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Representatives from Purdue Fort Wayne and Timothy J. Johnson Academy sign a memorandum of understanding.

PFW and Timothy L. Johnson Academy formalize expansion of academic partnership

Leaders from Purdue University Fort Wayne and the Timothy L. Johnson Academy gathered on Monday for the signing of a memorandum of understanding that made official a growing academic partnership between the two entities. As a result of the MOU, TLJA will gain greater access to the PFW campus, its faculty, staff, programming, and additional resources. 

“The primary objective of the expansion is to establish a mechanism for the PFW university community to meet the unique needs of TLJA students and faculty,” said Shannon Bischoff, professor of linguistics and director of the Teaching English as a New Language program at Purdue Fort Wayne.

Timothy L. Johnson Academy is a local charter school that serves students of poverty (100%), students of color (98%), and students who are multilingual language learners (70%). Presently, the Teaching English as a New Language program at PFW has its students working with TLJA. A number of TLJA teachers are also participating in a special set of classes at PFW for area educators to get certified to teach English as a new language. Additionally, PFW has various other programs it is developing with the academy.

Purdue Fort Wayne Chancellor Ron Elsenbaumer and TLJA School Leader Dawn Starks had the honor of finalizing the MOU by placing pen to paper on behalf of their respective schools. 

“As a public institution, we seek out opportunities to serve as an important resource for our entire community,” said Elsenbaumer. ”Through this type of initiative, we’re able to help make the most of area talent—some of it that may otherwise go untapped—while also supporting a better quality of life for these students.”    

The PFW delegation there to witness the signing included Kim Wagner, chief of staff and community relations officer, and Mary Encabo Bischoff, lecturer in linguistics. The academy was represented at the table by its board president, Larry Rowland, and board member Alan Hofer. Monday’s visit also featured a tour of the facility, located at 4625 Werling Drive on Fort Wayne’s southeast side.