La Plaza & Monarca Academy announce anchor partnership for new public middle school
La Plaza, central Indiana’s premier Latino organization, today announced an anchor partnership with Monarca Academy, a new public middle school inspired by the Latino and immigrant experience. Through this elevated partnership, La Plaza will provide its signature programming at Monarca Academy, have representation on the school’s board of directors, and be a champion for the school’s success.
“La Plaza is proud to become the anchor partner of Monarca Academy, and live out our mission in this impactful way. As anchor partner, we will be deeply invested in the success of the school, and will be providing our signature programming to Monarca Academy’s students and families,” said Miriam Acevedo Davis, president and CEO of La Plaza. “We are excited to see significant community response in support of this new public school option, and look forward to welcoming students and families next fall.”
The Latino community is a growing demographic in Indianapolis. According to 2020 census data, the Latino population in Marion County has grown 53% in the last ten years, with more than 129,000 Latino Hoosiers now living in the county. Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) has seen similar Latino student enrollment growth. In the 2010-2011 school year, 5,785 Latino students attended IPS schools. During the 2020-2021 school year, more than 9,900 Latino students were enrolled in the district, marking a 70% increase over the last decade.
La Plaza is celebrating 50 years of serving the Indianapolis community, and is one of the city’s most impactful organizations serving Latino youth and families. Signature education-focused programs include Tu Futuro, a four-year development program for high school students and parents focused on college readiness. As part of the anchor partnership, La Plaza will provide programming at Monarca Academy for students and parents, creating a holistic educational environment beyond high-quality academics. Similar partnerships between autonomous schools and trusted community partners exist in Indianapolis, including ones between Eastern Star Church The ROCK Initiative and Rooted School Indianapolis, Edna Martin Christian Center and KIPP Indy Schools, and the John Boner Neighborhood Center and Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School.
“Monarca Academy is thrilled to have La Plaza as our school’s anchor partner, and look forward to impacting students and families together,” said Francisco Valdiosera, founder of Monarca Academy. “As Indianapolis becomes more diverse, education options should also grow to meet the needs of all who live in our community. Our school is inspired by the Latino and immigrant community, and will be a welcoming place for students and families from all backgrounds to learn together.”
While Latino students are a fast-growing group within public schools in Indianapolis, they often do not have teachers or school leaders that share their background and understand their lived experience. Latino families and students can often face language barriers and challenges connecting to a school community when they aren’t represented on school staff. Monarca Academy aims to create a school environment that can bridge these types of gaps for their students and families.
The Mind Trust’s Innovation School Fellow, Francisco Valdiosera, is the founder of Monarca Academy. Valdiosera is a first-generation college graduate with personal experience navigating opportunity gaps and structural inequities that keep students from achieving college and career success. He has served as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, assistant principal, and administrator at public and private schools in Indianapolis. Valdiosera also previously served as the Director for Indianapolis Public Schools’ ESL department, where he planned and managed ESL instructional programs for 30 schools.
“The Mind Trust is so proud to support the launch of Monarca Academy. We are thrilled to see another trusted community organization invest in the success of a public school in our community,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust. “We are grateful to the many community leaders and organizations in the Latino community who have provided support and feedback to develop Monarca Academy.”
Monarca Academy has applied to become an Innovation Network School with IPS. A location for the school is still being determined. After listening to community input on a potential location, La Plaza and Monarca Academy are hoping to locate on the westside of Indianapolis. Enrollment is now open and information can be found at monarcaacademy.org.
About La Plaza
La Plaza is the recognized Central Indiana leader in helping Latinos reach their full educational potential by building on their strengths and fostering self-sufficiency. La Plaza strengthens Central Indiana by advocating and preparing Latino students for educational success and by connecting Latino families to health and social services.
About Monarca Academy
Monarca Academy eliminates barriers to success for all students. Inspired by the Latin@ and immigrant experience we develop leaders through high academic standards (Ganas), cultural responsiveness (Orgullo), and community building (Comunidad). Monarca Academy elimina barreras al éxito. Inspirados por la experiencia Latina, desarrollamos líderes por medio de altas expectativas académicas o Ganas, conciencia cultural o Orgullo, y Comunidad.
About The Mind Trust
The Mind Trust is an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit that works to build a system of schools that gives every student in Indianapolis, no exceptions, access to a high-quality education. The Mind Trust does this by building a supportive environment for schools through policy and community engagement, empowering talented, diverse educators to launch new schools, and providing existing schools with the support they need to hire world-class talent and achieve excellence. Since 2006, The Mind Trust has supported the launch of 41 schools, 14 education nonprofit organizations, and has helped place more than 1,700 teachers and school leaders in Indianapolis classrooms.