Like many schools across the state, Indianapolis Metropolitan High School teachers and students left their building on Thursday, March 12, for what would be the last time for the unforeseeable future. With statewide school closures issued by Governor Holcomb, educators found themselves faced with a daunting question: How do we continue to serve students in the wake of a global, public health crisis?
Indianapolis Metropolitan was designed to be a best-fit school for students experiencing circumstances that may present a barrier to their education. In fact, approximately 76% of Indy Met’s student population reports experiencing a barrier such as homelessness, teen pregnancy, or involvement in the foster care or criminal justice systems. The provision of on-site supports such as free child care, free school breakfast and lunch for every student, access to the school’s food pantry and check-ins with family empowerment coaches — a combination guidance counselor and social worker designed to serve the student as well as their entire family unit — are often critical to each student’s success.
At the outbreak of COVID-19, Indy Met found a way to move the entire school to an at-home learning model within a matter of days. Lesson plans were converted to a video conference format, and the staff quickly worked with families to get them internet access. Coaches quickly moved to phone and FaceTime calls, ensuring lines of communication and support remained open for students and families.
"I am on track to graduate because of Indy Met,” said senior Akacia Lewis. “Indy Met has helped me a lot. They gave me a laptop so that I can finish my work - including my certification - so that I can graduate. They really help with everything. They also are providing my family with food.”
Indianapolis Met arranged for no-contact deployment of over 100 laptops to remove any barriers created by a lack of technological access. Additional wraparound support services such as free meal pick-up, health insurance set-up via virtual meetings, and job assistance for displaced family members are just some of the many ways that Indianapolis Met has gone above and beyond in meeting needs.
With school closures extended through the end of the school year, students and staff alike are eager for a safe opportunity to return to the building and their normal routines. Until then, Indianapolis Met will continue to adapt and find new, innovative ways to serve students.
“Indy Met is always a supportive school,” said Lewis. “And now they are showing it even more."