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Circle City Prep’s Success in Student Engagement

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Circle City Prep




Indianapolis, IN

Circle City Prep, a charter school on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis, is dedicated to providing high-performing, high-quality education without disrupting the community. Their focus is not on disrupting the neighborhood, but on investing in it, particularly in an area that has historically been underserved.

Once a vibrant part of the black community, the Far Eastside has faced challenges due to political decisions, resulting in limited resources and influence. Despite this, the community’s resilience turned it into a tight-knit hub of entrepreneurship and support. Aligning with this spirit, Circle City Prep opened its doors in 2017, not to save, but to serve and support what was already in progress.

Rebah Ginn, Director of School Culture and After-School Programming, emphasizes the importance of exposing students to academic and personal opportunities early on. Special courses, activities, and field trips to universities have been designed to prepare students for college while fostering a broader perspective of the world. 

“We need to teach, but there’s also so much more to providing and serving children,” Rebah Ginn aims to bring opportunities, exposure, and the “same view of the bigger picture of our world” that students in more affluent schools are able to see naturally. She wants to encourage students to learn a new hobby, join a club, and be part of the activities that Circle City Prep is offering the student community; that’s her drive.

Curriculum & Culture

Circle City Prep‘s curriculum is carefully crafted to ensure students receive a culturally representative education. This commitment extends beyond their homes and heritage, embracing and celebrating the diverse cultures found across the United States. As a result, kids can anticipate a rich variety of activities and Heritage Month celebrations.

By exposing kids to people who might be different from them and who have their own sets of traditions, Circle City Prep is combating prejudice to create compassion. Rebah Ginn expresses the importance of helping kids understand that “people who are different aren’t necessarily bad, and that there’s actually a lot of goodness in learning about things that are different from us.”

Ginn reassures that student culture goes beyond mere discipline and behavior. Instead, the focus is on creating a culture where students are inspired to be curious and passionate about learning. The goal is to prompt self-reflection, encouraging students to explore questions like: What are my hobbies? What are my passions? What are the things I’m good at that make me happy? Circle City Prep places a strong emphasis on introspection, helping students discover more about themselves—a key element that may lead to potential career opportunities.

The Importance of Partnerships

By collaborating with external partners, Circle City Prep is actively providing their students with more opportunities. Working with organizations brings a wealth of benefits that extend beyond what an institution can achieve on its own. According to Rebah Ginn, “AfterSchool HQ has been a great asset in the process,” making registration for kids easier. The cumbersome days of dealing with hundreds of printed forms and answering numerous phone questions are now a task of the past. As Ginn puts it, “all the headache is gone.”

Also, In the course of their journey, Circle City Prep seized the opportunity to join forces with the Patachou Foundation to establish the first fresh prep kitchen. Through kitchen renovations, every meal and snack for students is now crafted entirely from scratch, using organic and local ingredients. This initiative sets a valuable example, allowing students to appreciate the significance of nutrition.

Circle City Prep After AfterSchool HQ

Ready to drop your jaw? Circle City Prep has a wide range of after-school clubs and programs, from robotics and sports to Dungeons & Dragons and gardening. Whether you’re a long-time enthusiast or a curious soul eager to explore a new activity, there’s an option for everyone. Remarkably, around 68% of their students actively participate in at least one club. However, at the beginning, things weren’t as swift.

Ginn vividly recalls the days before AfterSchool HQ, as if it was yesterday. Just a couple of days into the first-time registration process for Circle City Prep, Ginn fell ill. It was a first-come, first-serve system, and when she finally got hold of the registration forms, crucial information was missing. Who registered first? From where? With over 100 papers in hand, Rebah realized this couldn’t happen again.

After experiencing a taste of AfterSchool HQ through a free trial, Circle City Prep eagerly signed up. The newfound partnership with AfterSchool HQ was a “huge catalyst.” The transformation from the first quarter to the second was remarkable. Circle City Prep successfully streamlined their processes, benefiting both staff and families, leading to increased satisfaction levels. Rebah notes, “They were so much happier being able to engage online or on their phones.”

Recognizing the importance of consistency, Circle City Prep found that having precise steps and all necessary details on the AfterSchool HQ platform was key.  During our interview, Ginn expressed her astonishment at the growth witnessed in their after-school programming.

Nowadays, Circle City Prep experiences a high demand, with every single club selling out within the first 24 hours. This success allows Ginn and her team to redirect their focus towards more impactful aspects of their jobs. The days of the cumbersome registration process are gone, providing them with the freedom to concentrate on matters that truly make a difference for their students.


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