May 4, 2018 

It’s been 25 years since the first Center for Inquiry (CFI) opened as a choice program within Indianapolis Public Schools. Today, there are four CFI schools as part of IPS’ academic portfolio, and founding teachers and families are ready to celebrate the milestones as they reflect on their journey and growth.

“The 25th anniversary is a remarkable milestone worth celebrating, not only among CFI families, staff and alumni, but throughout our city as the growth, replication and success of the CFI schools has had a positive impact within our larger community,” said Chris Collier, a founding CFI member and its first principal, who now leads CFI School 70.

Milestones within the 25 years of CFI mark many “firsts,” including:

  • The first model of inclusion for learners with special education in Marion County.
  • The first model of a university partnership with schools in which pre-service teachers learned on site, side-by-side with practicing teachers.
  • The first International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme in the state of Indiana.

“When we conceptualized CFI and began our planning 27 years ago, and then opened with 80 students and six staff members 25 years ago, we never imagined what is now the reality of CFI in our city,” said Collier.

As part of their silver anniversary celebration, community members are welcome to attend a block party from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at CFI 2, 725 N. New Jersey St. (register here). You can also purchase commemorative gear here and contribute financially to their fundraising efforts. 

CFI 2 Principal Andrea Hunley is spearheading the dedicated planning committee that has been formed to conceptualize and execute this monumental occasion.

The block party will feature food trucks, a kids’ carnival zone, live music, a history walk, the premiere of a CFI documentary, and much more.

The original CFI program was housed in one wing of a larger IPS school for students in Grades K-5. The program has now blossomed to include four campuses, with more than 160 staff members, serving more than 1,400 children in Grades K-8.

“We are proud of our history and enthusiastic about our future,” said Hunley. “We want everyone to join us in honoring our founders and celebrating all of our innovative, creative and dedicated teachers who have made the growth and success of our program possible.”

The CFI celebration will represent what it looks like when people work together. “Strong communities build strong schools,” added Hunley.