Eddie Rangel and Matthew Rooney are two experienced Indianapolis school leaders who recently founded Adelante Schools, a non-profit school management organization. The mission of Adelante schools is to unite in solidarity with families and community to create a joyous neighborhood school, preparing all scholars to graduate from college and lead lives of leadership and service to Indianapolis. Their approach has six focuses: rigorous academics, a focus on literacy, a focus on math, strong teachers, supportive leaders, and a caring culture.
Earlier this fall, Adelante Schools began the process of applying to partner with IPS to lead an Innovation Network School. Innovation schools are IPS schools that have more freedom than traditional district schools over decisions like the length of the day and special programs offered to students. Because the schools are part of the district, IPS receives credit for their enrollment and state test scores.
Adelante Schools has applied to partner with IPS on a restart school, a type of Innovation Network School, beginning in either Fall 2020 or Fall 2021. Eddie Rangel is the Executive Director and Head of Elementary for Adelante Schools. Matthew Rooney is the Head of Secondary. Both are experienced school leaders with strong track records of success. In the schools they most recently led, more than 99% of students were students of color and more than 80% of students qualified for free or reduced lunch.
Both school leaders want to lead a restart because they know how important strong neighborhood schools are for students and families. “Excellent schools shouldn’t be exclusive to certain communities. We have an opportunity to provide an excellent education in partnership with a neighborhood,” said Rangel. “We want to honor the history of the community in any community we serve by working in solidarity with its families to create a stronger future together.” As an initial step in honoring an existing school community, they are proposing to not change the name of the school they may be matched with to serve.
Eddie Rangel has lived in Indianapolis for eight years and has spent his career teaching and leading in public schools. During his first year of teaching in an IPS school, Rangel had an exceptional principal who inspired her team to get strong results for students. When the opportunity to apply for an assistant principal position came up, he immediately applied. He was thrilled at the chance to be able to broaden his impact on students.
“I get excited for morning arrival when I get to shake everyone’s hand and welcome them to school by name. I believe that school leadership is among the most challenging, but worthwhile vocations in our society. It allows me to be the big kid at heart while helping to build up our strongest community treasure, our kids,” said Rangel.
At the last school Rangel led, 100% of 3rd graders passed the I-READ test on the first try in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. The I-READ state average pass rate in 2018-2019 was 87.5%. “We did away with “guessing” strategies and focused on our two literacy pillars: foundational decoding skills and building background knowledge. What I am so proud of in our I-READ data is that teachers and families partnered together to attain this goal. Families came to Literacy Workshops and took a practice I-READ tests alongside their scholar.” said Rangel.
Matthew Rooney is a native of Indianapolis and began teaching in 2008. “During high school, I was inspired by all of the passionate educators who helped me become the person I am today.”
In 2003, he was chosen as a Lilly Endowment Community Scholar, one of the most prestigious honors a Hooiser high schooler can earn. He chose to attend Ball State University for its strong teacher preparation program. “I’ve always known I wanted to be an educator and now have the opportunity to lead other teachers to reach the goals they have for their students. Every moment of teaching is a gift, and it’s the most rewarding work there is.”
The high school Rooney most recently led achieved 100% college acceptance for three consecutive years. During his time as principal, the average SAT score rose more than 50 points. Juniors at the school outperformed the national average for senior students who took the SAT.
Beyond academic instruction, both Rooney and Rangel believe school culture and family engagement is key to success. Adelante Schools will create strong student culture by teaching students shared expectations, practicing, authentically praising them when they meet those expectations, and socially unpacking those instances when expectations are not met.
Both school leaders will be available to meet with community members at the following times: Saturday, December 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Books & Brews – South Indy, located at 3808 Shelby Street, Indianapolis, IN 46227 and Monday, December 9, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the McDonald’s located at 2830 S. Madison Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46225.
To contact the school leaders, email firstname.lastname@example.org.