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Immigrant-inspired school opens its doors for first time on northwest side

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The charter school that’s inspired by the Latinx and immigrant experience finally has opened to students.

A recent partnership with Indianapolis Public Schools helped make it happen.

Francisco Valdiosera, the executive director of Monarca Academy, said, “Really, this has been a dream come true for myself personally but also for our community.”

Monarca Academy is currently enrolling the sixth grade. They have about 40 students but hope to expand. The charter school aims to develop leaders through high academic standards and community building.

The school also focuses on cultural responsiveness; that is, being respectful of everyone’s backgrounds and celebrating different cultures.

“If somebody says, ‘Well, this is inspired by the immigrant experience,’ everybody can relate to that or they have parents that say, ‘Oh, when my parents (or) my great grandparents came these are some of the values that they instilled,’” Valdiosera said.

Kalee Chaga, a student, said, “My mom had told me that there was a lot of stuff here. So, I had said, ‘Fine, I’m going to give it a try.’”

The school shares the same building with students at Northwest Middle School on the city’s northwest side, where there is a large Hispanic community. The building is also home to the school district’s Newcomer Program. It will give new English-language learners an experience that will fit their academic and language development needs.

There will be a focus on students who were born in a foreign country but all are welcome.

“And it could also be as some of our students are,” Valdiosera said. “They were born here and their parents were born here, but yet the immigrant experience is such that it could be a multigenerational experience.”

The school also provides all sorts of activities including capoeria, ballet folklorico, and world music. The Mind Trust and the Latino organization La Plaza will also provide support such as food assistance and health and social services.

“We’re so excited to be able to provide this to our community and share in community with everyone,” Valdiosera said.