the project school
2018 Ball State Renewal
We Opened Our Doors & Actualized Our Dream
In 2006, a small group of passionate Indiana public school educators in Bloomington began a discussion about the current state of education. They articulated a vision for a school where students would truly thrive as whole individuals while achieving academic excellence. And a school where educators would be honored for their innovation, creativity and commitment. Our K-8 chartered public school was born out of our founding educators’ collective dream to create an authentic, intentional, democratically led school grounded in core beliefs & values - located in the heart of the community, in order to benefit the whole of the community. Their goal was to become an exemplar in both academic excellence and also heart-mind-voice education toward equity, social justice, and sustainability. They hoped to provoke and support others to do what they knew from experience is possible: to grow students who recognize their individual potential, and who aspire to achieve more and hope more for both their individual futures and the future of their local and global communities.
The Project School opened its doors in 2009 in downtown Bloomington, Indiana as a grass-roots, locally-designed and teacher-designed school to serve the community’s children. Now in our tenth year of impacting families and the community, TPS has graduated close to 250 students, and will at the conclusion of this academic year have its first cohort of college graduates. Because we have retained fidelity to our original model and vision, our founders have remained connected and engaged with the school.
We are Compelled & Propelled by Our Mission, Vision & Values
Our founders used great intentionality in their design of our programs, practices, vocabulary and culture. This intentionality was infused into our mission, vision, and values, and can be see in our everyday practice today.
The Mission of The Project School: To uncover, recover and discover the unique gifts and talents that each child brings to school every day. Our school works collaboratively with families, community members and social service agencies to solve real problems, as well as to create art for public spaces. Students graduate from The Project School as stewards of the environment with the will, skill, capacity, and knowledge to contribute to the greater good.
The Vision of The Project School: To eliminate the predictive value of race, class, gender and special abilities on student success in our school and in our communities, by working together with families and community to ensure each child’s success.
The Values of The Project School: We are committed to educating the whole child, and dedicated to cultivating the habits of heart, mind and voice. The Project School believes in —
- Empowering students and families to be contributing participants in their education, their community, and the diverse society in which we live. The keystones to change rely upon the creation of a learning community that provides students with experiences that are immediately relevant.
- Creating learning experiences that are immediately relevant, & learning environments that are fully inclusive.
- Teaching our students and families that knowing oneself well is the pathway to knowing and understanding others well, and is the pathway to the kind of collaboration that can solve problems and bring people together for the greater good.
- Valuing the contributions and voices of all members of the learning community, including students, families and teachers. A school works best for each student it serves when the culture of the school is both inclusive and inviting.
- Judging our success based on the success of our students, particularly those with the highest needs and the most challenges.
- Tailoring our practices to serve all children, including our own. We identify all obstacles and barriers to success and work collaboratively to systematically dismantle them. There is no reason to fail.
- Celebrating and honoring our families and their communities by valuing our students, their diverse histories, their myriad individual identities, and their ancestral backgrounds.
- Valuing the contributions of all members of the learning community.
- Judging our success based on the success of all students, especially those with the highest needs.
- Trusting students, families and staff to be both learners and teachers.
- Creating a culture where all are important and valued, by nurturing positive relationships with all members of the community.
- Infusing environmentally responsible practices into our school’s culture and curriculum.
- Welcoming all members of the community into our school, and creating classrooms that are fully inclusive.
- Recognizing the assets that every student, teacher, staff and family member brings to the learning experience, and utilizing those assets to create individualized supports and successes.