Rigor and Relationships: Defining attributes of KIPP Indy Legacy High for one student

“Teachers take time out of their day to come and see how you are…they help you feel whole,” says Allen Wright, ninth grade student at KIPP Indy Legacy High. Allen is one of 125 ninth graders at the brand-new campus. Legacy High opened its doors at the beginning of August to one class of ninth graders and will continue its growth by adding a grade level each year. The high school campus is located off of 22nd Street and Ralston Avenue in the Martindale-Brightwood community. Allen lives in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood and walks to school each day. He started with KIPP Indy in middle school and believes that the combination of both relationships and rigor defines his experience with the network of schools. Through Allen’s perspective, we learn what classes and extracurriculars are like at the new KIPP Indy Legacy High.

When you walk into Legacy High, you sense the professional atmosphere. The open lobby resembles a common area you might see on a college campus. It is filled with tall tables and sleek black couches. Allen compares this area to a business office; the design was intentional in creating an environment that prepares student for post-high school opportunities. In fact, students in their junior year will participate in an internship at a local business or organization that aligns with their own career aspirations.

Legacy High’s academic model is called ‘AP for all.’ This means every student has access to rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum and has the potential to earn college credits. Allen’s classmate, Anna Padilla, comments, “classes fly by here.” Students are fully engaged due to lessons’ fast pace, teachers’ enthusiasm, and the expectations that students are taking notes and applying what they are learning during independent practice times. What the students may not realize is the intentionality teachers put into planning, internalizing, and practicing lessons before they deliver the content to students. This preparation allows teachers to deepen their understanding of the lesson and think through students’ needs.

Allen’s favorite class is Pre-AP Biology because of Mr. Jones’ ability to integrate technology into the curriculum. For instance, in their first science lab of the year, students used laptops to examine slides that demonstrate how microorganisms evolve. The lab used animations that resembled video games, which connects to Allen’s passion for video game creation. Allen’s career aspiration is to create his own video game franchise.

Outside of the classroom, Allen looks forward to continuing his athletic career at Legacy High as a member of the track team. In order to participate on a sports team, a student must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Allen explains that this is one factor that really encourages his peers to maintain their focus in every class. As the school grows each year, it will continue to add additional athletics and extracurriculars.

Allen shares that his favorite thing about Legacy High is the morning greeting. Each morning teachers and leaders warmly welcome and greet students as they arrive. “Teachers make me feel welcomed and accepted here. They take time out of their days to come and see how you are.” Along with the rigorous classes and expectations, teachers get to know each student personally in order to support their holistic development. Combined, Legacy High utilizes rigor and relationships to ensure students meet their ultimate goal of attaining the knowledge, skills, and passion necessary to thrive in college and beyond.

KIPP Indy Legacy High opened in August 2019 and is KIPP Indy Public School’s third school. By 2023, KIPP Indy Public Schools will provide 1,400 students in grades K-12 with an excellent education that prepares them to thrive in college and beyond. KIPP Indy will achieve this vision by working in deep partnership with students, their families, and partners in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood.