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IPS to consider letting Gambold Prep take over Shortridge High School

Shortridge High School
Shortridge High School
Scott Elliott/Chalkbeat

The Indianapolis Public School Board tonight will discuss a plan to move Gambold Preparatory High School from its Northwest side location to a more central location — perhaps even into Shortridge High School.

That would likely mean the law and public policy program at Shortridge would have to move out of the building to another part of town, a board member said.

Board member Diane Arnold said the agenda item for tonight’s meeting grew out of discussions with IPS parents from the district’s top elementary and middle schools, including the top-rated Centers for Inquiry, about the lack of academically rigorous high school options near their neighborhoods.

Gambold opened in 2012 with the hope of providing its students a challenging academic environment through its International Baccalaureate curriculum. Its first graduating class will be in 2016, so A-F school performance data from the state is not available yet. Last year 98 percent of its students passed state English and math end-of-course exams.

“It’s a great school and it has a phenomenal leader,” said board member Diane Arnold. “It’s not in the right location. We’re not attracting our CFI parents. We’re losing all of those eighth graders to schools like Herron High School and Brebeuf and North Central High School. We clearly need to create a great flagship high school that will help us retain some of our brightest students beyond eighth grade.”

Shortridge High School, a magnet school for law and public policy, has earned a D from the state for the past two years because of poor test scores.

If Gambold moves to Shortridge, Arnold said she expects the law and public policy magnet would move to another location.

“There was a time before when we talked about a school within a school,” Arnold said. “That wasn’t well received by the faculty and some of the parents. There were logistical issues, too.”

Where would Shortridge move? Arnold said she doesn’t know, but expects the administration will present options tonight. Arnold said she expects the district will act fast considering the magnet fair is on Saturday and applications are due for the magnet schools in December.

“Time is of the essence,” Arnold said. “We have to let people know before they start.”

The board meeting is at 6 p.m. at IPS’s 120 E. Walnut St. headquarters. It is open to the public.

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