West Lafayette Community School Corporation – West Lafayette, Indiana

March 26, 2024

West Lafayette Community School Corporation

A Shining Example of Excellence, and Engagement


Shaping students’ futures with a progressive and supportive approach

West Lafayette Community Schools, deeply rooted in a community that values education, is a district steeped in tradition dating back more than a century. With a nod to this long history,

Superintendent Dr. Shawn Greiner, underlines the district’s commitment to collaboration, stating, “We view ourselves as the people’s school, and we are living in a community that embraces education. We have a history of supportive parents and community. And we certainly embrace that.”

He describes the unique position of West Lafayette, which has not undergone consolidation, unlike much of Indiana, noting, “We’re a district that’s never experienced that change, and therefore, we’re a corporation where the board was first organized back in 1897. So, we’re very rich in tradition.”

With a spirit of partnership that extends beyond the district to the city, Purdue University, and the schools themselves, West Lafayette is a special place, where education is valued, and excellence is supported.

Academic Excellence and Diverse Pathways

West Lafayette Community Schools places a strong emphasis on Advanced Placement (AP) programs, ensuring students have opportunities for college-level learning. Despite recent state funding cuts for AP exams, Assistant Superintendent, Anna Roth, shares the district’s commitment to covering these costs, preserving the longstanding tradition of excellence.

Alongside AP courses, she notes that the Greater Lafayette Career Academy offers diverse pathways, including health science, aviation, automotive services, cosmetology, and more.

“Students have the opportunity to look at those kinds of pipelines, where they would start in the high school setting, receiving training for their next level,” she relays.

“We have that reputation for high achievement, excellence in AP achievement, but we also have those connections for kids that maybe that’s not what they’re looking for.”


Safety Initiatives

With three school buildings, across 4 square miles, West Lafayette Community Schools prides itself on prioritizing safety. To control access, the district has secure entries in all buildings.

Intermediate School Principal, Margaret Psarros, stresses, “We have things like that in place to make sure that it’s a safe environment for all students, but we want it to be a welcoming environment as well for families.” Other safety measures include mandatory ID checks for visitors and a unique ASR system linked to the police department for early threat notification.

“I believe we were the first in the state to implement the ASR system,” she portrays. “It is tied to our police department and first responders, to be able to get early notification if we were to ever have a threat in the building. It is phenomenal. We’ve tested it and it takes very few moments to notify everyone in the area that we need support here.”

In addition, Dr. Greiner highlights the partnership with the local police department, sharing “We have SROs in every building, and if there’s an issue where a message needs to go out, the chief of police and our office works very closely, and often will send out joint messages, too.”

In addition, West Lafayette has opened their doors to the local police department for training.

“That’s been wonderful for them to be in our schools. We also let them into our building to walk around and just get to know our schools, because the more they know where things are here, the better it is for us,” says Psarros.

With high parent and community engagement, the district welcomes volunteers and has vetting protocols in place to ensure the buildings remain a safe space for all.

Psarros expands, “We do have opportunities for families to be in our building. We’re doing things like background checks to make sure that our volunteers have been cleared to be here. There are all sorts of ways that they can volunteer, and we want them to be here. We have a very active parent council group in all three schools. And our parents also follow the same protocol as far as how to get their volunteers to be approved through background checks. They are participating very highly in our schools, which we appreciate very much.”

Continuous Improvement and Preservation

With the completion of a new intermediate school six years ago, along with renovations to the two other schools in the district, West Lafayette remains focused on preservation in the upcoming years. “We have a ten-year capital projects plan that we follow, and we truly focus heavily on preventative maintenance with that,” says Dr. Greiner.

“We also then partner with architectural groups to ensure that we are understanding upcoming needs, to not only focus on the upgrades of the new building but our high school that’s over 100 years old.” The goal is to ensure energy efficiency through LED lighting, HVAC improvements, and continued maintenance.

Moving forward, the district is also collaborating with the city of West Lafayette and Purdue University, as they consider the need for a preschool in the region. Updates to the strategic plan are also on the agenda, as Roth recounts, “Currently we do have a strategic plan in place, and that strategic plan was created before Dr. Greiner and I were here, and it was also created before COVID. And COVID has caused some shifting in that aspect. At this point, we want to get engagement from the wider community, and from our parents, to work on another strategic plan.”

She underscores the importance of crafting a plan that addresses the community’s needs in a post-COVID world while maintaining the district’s reputation for excellence.

“We’ve had a history of using input from our community through doing what we call district priorities. That process has helped guide us along, but really, we are hopeful to come back together for that long-term strategic planning to engage the community and really dig in to understand what’s possible, not just looking at the near future, but at the more distant future as well,” Roth maintains.

An Educator’s District of Choice

With a reputation for supporting education and supporting teachers, West Lafayette has not experienced the educator shortages that are plaguing some districts. “We are blessed in the fact that we are seen as a desirable place to teach because of the support of the community, not only for teachers but for education and the ideas behind education,” Roth boasts. “But that doesn’t mean we rest on our laurels. We believe it’s important to offer competitive pay, we believe it’s important to offer welcoming and friendly safe environments for teachers.”

Support for teachers by administration, parents and the community is evident in West Lafayette, where education is seen as a valuable commodity. “The negativity towards education and teachers in other places, it’s not here. And that is something we are ever thankful for,” she asserts.

The community’s commitment is further demonstrated by the multiple referendums passed with over 80% approval, indicating strong support for enhancing learning opportunities. Dr. Greiner adds, “The community and parent collaboration and support of our schools make it even better for our teachers. We truly have students coming to school ready and excited to learn. And that’s very exciting.”

Future Vision and Priorities

Psarros offers her priorities for the coming year, which include extra attention to literacy. She says, “Our focus has been to continually train our teachers, and give them support in that area, but we are also looking at now getting materials that can help them in their teaching, to continue to make improvements with literacy instruction.”

Roth says she will concentrate on continuous improvement in all areas.” We have so many things where we could just take that next step, and just make things a little bit better for students or families or teachers,” she remarks. “So, for me, it’s really kind of that good, better, best mentality. How do we keep the focus positive, but how do we continue to move because ultimately, we have to build trusting relationships, and we have to work with one another to move forward.”

Looking ahead to 2024, Dr. Greiner envisions individualized learning experiences for each student, preparing them for success in college, the workforce, or beyond.

He stresses that the focus on excellence and the upcoming strategic planning process is pivotal in shaping the future direction of West Lafayette Community Schools, concluding, “In a district our size, a smaller district, there’s something for everybody, within academics, within the arts, within sports, within robotics. There is a place for every student to shine, if not in multiple areas. We are pretty proud of the offerings that we can afford our students.”


West Lafayette Community School Corporation

What: A vibrant K-12 school district with a rich tradition of excellence

Where: West Lafayette, Indiana

Website: www.wl.k12.in.us


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