Purdue’s largest freshman class will include first graduates of Purdue Polytechnic High School in Indianapolis

WEST LAFAYETTE – The pipeline of qualified students flowing from Indianapolis to West Lafayette is now open. Purdue’s latest enrollment data shows that the university is reaching students and families in the state’s capital as never before.

Forty students from the first graduating class of Purdue Polytechnic High School Schweitzer Center at Englewood in Indianapolis are among the more than 10,000 incoming freshmen expected to arrive on campus later this summer as part of the university’s largest freshman class ever. In addition to PPHS Schweitzer Center located on Indianapolis’ east side, there is the North campus near Indianapolis’ Broad Ripple neighborhood and PPHS South Bend.

Michael Berghoff, chairman of the Purdue Board of Trustees, talks to Trevon Lowman, a PPHS senior, following the senior breakfast. (Purdue University photo)

The university created the Purdue Polytechnic High Schools (PPHS) to build new K-12 pathways that lead to Purdue, especially for Hoosier students who are underserved by traditional high schools and underrepresented in higher education.

“These students are pioneers, the first of what we intend to be hundreds to graduate from PPHS schools and come to Purdue,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “From its inception four years ago, I have viewed our PPHS schools as among our most important initiatives. No action we take can have a larger or more direct effect in bringing a more diverse student body to our campus.”

Eleven students from Indianapolis Public Schools have also been accepted into Purdue West Lafayette for the 2021-22 school year, the most since 2019.

Principal Shatoya Ward discusses the first senior class and students admitted to Purdue in video.

Established in 2017, the growing, multischool PPHS system immerses students and their families in an innovative learning community. PPHS offers tuition-free, authentic, STEM-focused experiences that prepare high school students for a successful future. These experiences include internships, industry projects, dual-credit courses and technical certifications. PPHS also offers its students a unique path to college; graduates who achieve Purdue’s admission requirements are assured admission to many programs at Purdue.

Scott Bess, head of schools for PPHS, says seeing the first graduating class of PPHS students and increased numbers from IPS is part of Purdue’s commitment and mission to being Indiana’s land-grant university – working to serve all residents.

Scott Bess, head of schools for PPHS. (Purdue University photo)

“This is being true to that land-grant mission. We had to put our name and reputation on the line. We had to do something bold about it,” he said.

PPHS is known for offering students and families a different experience. Some want a more intimate learning environment or a pathway to Purdue. Others are seeking an innovative approach to learning compared to traditional educational models.

One of the differentiators is allowing students to work on eight to 10 passion projects throughout a year. Previous projects have included designing business plans for hydroponics, addressing climate change and food deserts in Indianapolis, and partnerships with area businesses on some of the real-world issues they face in the industry.

Adrian Martinez, a Purdue-bound senior from Purdue Polytechnic High School Schweitzer Center at Englewood, prepares for the school’s first graduation on June 11. (Purdue University photo)

Adrian Martinez, a Purdue-bound senior from Purdue Polytechnic High School Schweitzer Center at Englewood, prepares for the school’s first graduation on June 11. (Purdue University photo) Download image

Eric Martinez, a senior at PPHS Schweitzer Center at Englewood and a member of the first graduating class, talks about the importance of passion projects and the continual push and support by coaches on the projects. Martinez just completed a passion project designing and building a cardboard chair that was inspired by the elegant, flared rooflines of Japanese pagodas.

“At PPHS, our passion projects present us with so many different types of problems to solve,” Martinez said. “It’s built my confidence to learn that not only does every challenge have multiple solutions, but I have the ability to think through the different options because I’ve had the experience of project-based learning.”

PPHS locations are still accepting applications for student enrollment in the fall. For more information on registering at PPHS, contact PPHS Network Office at info@pphs.purdue.edu.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

Information: Matthew Oates ,oatesw@purdue.edu, @mo_oates

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu; Scott Bess, sbess@pphs.purdue.edu