April 2022 News

Indiana Academy Recognized by U.S. News & World Report Among Top Indiana High Schools

Friday, April 29, 2022

MUNCIE, Indiana – The Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities and Burris Laboratory School are once again receiving national recognition.

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the Indiana Academy (No. 2) and Burris (No. 7) among the top high schools in Indiana in its “2022 Best U.S. High Schools” listing. Both schools are operated by Ball State University’s Teachers College.

“These excellent rankings are a testament to the hard work being done by our students, faculty, and staff at both institutions on a daily basis,” said Dr. Anand R. Marri, Teachers College dean. “At Ball State, we value being a good neighbor. Through our school partnerships with the Indiana Academy and Burris, we continue to engage our community, serve teachers and students, and advance education throughout Indiana.”

The annual U.S. News & World Report “Best U.S. High Schools” rankings are determined by students’ outcomes in state assessments, college-level exam scores, and graduation rates. The Indiana Academy ranked as the No. 2 school in the state largely due to its state assessment performance and proficiency—both of which ranked tied for first in the state—and its 98-percent graduation rate.

Earlier this year, the Indiana Academy—a residential high school for approximately 300 gifted and talented juniors and seniors from across the State of Indiana—was also ranked by Niche as the No. 1 public high school in Indiana.

“Since its founding in 1988 by the Indiana General Assembly, the Indiana Academy has consistently been an incubator for excellence,” said Dr. Dain Kavars, the Indiana Academy’s executive director. “Our diverse community of students live in our exceptional learning community, where they are challenged by our stimulating curricula that blends tradition with innovation. I’m proud to see that hard work recognized once again by U.S. News & World Report.”

Burris, which ranked ninth in the state in last year’s U.S. News & World Report “Best U.S. High Schools” listing, was able to improve two spots in this year’s rankings in part because of its students’ increased participation in Advanced Placement (AP) classes—from 70 percent in 2021 to 76 percent this year. Participation and assessment scores in AP classes are the most weighted elements considered for the rankings.

Founded in 1929 by Teachers College, Burris is now operated and managed by Ball State as a laboratory school for the University.

“This ranking reflects the ongoing partnership between our educators, staff, and students to create a collaborative environment of respect that challenges everyone to excel,” said Dr. Abigail Comber, interim principal at Burris. “Our collaboration with community partners has enabled our educators to model the academic rigor and continuous improvement mindset that is necessary for success.”

Nationally, the Indiana Academy ranked 218th overall, while Burris ranked 419th, out of almost 24,000 total public high schools evaluated in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Academy Students Sweep Math Competition

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Seniors Will Amos and Sophia Lotzow and juniors Elijah Buck and Charles Behrman represented the Indiana Academy at the Indiana High School State Math Contest on Saturday, April 23. The contest, sponsored by the Indiana Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM), was held at 10 sites across the state. The Academy students competed at the Ball State University site.

The Academy swept the Comprehensive Category for the BSU regional, with Buck placing first, Lotzow second, Behrman third, and Amos fourth. Statewide results will be announced soon. The performers in the top 5% for the state will be recognized at the ICTM Outstanding Scholars Award Ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse in June.

Congratulations to our outstanding students!

Academy TSA Crowned Technology Bowl State Champions

Monday, April 25, 2022

Saturday and Sunday, April 23-24, the Indiana Academy Technology Student Association (TSA) team attended and competed in a two-day virtual workshop/technology competition, where they won the Technology Bowl State Championship. Overall, the team finished fourth when including points from other events.

Congratulations to Bryn Deibel, Nico Minnich, and Luke Monroe, and their coach, Ms. Susie Cunningham!

Academic Super Bowl Teams Qualify for State

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Tuesday, April 19th, the Indiana Academy sent teams in Math, English, Science, Fine Arts, Social Studies, and Interdisciplinary to the area Super Bowl competition at Greenfield Central High School.

The teams in Math (1st in class overall), English (1st in class overall), Science (4th in class overall), Fine Arts (4th in class overall), and Interdisciplinary (1st in class overall) qualified for the state competition on May 7th at Purdue University.

Coached by Ms. Jessica Edrington, these teams put in a lot of hours in student-led practices, and they also brought home blue ribbons for placing first at the area competition. Congratulations to the Super Bowl champions, and a special thank you to Ms. Kim Foltz and Ms. Megan Wright for driving late into the night!

Academy Faculty Receive Robert P. Bell Education Grant

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County has awarded a Robert P. Bell Education Grant to Dr. Phillip Lobo and Dr. Jeff Smith to fund a project which will partner Academy students with local community organizations to educate themselves on local ecosystems and promote biodiversity.

Under the guidance of a trained botanist, students will learn about the interplay between native and invasive species, and the efforts the community makes to maintain the natural world that lives alongside us every moment. With the help of partners at the Cardinal Greenway, students will, over the course of a weekend in spring, seed the Greenway with local grasses and flowers. These include little bluestem, prairie gayfeather, purple coneflower and the endangered royal catchfly.

The method of planting is a hands-on process combining organic compost, dry clay, water and a blend of seeds. Students will measure, mix and create seed distribution pellets which can be safely thrown into disused or disturbed land to revitalize it. Later, they will follow up with these sites to track their progress, to see where their plantings have flourished or faced challenges, and why.

Congratulations to Dr. Lobo and Dr. Smith!

Isabelle Behrman in Top 2 for Ball State Student Awards

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Academy alum Isabelle Behrman (Class of 2020) was recently recognized as being in the Top 2 for Ball State’s Top 100 Student Awards for the most outstanding junior and senior undergraduates. With a double major in chemistry and Spanish at Ball State, Isabelle will be completing her undergraduate degree in only three years. She was also recently recognized as a 2022 Goldwater Scholarship recipient, a prestigious scholarship for undergraduates who intend to pursue careers in STEM research.

Isabelle plans to earn a Ph.D. in molecular engineering or material science and engineering before launching a research career aimed at creating environmentally friendly and biodegradable materials. In particular, she hopes to work on the development of new packaging materials to address problems of plastic creation and waste. At Ball State, Isabelle has been working in the lab of Dr. Robert Sammelson (an Academy parent) since the end of her freshman year, helping conduct research on a newly developed acid. She is also a member of the Women’s Tennis Team and serves as a Supplemental Instructor in organic chemistry.

One Ball State Day at the Indiana Academy a Great Success

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

April 6, 2022

Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Parents, and Friends:

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Indiana Academy on April 5 for One Ball State Day. The day was a great success thanks to your incredible support! Here are a few highlights:

  • The Academy raised $40,397 from 278 unique donors giving 311 gifts, all increases from 2021.
  • The Academy finished 3rd overall (out of 105 areas) on campus in total unique donors, earning $1000 in challenge money.
  • The Academy finished 2nd in total dollars raised between 7 PM-Midnight, earning $1000 in challenge money.
  • The Academy finished 3rd in total unique donors between 8 – 11 PM, earning $1000 in challenge money.
  • The Academy received donations from 35 states and 3 countries.
  • The Academy finished 1st among Teachers College departments in gifts, donors, and dollars raised.

In a few weeks, we will receive a report detailing which funds received donations. This will guide us in planning how to use these gifts to best support Indiana Academy students. Funds from donations in 2021 were used to provide additional financial aid support to students who otherwise could not attend the Academy, purchase laptops for student use, and renovate two Academy classrooms (to take place this summer). None of this is possible without your amazing support. Thank you!

Dain Kavars
Executive Director