Skiles Test Elementary Celebrates New Renovations & Updates
A recent ribbon-cutting ceremony held on December 2 at Skiles Test Elementary School was an occasion that looked toward the future while honoring the past. Located at 7001 Johnson Road and initially opened in 1965, the school celebrated the completion of a huge renovation project that began in 2017. Part of the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township’s Blue Ribbon Facilities Plan, the improvements to the school were significant.
“Now it flows,” Principal Dr. Justin Hunter says. “The renovations bumped out walls which essentially made a new gym and cafeteria area and included adding a stage. There is a partition wall, but the whole space can be opened up so the entire school population can attend a convocation at one time.”
Present were members of the Lawrence Township School Board as well as Superintendent of Schools Dr. Shawn Smith. Although the weather was blustery it did not deter a large crowd from attending.
“It was packed,” Hunter says. “There were alumni, city council members, retired teachers, a prior principal and plenty of volunteers. The entire staff pulled together to make the event a success.”
A brief portion of the ceremony was devoted to the past history of the school and the man it was named after. The land the school is built on was bequeathed to the township by an Indianapolis businessman, Skiles Test who died in 1964. The tract the school sits on was a portion of his estate. Reports of his eccentric nature have been exaggerated over time. By accounts, Test was a generous man who loved animals as well as children and donated to many charities.
The future was also celebrated since the redevelopment of the building structure concurs with a new program that was implemented at the start of the 2018-19 school year. For several years, Skiles Test Elementary has been a Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Indiana certified school. It is now joining the tradition of sister school Forest Glen Elementary in offering a Spanish Immersion curriculum beginning this year with kindergarten and first grade. Additional grade levels will be added annually until it extends through grade six. The new immersion program will be blended with the current STEM courses and eventually students will learn about robotics, coding and environmental science while being instructed in Spanish.
“It’s really exciting to see what is going on in the classrooms and thrilling to hear kindergarteners starting to speak and count in Spanish,” Hunter says. “But it’s not just the language the children are learning but also the culture. It’s fostering an atmosphere that’s expansive, enriching, enlightening and inclusive.
“We are appreciative of where we have been and where we are going,” he adds. “The existing building was kept and not just torn down to build a new one. The history of the school was acknowledged at the same time as honoring new renovations which make it possible to prepare kids for the future.”
For more information visit SkilesTest.LTSchools.org.