Stonegate Early College High School – Solid as a Rock
Stonegate Early College High School, formerly Lawrence Early College High School for Science and Technologies, has faced a number of challenges throughout its short three-year history having already experienced significant changes in both leadership and location. Principal Scott Syverson detailed how the school managed to overcome several obstacles to emerge more ready than ever to prepare students for postsecondary success.
At the end of the 2008-09 school year, Stonegate administrators learned that the school would have to move to a new facility prior to the start of the new academic year.
“Due to a conflict of interest and space constraints, we had to move. We were basically starting a school from scratch in only three-and-a-half months. Additionally, we were in our third year of operation, so all of the implementation money was pretty much gone,” Syverson said. “When you do something like that, there’s a lot of hoops you have to jump through.”
This included finding and renovating a new site; coordinating special education, transportation, food and health services; and making the necessary changes to the Stonegate school charter with the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office.
When asked how he and 12 staff members managed this feat, Syverson replied, “It was a lot of work by a lot of people to make it happen.”
The school now sits at a newly renovated location on the east side of Indianapolis at the Franklin Business Center. Individuals from the Charter School Development Corporation, Franklin Business Center, Bose McKinney & Evans Attorneys-at-Law, and the Precedent Companies can be credited with helping Stonegate not only overcome, but improve its difficult circumstances.
“We tripled our space to about 33,000 square feet here. We have a very nice auditorium, cafeteria and kitchen. We’ve even increased the number of classrooms and added two new computer labs, which we didn’t have at the old space. We also have two science labs equipped with fume hoods and gas, whereas in the old space we only had a science classroom.”
Beyond the exceptional facilities, the school’s new location brings other benefits as well.
“We are surrounded by businesses,” Syverson said. “My hope is that we’ll get more acclimated and really start to build a partnership with them so that our students can start doing some internships at those companies.”
Syverson’s new plans all support one important core value.
“We want to continue with the Early College High School theme. We are trying to build a culture where students expect that they’ll earn college credit.”
In order to accomplish this goal, Syverson constantly engages students in dialogue and programs that promote success.
“I meet with the kids—I talk with them individually and as a class. We also talk about it as a staff. Teachers talk with the kids in our advisory period. We also do a student of the month program here that promotes success and helps the kids learn that it’s not a bad thing to be successful. It’s all about trying to change that mindset.”
Despite seemingly insurmountable challenges, Stonegate Early College High School never wavered; rather, it emerged stronger than ever as an immovable force leading its students to postsecondary success
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