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Purdue Polytechnic model coming to Hamilton SE

Purdue Polytechnic HS will partner with Hamilton SE to build a STEM-focused program inside the Hub & Spoke Institute in Fishers. (photo provided)

FISHERS (Inside INdiana Business) — Eighth-grade students in Fishers will have an opportunity this fall to be the first cohort in a joint education venture between Hamilton Southeastern Schools and Purdue Polytechnic High School.

The schools announced Tuesday the launching of the HSE Polytechnic Program, which will provide students with the tools and skills for a STEM-focused education.

PPHS has already opened two campuses in Indianapolis and announced a third location in South Bend, but this will be the first time it collaborates with a school corporation.

“While we may not want to own and operate schools, in every community across the state, we’re really looking at partnerships in places like Fishers and others that say, ‘look, you can take this model that works really, really well and apply it to any subset of students across the state,’” said Scott Bess, head of school at Purdue Polytechnic High School.

Purdue Polytechnic will provide curriculum, training and ongoing support, but the day-to-day operations will be managed and taught by HSE teachers.

“As a school district, we’re really excited about the opportunities that will be available to our students through this partnership, an opportunity to really conduct school differently,” said Matt Kegley, HSE’s Director of Secondary Education. “Students will be spending the better part of their day in a professional environment steps away from industry experts.”

Kegley says following the PPHS model, instead of having school conducted in separate class periods, lessons will be taught together so that students are learning academic skills, and then applying them in real-world scenarios.

“The space in the day to day is responsive to student needs,” explained Scott Loser, head of the HSE Polytechnic program. “Teachers and students co-create what that daily experience looks like as well as that weekly experience in order to accomplish those goals together as they move forward.”

The classes will be held at Hub & Spoke Institute, a maker space located in the growing, innovative Nickel District of Fishers.

“What started as a dream many years ago has really grown and evolved into this monumental moment for a lot of us that’s going to change the lives of many for the better,” said David Decker, founder of Hub & Spoke Institute.

Organizers intend to launch the program this fall with a 75-student class of ninth-graders from HSE high schools. It’s a four-year program with a grade level being added each year. The maximum enrollment will be 300 students.

As part of the collaborative effort, the city of Fishers is paying to lease the space at the Hub & Spoke Center.