What's your education story?

She found a school for her daughter that reminded her of the Indianapolis of her youth

PHOTO: Scott Elliott
Kelly Johnson's daughter attends Edison School for the Arts.


Chalkbeat journalists ask the people we come across in our work to tell us about their education stories and how learning shaped who they are today. Learn more about this series, and read other installments, here.

Kelly Johnson is the mother of a student who attends Edison School for the Arts, a new K-8 magnet school born from the move of the elementary arts magnet program from Indianapolis Public School 70 to the former Key Learning Community site just west of downtown. We met her after the school’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

I was born and raised in Indianapolis. I went to School 75, School 107, School 108 and Broad Ripple High School where I graduated.

I had really great teachers in IPS who were really concerned about educating us. They were not concerned about things they have to deal with today, like testing and are you going to do well on the test and all of that. It was more like: “We’re going to teach you how to multiply and divide. We’re going to teach you how to read. We’re going to teach you how to spell and then we’re going to teach you what these words mean.”

That was very inspiring. It was very different from what I see school often is now.

Today I’m a massage therapist. I work for myself.

I have a sixth grade daughter here, Hannah Johnson. I picked this school by accident. We moved into IPS from Lawrence Township. I was transporting her initially back to Lawrence Township. It just got to be too much. I wasn’t happy with our boundary school. I was concerned about that. I had the opportunity to apply for magnet schools and she was called off the waiting list for the performing arts school.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that she is a performer by nature or an artist but she does say she wants to be a make up artist. Once here, the environment reminded me very much of the environment I remember from school. That was very cool.

What's Your Education Story?

We can’t wait for you to hear these Indianapolis teachers’ stories — join us April 19

PHOTO: Ronak Shah

Indianapolis teachers have more stories from their classrooms to share this spring.

Over the past year, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from the teachers, students, and leaders of Indianapolis through our occasional series, What’s Your Education Story? Some of our favorites were told live during teacher story slams hosted by Teachers Lounge Indy.

The stories dealt with how a teacher grappled with coming out to his students, a class that organized to save historic trees in their community, and the unexpected lesson of a mouse in the classroom.

Next month, Chalkbeat is partnering with Teachers Lounge Indy, WFYI Public Media, and the Indianapolis Public Library to host a story slam. The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, will showcase tales from across Circle City classrooms. It is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Central Library, Clowes Auditorium
40 E. St. Clair St., Indianapolis, IN
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

It's Friday. Just show a video.

How a push to save some of Indiana’s oldest trees taught this class about the power of speaking out

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy
Students working at the School for Community Learning, a progressive Indianapolis private school that depends on vouchers.

Alayna Pierce was one of seven teachers who participated in story slam sponsored by Chalkbeat, Teachers Lounge Indy, WFYI Public Media and the Indianapolis Public Library on Sept. 5. Every teacher shared stories about their challenges and triumphs in Circle City classrooms.

Pierce’s story is a letter she wrote to her second and third grade students at the School for Community Learning, a private school in Indianapolis. In it, she recounts how they came together as a class and as a community to save some of the state’s oldest trees.

Check out the video below to hear Pierce’s story.

You can find more stories from educators, students and parents here.