North Central High School has always been at the forefront of advancing the education of its students. By coincidence, Washington Township was founded in the same year (1955) that the College Board began offering the Advanced Placement program. Now predominantly known as a college-based curriculum that culminates in a series of subject-specific tests at the end of the school year, over 800 North Central students take approximately 1,500 AP exams on an annual basis. The goal? Get students not only prepared for college, but ahead of the curve.
“After I graduated and began attending Ball State to pursue my teaching degree, I realized how much more prepared I was than most of my classmates,” says Kristen Poindexter (North Central ’96), who currently teaches at Spring Mill Elementary. “I attribute that to the EXCELLENT classes and teachers I had while attending North Central.”
That excellence continues today, but not without support from the Advancement Center, which provides $10,000 every year to underwrite the costs of AP testing for students that can’t afford it. It’s not a gift. It’s an investment.
Why stop with Advanced Placement when we can go further?! That is where the commitment to a district-wide International Baccalaureate curriculum comes in. North Central has been offering the diploma program since 1990, with over 300 graduates of the program who have gone on to incredible heights of success. The Advancement Center has supported in-need students with IB testing, but now a new type of activity has become a focus of grant support.
The introduction of the district-wide curriculum has given students of all ages a chance to explore education in their own terms. In 5th grade, as students graduate from their Primary Years Program (PYP), they work on an Exhibition. This involves students working collaboratively to conduct an in-depth inquiry into real life issues or problems. Students collectively synthesize all of the essential elements of the PYP in ways that can be shared with the whole school community.
In middle school, during the Middle Years Program (MYP), the study becomes independent. MYP projects encourage students to reflect on their learning and the outcomes of their work – key skills that prepare them for success in further study, the workplace and the community. There is a service learning component to every project.
Now it is time to carry that learning on to North Central. Thanks to the diligent work of several educators, and some financial support from The Advancement Center, sophomores at North Central were part of a pilot program to bring the personal project concept to high school students. In addition to a worldly education, plus the opportunity to advance education at a college-level path, students are empowered to find something that both intrigues them and they can use to better understand their community. That hard work was on display in the Information Center for all this past spring.
Challenging our students is a goal. Supporting those students is a must. While AP testing and IB diplomas will continue on in North Central’s tradition of academic excellence, bringing new educational outlets to a growing, diverse population is the dawn of a new academic age at North Central.
At the end of the day, providing a pathway to stimulating education is why we are here. So many bright minds enter the doors of North Central every day without the resources necessary to reach their full potential. Help us continue to underwrite the AP and IB testing and projects for our students by giving to our Annual Fund.