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Kelly Johnson's daughter attends Edison School for the Arts.

Kelly Johnson’s daughter attends Edison School for the Arts.

Scott Elliott

She found a school for her daughter that reminded her of the Indianapolis of her youth


Chalkbeat journalists ask the people we come across in our work to tell us about their education stories and how learning shaped who they are today. Learn more about this series, and read other installments, here.

Kelly Johnson is the mother of a student who attends Edison School for the Arts, a new K-8 magnet school born from the move of the elementary arts magnet program from Indianapolis Public School 70 to the former Key Learning Community site just west of downtown. We met her after the school’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

I was born and raised in Indianapolis. I went to School 75, School 107, School 108 and Broad Ripple High School where I graduated.

I had really great teachers in IPS who were really concerned about educating us. They were not concerned about things they have to deal with today, like testing and are you going to do well on the test and all of that. It was more like: “We’re going to teach you how to multiply and divide. We’re going to teach you how to read. We’re going to teach you how to spell and then we’re going to teach you what these words mean.”

That was very inspiring. It was very different from what I see school often is now.

Today I’m a massage therapist. I work for myself.

I have a sixth grade daughter here, Hannah Johnson. I picked this school by accident. We moved into IPS from Lawrence Township. I was transporting her initially back to Lawrence Township. It just got to be too much. I wasn’t happy with our boundary school. I was concerned about that. I had the opportunity to apply for magnet schools and she was called off the waiting list for the performing arts school.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that she is a performer by nature or an artist but she does say she wants to be a make up artist. Once here, the environment reminded me very much of the environment I remember from school. That was very cool.