Teachers Find Home Downtown
For two Herron High School teachers, living and working downtown has major benefits.
Herron High School opened its doors in 2006 with 99 freshman to provide a tuition-free, college preparatory education in urban Indianapolis. Today, it serves 643 students, grades 9-12, and is considered one of the top charter schools in the nation.
The advantage of working at Herron is that it provides holistic engagement with education. It emphasizes learning as a way of life: what makes great literature, what makes great art, the wonder of the sciences. It's a truly rounded learning experience for students and teachers. The books students or teachers read or the art they study has ramifications for what they experience outside of the school setting. Great art and literature is often inspired by reality; therefore, by studying these fields it gives the tools to approach reality with a rich knowledge.
David Pulliam had hesitations about moving back to Indy after college. Pulliam grew up on the near northside and recounts having mixed emotions about his childhood neighborhood. But like many parts of the city, the near northside has exploded with revitalization. Moving back near his old home to take a teaching position at Herron, he was pleasantly surprised to find it so lively. Pulliam rediscovered the friendliness of the Hoosier capitol. He describes his neighborhood as welcoming and warm - where residents are altruistic and ready to give a hand. And having the potential to walk or ride a bike to work strengthens his connection to the neighborhood. More than that, living and working downtown allows him more opportunities to invest in his students and his city.
Living in the urban core gives teachers like Pulliam and Alison Hundt easy access to and an added enthusiasm for museums and the natural and architectural beauty abounding in this city. They can pass that experience on to their students.
Alison Hundt grew up in a small town in Indiana. She came to Indy to study at IUPUI with the intent of relocating back home to teach. What changed her mind were the opportunities and amenities available in a bigger city. Living and working downtown has made her feel connected to Indianapolis. She says her calendar is more full of fun activities as a young working professional than it was as a college student. Part of the reason is having a a vested interested in where she lives and works.
As a visual arts teacher, Hundt is instilling in her students an appreciation for the arts. They are learning that art patronage is one important way to be civically engaged. And they are learning the value of aesthetics and maintaining beauty in a city. This affects every part of the city---how buildings are built, the design of streets, and the sustaining of the arts. Hundt is giving her students valuable knowledge and experiences, and more importantly, real tools to help them to connect to their city.
Living and working in urban Indy allows David Pulliam and Alison Hundt to fully invest in their school and their city. They're instilling in their students a love for past and present culture and Pulliam and Hundt can be active participants in it as well.