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10/4/2018 7:21:00 PM
Purdue Polytechnic High School takes new approach to students with autism

Lindsay Moore, Journal and Courier Reporter

For the first time in a long time 15-year-old Lucas Kramer wants to go to school.

At Purdue Polytechnic High School, students learn core curriculum such as biology and geometry through big picture projects centered around real-world challenges.

It's a lot more interesting to learn about DNA and the genetic makeup of food when you're trying to solve the problem of global poverty.

"It encourages students to learn rather than just listen," Lucas said of his new school.

It's like someone finally turned on the audio for Charlie Brown and the "wah wah wah"ing of teachers is in plain English.

Lucas, like so many other students on the autism spectrum, said he felt bored in his other schools. Being asked to sit in a classroom and just stare straight ahead at a teacher would frustrate him and made him feel like he wasn't in control.

Flexible schedules, project-based learning and the opportunity to build as they learn are key factors that draw students on the spectrum to the high school said Tonya Taylor, the school's director of student services.

The STEM-focused high school is temporarily located in Circle Centre Mall in Indianapolis. The primary goal of the high school was to appeal to students who were not on track to further their education through college or technical school.

Of the 250 students, 45 are identified as receiving special education services.

Related Links:
• Journal & Courier full text

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• Lafayette area community leaders fill the gaps for disability advocates and parents
• Teachers are learning on the job how to manage students with autism

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