Recently, Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis moved into the Hawthorne Community Center. It’s been a fortuitous pairing for many reasons; some we didn’t even see coming. Our co-location partnership began during COVID. Vanguard needed a more affordable location for our public charter middle school serving grades 5-8. At the same time, the Hawthorne was trying to offset financial pressures from COVID. We already had an established rapport based on serving our scholars — Hawthorne  skillfully and joyfully provides our robust before and after school programming.

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At Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis, our scholars’ academic dreams, and those of their families, are our mission.  Our test scores speak volumes to our unapologetic focus on academics for our fifth to eighth grade students. 

2018-2019 was our first year in operation as a public charter middle school serving grades 5-8. Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis is proud to share our scores. They reflect ILEARN, the Indiana Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network’s measures: 

  • Higher than the IPS School District 
  • Higher than all standalone middle schools in the IPS District 
  • Higher than all neighboring Innovation Network Schools  
  • Higher than all but one school in the 46222 ZIP code  

Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis and two students during Black History Month with presentation about women in the Black Panther Party

Academic Success 

We create scholars by setting a high bar for educational fluency and leadership.

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Our fifth to eighth grade scholars had an incredible opportunity this summer — learning to sail! 

Half of the sailing camp participants were from Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis. Four of our scholars flew to Chicago for a two-week adventure including sailing lessons, visiting the Museum of Science and Industry and exploring the Lincoln Zoo. 

Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis scholars at Jackson Park Yacht Club with Youth Empowered, Inc. of Indianapolis

This parent-led initiative by Youth Empowered introduced campers to first aid, CPR, swimming and sailing.

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Juneteenth, short for June Nineteenth, marks the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to ensure that all remaining enslaved people were truly freed. The arrival of troops came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln.

Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis and scholars at Juneteenth event together

We joined the Indy Juneteenth Celebration because we will not miss any opportunity to recognize the value of black lives —

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Vanguard is intentionally and joyfully active in our community. From our school leaders in the news, winning awards and joining podcasts, to our students learning and cooking in a local, professional kitchen, or exploring the zoo. Or via our Community Circle where we invite prominent Black and Latinx professionals to tell our students about their path to success — community is all around us. 

Service Learning 

We also partner with ProAct Indy to elevate and benefit our beloved community.

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Last fall, Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis scholars got into a gardening groove planting turnips, carrots and more at Public Greens. Recently, our fifth and sixth graders enjoyed another field trip tied to this original harvest; our scholars got to reap what they sowed. 

14 of our scholars visited The Patachou Foundation to get hands-on in the kitchen. It was a full circle moment. From planting vegetables in the fall in our Vanguard garden plot

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At Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis, we care deeply for every one of our scholars. We deliberately and purposely get to know each unique scholar and our intentionally small public charter middle school allows us to truly build a bond, together. We know each scholar’s favorite sports teams, their humor and personality and what academic challenges each unique scholar may face and actively overcome. Most of all — we make it our purpose to know what every scholar is going through in their young lives from hurt,

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Eric Saunders, Vanguard’s Director of Community Engagement, co-hosts a Facebook Live show called Tea’s Me Community Conversations. Check out this recent session that included Marlin Jackson, former NFL player and founder of Fight for Life, one of Vanguard’s community partners.

Tea’s Me Community Conversations Ep. 14 Disrupting Unconscious Bias

Community Conversations are sponsored by Tea’s Me Cafe.

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Vanguard Collegiate of Indianapolis is a free public middle school serving grades 5-8. We are deliberately small in school size and big on academic focus. We keep our middle school small in size so we can focus on each unique scholar as the individual they are. Because we serve middle schoolers, we spend deliberate and compassionate time on character development, social emotional learning, and personal ethics alongside robust college prep academics. And since there are fewer of us together each day,

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