East Indianapolis charter school finding success in classroom

Tindley Accelerated charter school is opening an all-girls middle school.

A northeast Indianapolis school is expanding again, preparing to open a new all-girls middle school.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday at Tindley Accelerated charter school near 38th and Keystone, which will now be called Tindley Collegiate.

Jordan Davis says on every visit back to Tindley, he sees growth. Not only in the facilities, but in the students. He remembers some from middle school, now they are looking to college, a goal reinforced daily through the school motto - "College or Die."

"It's very hardcore," the 21-year-old Davis laughed.

"Some people who see the t-shirt slogan on the wall are going to find it a little bit alarming. As of yet, we haven't had to chase any kid down and kill them with 'College or Die,' but the kids embrace it. The kids really feel like it is the thing that reminds them of why they make the sacrifices they make," said Tindley Accelerated Chancellor Marcus Robinson.

The school's entry is decorated with laminated college acceptance letters from Butler, DePauw, Wittenberg and many more.

Davis says he got 19 acceptance letters when he graduated in 2010. The class of 19 students is a foundation for where it is now.

"I am a 3.3 student about to graduate from DePauw with honors," he said.

Of the six Tindley graduating classes to date, 100 percent have gone to college. Eighty percent have their degree or are in college now.

"I mean, if this guy can make it, anybody can make it. I mean, he had challenges and struggles, but he got through not just school, but an amazing college on top of that," Robinson said.

Tindley has won blue ribbon and four-star school honors. Their students' SAT scores surpass state and national averages. It has led some to dub Tindley "the Magic in the Meadows."

"For the most part, Tindley is not magical, it's just a whole lot of work," Robinson said.

"We were here from 8-5, I was always at home late, I was always at church late, I didn't get to hang out with my friends from other schools a lot, I was taking these hard classes more than my other friends," Davis said.

Davis says he learned tenacity at the school and took it with him to DePauw's campus. He believes it will help him earn his paycheck.

"I have a post-grad job, which a lot of seniors at DePauw do not have, so I attribute it all back to Tindley," he said.

Critics of Tindley point out the small size of the graduating classes. This year, 27 students are on track to graduate.

The new girls' middle school will open up space for more high school students.

Ballard said he hopes for similar development at Central Greens, a new development in the works at the former Central State Hospital site on the near west side.

The Tindley Trailblazer fundraiser will be held Oct. 11 at the JW Marriott Hotel. Money raised at the event will go to support the construction of a new playground at the elementary school. A $3,000 table sponsorhip provides ten tickets. Call 317-545-1745 X 109 for info.