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Our History

christel dehaan

About Christel House Indianapolis

Christel House Indianapolis is one of the city’s longest-standing charter schools with a purpose to create a legacy of lifelong learning. While other schools focus solely on getting students into college, Christel House Indianapolis prepares them for a life beyond the classroom and helps them pave their own path— wherever it may take them.

Christel House Academy was originally organized by Christel DeHaan in 2002 and is the oldest charter school in operation in the state of Indiana. Christel House began as a K-4 charter school, but quickly grew in size and scope to become a network of charter schools and adult high schools in Indianapolis serving over 2100 children and adults.

Currently, Christel House Indianapolis is comprised of two K-8 academies, a high school, an innovation high school, and an adult high school (DORS) on three campuses. The largest campus was recently relocated to the 28-acre campus of Emmerich Manual High School. This community-serving campus houses Christel House Academy South (K-8), Watanabe HS, the sunsetting Emmerich Manual HS, DORS, a new Day Early Learning Center serving infants through pre-k students.  The westside campus houses Christel House Academy West and DORS.  The third DORS campus is on the main campus of Ivy Tech Community College.  Christel House Academy South was Indiana’s first charter school to receive the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform’s “School to Watch” designation. Christel House Indianapolis received additional recognition as an Indiana Achievement and Breakthrough School and both Christel House Academy South and West have been named National Schools of Character by, the only schools in the state to receive this national distinction.

The mission of Christel House Indianapolis is to create empowering opportunities through an equitable, rigorous, and holistic education for all students and alumni so they actualize their aspirations and develop effective leadership skills.  Christel House Indianapolis provides a holistic human development approach that focuses on building strong character to complement each student’s rigorous academic foundation. By building meaningful relationships, Christel House staff empower students of all ages to achieve academic and socio-emotional success. Taking this holistic approach allows Christel House to truly support students’ life aspirations, and in turn transform whole communities. Through our College and Careers program, we continue to support graduates for 5 years after graduation through post-secondary education and job placement, so they become self-sufficient, contributing members of society.