New South Bend charter school to focus on project-based learning, career paths

NOW: New South Bend charter school to focus on project-based learning, career paths

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SOUTH BEND, Ind., --- The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County partnered with Success Academy to launch a new public charter school focused on project-based learning.

The headquarters of the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County on East Sample Street in South Bend will be expanding and undergoing renovations to soon home a brand-new public charter school opening in the fall of 2023.

Success Academy and Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County will be able to serve up to 150 students.

“Right now, our building goes underutilized during the day. This is going to allow us to serve kids before school, starting at 6:30 a.m., provide experiential learning during the day and then compliment with their after-school programming,” said Jacqueline Kronk, the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County.

“This is going to be a pilot school compared to what we currently have at Success Academy,” added Jeremy Lugbill, the Superintendent of Career & Success Academies.

The collaboration came as a result of Indiana Department of Education's $4.4 million “Explore, Engage, Experience” grant aimed to bring new work-based programming and learning opportunities to local students.

In addition, the curriculum will emphasize project-based learning, STEM, experiences, and career paths at an early age.

“If we bring it to you in first and second grade and get you excited, through project-based learning that opportunity is going to come,” explained Kronk. “The new school will be an innovative model of a four-day school week with a fifth day of experiential learning.”

The Boys & Girls Club said they have more than 600 students county-wide on their waiting list.

However, the non-traditional K-5 school will allow the Club, who already serves more than 2,600, many of which are minority and low-income families, to expand resources and its new education model to at least 150 students.

“I think this is critically important, particularly for minorities. It’s all about exposure and experiences and having opportunities that will open up doors and a paradigm for what’s possible in the future,” said Kronk.

“For me I always believed there needs to be more people in the school system that look like me, especially that have been places that I’ve been and can relate with the kids,” added Keenen Boyce, Entrepreneurship Coordinator at the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County.

The education model at Success Academy and Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County will not only be centered around project-based learning but also teachers and youth development professionals working hand in hand with students.

“Just to be able to do this throughout the entire day and be surrounded by kids and to be able to have an impact on the way that they view their potential futures and potential opportunities moving forward, really couldn’t ask for more.”

The school will be a public charter school paid for by state and local funding, so anyone in the area can attend, however they will not offer busing.

The club will host a parent information night about the new school on December 19 at its headquarters at 502 E Sample St, South Bend, IN 46601.

Space is limited as the school will only be able to hold 150 students.

Enrollment for the Success Academy at Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County will open up on January 9,2023, at 8 a.m.

More information about the school and enrollment can be found here.

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