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School Details

School Initiative Information

Initiative Name: George Washington High School Community School Initiative
Leadership Type: CBO led
Location Type: Urban
Address: 2215 W Washington St
Indianapolis, IN 46222 US
Phone: 317 693-5540


Due to major support from parent, community, and alumni members, the school reopened in 2000 as a full-service community school, and serves more than 700 near-Westside students in grades 7-12. As a full-service community school, neighborhood partners collaborate in securing the necessary conditions for learning, featuring a multitude of school-based and school-linked services.

Services/Programs Offered

Health and Social Support

Teen clinic, Social Health of Indiana pregnancy & STD prevention programming; onsite Midtown Community Mental Health counseling; visiting dental services & ongoing vision support

Engaging Instruction

Corporate partners work with STEM teachers & classes

Expanded Learning Opportunities

Afterschool program that enrolls 62% of student population; 54% of students get individual tutoring

Early Childhood Development

Linked to its three anchor neighborhood centers

College, Career, and Citizenship

Scholarship (grades 6-12), West Indy Goes to College (all sixth-graders visit IUPUI), College Summit (grades 9-12) & AVID, College Goal Sunday, Indiana Latino Institute workshops, Indianapolis Urban League Project Ready, HS college visits

Community Engagement

More than 70 community partners; monthly Community Advisory Council meeting; participate in monthly neighborhood meetings

Family Engagement

Twice monthly family nights/parent engagement workshops; extensive family supports by anchor community centers

Youth Development

Service Learning, extensive number of clubs in afterschool program including STEM mentoring program, mentoring, careers exploration, recreation & general athletics


CBOs, school district, funders, corporations, banks/credit unions, alumni, city government, faith-based organizations, health, mental health & dental providers, colleges & universities


Top Five Achievements/FSCS initiative with George Washington Community HS:
1. A greater value for education permeates the school neighborhoods 
  • 100% of graduates routinely are accepted into post-secondary education now (in a community where only 7.4% of residents age 25 and older have earned any type of post-secondary degree)
  • The high school graduation rate increased from 47% in 2009 to 77% in 2011 (the latest data available)
  • Quality of Life Plans for both neighborhood areas (Near West and West Indy) where most families live identify education as a top priority and call for high school graduation and post-secondary education as strategic goals for each child in the Indianapolis Near Westside
  • Since its inception in 2006, grassroots Dollars for Scholars chapter has awarded 179 graduates a total $214,102 in financial aid for post-secondary education
  • In 2009, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Coalition for Community Schools cited Washington as a community high school "raising graduation and college-going rates."

2. Transformative relationship established between IUPUI, school, and community 
  • The University of Pennsylvania Netter Center for Community Partnerships funds a new Midwest Center for University-Assisted Community Schools at IUPUI to promote adaptation of the GWCHS experience
  • Ongoing hundreds of IUPUI students and staff members from departments across campus participate annually at GWCHS in a variety of education supports, including tutoring and mentoring, afterschool activities, and management of the school wellness center that is open to the public weekday afternoons/evening and provide personal trainers as well as individual health assessments
  • About 200 pre-service education students at IUPUI take their courses in GWCHS each semester
  • Routine engagement in neighborhood improvement efforts take place between residents, IUPUI and school representatives

3. Sustained one of the nation’s most comprehensive community schools more than a decade
  • More than 70 community partners collaborate in providing 98% of the students at least one support service the past two years
  • As lead partner, Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center has continued full engagement as fiscal agent, employing onsite community schools professionals full time, guiding collaborative funding plans and acquisition, and handling extensive accounting services; provides full-time Parent/Community Coordinators to two nearby feeder elementary schools
  • Anchor-partner neighborhood centers Christamore House, Hawthorne Community Center, and Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center collectively provide employment, social service, pre-school/child care, afterschool, adult learning, and related supports for more than 6,000 GWCHS families and their neighbors annually

4. Helped to create a school climate that is welcoming to parents and families, community, and conducive to learning
  • Monthly Community Advisory Council provides school community stakeholders a voice and opportunity to collaboratively align resources with academic and social development needs
  • A 2010 Indiana University study showed that Washington’s minority students – notably Hispanic males – were the highest achieving students in the school
  • The student population mirrors an essentially balanced neighborhood ethnicity that is 43% African-American, 25% Hispanic, 36% white, and 6% other
  • 702 of 1.045 students are enrolled in the "Hub" afterschool program that meets schooldays until 6 p.m. when participants finish dinner and board late buses for home
  • In 2011, parent engagement increased to 1,012 individual participants, nearly a 100% increase over the number in 2009
  • Visitors often comment on the positive school climate; in 2010 a longtime guest award presenter said that in her years of visiting schools, she had never before been in one "filled with such love"
  • Students in Spring 2012 Youth As Resources presentation expressed that bullying is "not a problem in this school"

5. Contributed to the Indianapolis Near Westside being considered a great place to work and live
  • Piloted at George Washington, the onsite Juvenile Probation Officer reported his caseload decreased 50% within the first five years and now every high school in the county has a probation officer on site
  • About the time the school reopened, new business development along adjoining Washington Street corridor began in both directions; today, developers are building affordable housing in nearby Central Greens, former home of a state mental hospital complex

Funding Sources

US Department of Education, USA Funds, United Way of Central Indiana, Indianapolis Public Schools Title 1, Eli Lilly & Company, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, GWHS Alumni Association, GWHS 50-Year Club, GWCHS Dollars for Scholars, Techers Credit Union, Flanner & Buchanan Floral Park Center, West Indianapolis Community Fund

Resources for the Field

Initiative Demographics

42% Caucasian
30% Latino
24% African-American
4% multi-racial
4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW  |  Suite 100  |  Washington, DC 20008-2304   |   Tel. 202.822.8405 X111  |  Fax 202.872.4050  |  Email
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