Office of Education Innovation will work closely with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, which owns the two school buildings, to identify another charter management organization to serve the community at the current Andrew Academy site, 4050 E. 38th St.,” the press release noted.

The statement also noted that the archdiocese plans to re-open a Catholic school at the Padua Academy site, 349 N. Warman Ave., for the 2015-16 school year.

“All of the students currently attending Padua Academy will have the opportunity to enroll at that Catholic school,” the press release noted. “Placement assistance will also be available to all current students of both Andrew Academy and Padua Academy who wish to attend another Catholic school, charter school or traditional public school.”

A letter announcing the decision and the transition plans was sent on Aug. 22 to the families of Andrew Academy and Padua Academy. In the letters, the director of the ADI Schools, Peggy Elson, stated that the schools remain committed this year to “providing the best education” for the children there.

“Even as we prepare for this transition, our top priority is the education and formation of your children throughout this current academic year, with the ultimate goal of preparing them for college- and career-readiness,” Elson wrote.

She also noted that informational nights will be scheduled at the schools to answer any questions and concerns.

In 2010, the City-County Council of Indianapolis and Marion County approved the archdiocese’s plan for St. Anthony Catholic School and St. Andrew & St. Rita Catholic Academy to become charter schools. As part of the approval, the schools had to change their names and they couldn’t promote the Catholic faith during school hours.

The archdiocese formed a separate corporation—ADI Schools, Inc.—in 2010 to oversee the two schools to ensure that all aspects of their governance and operational activities conformed to state and federal laws.

“High-quality schools are critical to the health and well-being of our city,” said Brandon Brown, director of charter schools for the City of Indianapolis. “We support the ADI Board’s decision and appreciate its commitment to putting the interests of students and families first.” †

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