A student at Step Ahead Academy works diligently on their classwork. Brian Burke, principal of the Indianapolis Public Schools Step Ahead Academy, wanted to make one thing very clear—the Step Ahead Academy “is an academic-driven, academic-focused alternative education program. This is not a behavioral or discipline program.” Burke wanted that to be clear because he knows the academy is a great option and opportunity for middle-school students (Grades 6, 7 and 8) who have fallen behind their age group and want to catch back up. Essentially, the goal is for students to complete two years of instruction in a single year and catch back up to their age group.

The academy is able to help students do this through smaller class sizes, which allows teachers to engage with students at a greater level. Burke noted that “all teachers get to know all the students.” This creates an intimate environment where students receive the support they need to succeed. Burke said so far it’s that supportive environment students and families really respond to. Parents really like the way teachers build relationships with students to help them through this rigorous program.

Burke said the academy is currently looking to accept students. Forty-five are enrolled, and they have space for a total of 90. School administrators and the Step Ahead Academy are searching for other likely candidates, so students should talk with their school administrators if they feel they may qualify. The academy will meet with students and their families to discuss the areas of improvement, determine if the students are committed and excited about the Step Ahead environment, and then proceed with next steps.

IPS is excited to offer an academic opportunity like the Step Ahead Academy to help students get back on track and encourages our students and families to take full advantage of it.