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Indianapolis’ Most International Public Schools

Central Indiana is the epicenter of an explosion of English language learners (ELL). Where I live in Nora, our neighborhood elementary school is one of those hit hardest by rapid change. In April, The Star, Chalkbeat Indiana and WFYI Public Media collaborated on a week-long series of articles documenting the impact of the rising ELL population in Indianapolis’ schools. If you are interested to learn more, this well written article provides a back story to where we are today: As immigration reshapes Indianapolis, schools struggle to keep up.

To be sure, there are many interesting questions about the who and the why. But of course my favorite question is, “Where are those schools?” Using CartoDB’s web mapping tools, I created a simple multivariate map that displays the percentage of English language learners (ELL) school population and their relative size of enrollment. It is interesting to see the distribution of these high ELL schools, particularly noting those in Nora and Indy’s west side.

What the map doesn’t show is school performance. A few of the schools in red, those with the very highest ELL population in the state, also demonstrate high achievement. For example, on the west side of Indianapolis, in 2013-14, Carl Wilde School 79 received an “A” as its final letter grade for school accountability from the Indiana Department of Education. This is a school that consistently shows exemplary performance year after year. Nearby, Meredith Nicholson School 96 received a B as its final letter grade, a two letter grade increase from the previous year. With extremely high ELL populations, these school merit further study as examples of successful integration of ELL students without sacrificing school performance.

Nora Alliance

An alliance of neighbors, businesses, and community leaders in the community of Nora in Indianapolis, IN, promoting and enhancing livability, community engagement and thriving local economy.

Jill Saligoe-Simmel volunteers with others to spearhead the Nora Alliance. She authors content for NoraIndy.org.

Special topics include:

Urban Orienteering Comes to Indianapolis

picture-31I’m really looking forward to participating in the Indiana Geographic Information Council’s first fund-raising event – Urban Orienteering in Downtown Indianapolis on August 15th.  In fact, I’m taking the whole family!  A couple years ago, TrueNorth Team Navigation (with former IGIC board member, Jeff Coats) presented an IGIC seminar and mini-course at the State Library and it was great fun.  This summer’s event will be kept small, and it may be viewed as a “trial run” for a future city-wide annual event.

Orienteering is a popular international recreational sport – and a perfect fit for Indianapolis.  If you are in the neighborhood, you should definately check it out.  Now, to pick out our team colors…. 🙂

This summer, IGIC is presenting a fun-filled afternoon of Orienteering in downtown Indianapolis. The event marks IGIC’s first official fundraiser, and is open to all IGIC members and their families.

Participants will compete in a TrueNorth Team Navigation! (tm) event. Related to the international sport of Orienteering, Team Navigation! (tm) is an outdoor activity where groups hunt down checkpoints using maps and compasses. Teams solve realistic challenges and improve their group decision-making, problem-solving, listening and communication skills. And at the end of the road – a treasure chest!

This event is limited to 50 teams. Teams can consist of 2-3 people, while each family (any size) can be on one team. An entry into a special prize drawing will be given for every $10 in donations the team contributes. Teams are asked to collect $50 in donations to help support IGIC, but any donation will be appreciated!

Registration is free. We hope to see you there!