Indian Trail High School and Academy

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Indian Trail High School and Academy
Indian Trail HS Logo.jpg
Kenosha, Wisconsin
United States
School type Public high school
Established 1998 (Academies); 2011 (comprehensive)
School district Kenosha Unified School District
Principal Maria Kotz
Faculty 114.3 (FTE)[1]
Grades 9 through 12
Enrollment 2,218 [2] (2014–15)
Color(s) Black, Purple and Silver
Mascot Moe Hawk

Indian Trail High School and Academy is a public high school in Kenosha, Wisconsin, part of the Kenosha Unified School District. Unlike the other high schools in the district, ITHS/A houses a comprehensive high school and an alternative school under one roof; both schools share the music and physical education program and some academic and elective classes such as foreign languages and Advanced Placement (AP) classes.


The original plan[edit]

The school opened in 1998 as Indian Trail Academy. The original building was a college preparatory school, offering three thematic Houses (later called Academies), or “schools within a school”: Communications, Business and International Studies, and Biotechnology and Environmental Studies (see below for programming). The school was designed with class integration and collaboration in mind: small classrooms were joined together by large, open Research and Development areas, with adjoining corners left open such that the classrooms were open to one another and to the R&D space. Students looking to attend ITA had to apply for admittance in much the same way as they would apply for college.

Expansion of programming[edit]

It was a sound concept at first, but over time, as the two main high schools in Kenosha at the time (Mary D. Bradford High School and George Nelson Tremper High School) reached and surpassed their respective program capacities, ITA was forced to accept every student who applied to the school in order to save the former two schools space, and with the influx of students came the near-destruction of the rigor of the original Academy programs. Once seen as an innovation, by the time of the 2008 referendum (see below), the school was viewed as a “waste of space”,[3] owing to its largely unused R&D areas.

The school was intended to be all-academic, but citing a lack of enrollment, the school’s second year saw its first round of Physical Education classes, as well as a choral program. When the original school opened, it had no gymnasium, no auditorium, no music rooms, no locker rooms, and no formal cafeteria; thus, the new programs had to adapt to their lack of facilities. One of the school’s three commons areas became a makeshift gymnasium, and one classroom became a makeshift choral room. Lack of proper facilities allowed the physical education department to include activities not found in other high schools, such as Dance Dance Revolution, bowling (at a nearby bowling alley), cross-country skiing, archery, and street hockey. A large, sunken area outside of the school (called “The Pit”) functioned as an outdoor gymnasium, housing the aforementioned archery and cross-country skiing activities and eventually allowing for the school’s first pep rally in the fall of 2005.

In 2002, the Kenosha Military Academy moved into the facilities of ITA from its former home at Reuther High School, and doors were installed in some classrooms to accommodate the new “school within a school”. That same year, Mary Lou Mahone Middle School opened its doors across the street.

In 2004-05, an instrumental music program was added to further expand the program offerings at ITA; it was housed in the Mahone auditorium.

Referendum and building expansion[edit]

In 2008, the citizens of Kenosha voted on a referendum that would expand and renovate Indian Trail to accommodate a comprehensive high school as well as the existing Academy programs. Although a similar referendum failed in 2003, the 2008 referendum passed.

The renovations to the original building stripped it of the Research and Development rooms and classroom clusters in favor of rows of larger, enclosed, much safer classrooms, and turned the old main office and former commons areas into culinary arts and visual arts classrooms, respectively.

The classroom expansion opened in 2010-11, housing thirty-five new classrooms (including a fully equipped science wing) in a setting more akin to that of Bradford and Tremper, and allowed the school to bring in its first class of General Studies freshmen.[4] The larger, second addition opened in 2011-12, and houses a field house, auditorium, cafeteria, new administration offices, a new school store, a technology education wing, locker rooms, health classrooms, a weight room, an upper gym, a state-of-the-art music wing, a dedicated special-education wing, and an expansion to the library.[5]

The original school was built for 1,200 students; the new ITHS/A has a capacity of 2,500–800 in the Academies, and 1,700 in the comprehensive high school.


Students at Indian Trail are required to take the core classes in English, science, math, and social studies, as well as physical education and the required courses for their Academy or field of study. Students in either the Academies or the comprehensive high school may enroll in foreign language classes or the music department, or participate in Indian Trail’s sports program (see below).

The Academies[edit]

Indian Trail has four "Academies" in which students may be enrolled, each of which emphasizes a particular area of study. Students may enroll in the Academies regardless of where they live in the District. Students in one Academy are not eligible to take classes offered in another Academy.

The Medical Sciences Academy (formerly the Biotechnology and Environmental Studies Academy) emphasizes the field of medical science, offering a rigorous math- and science-based curriculum to prepare students for work in the fields of medicine.[6] Classes include genetics, forensics, biology, lab equipment and techniques, Animal Survey, physics, chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and Certified Nursing Assistants.[7]

The Communications Academy offers an in-depth look at media technology, including graphic design, multimedia production, broadcasting, and journalism.[8] Students in the Communications Academy produce the school's daily video announcements.

The Business and International Studies Academy teaches students to manage a business, manage money, and work on a computer. Students in this Academy operate the Hawk Shop (formerly Trail Mix) school store, which is in association with the American Motors Community Credit Union.[9]

The Kenosha Military Academy moved into Indian Trail’s facilities in 2002, and was officially integrated into the school in 2006. Students in the KMA participate in a rigorous four-year Junior ROTC program which includes a regime of Leadership Education and Training (LET) courses whose curriculum is designed and sponsored by the U.S. Army, as well as Physical Training courses (separate from the general Physical Education courses offered to both schools).[10]

General Studies[edit]

Programming in the comprehensive high school is much the same as that at Bradford and Tremper. Students in the comprehensive school can take classes in art and business which are offered separately from the Academies.

Students in the comprehensive high school cannot take classes in the Academies; however, students from the Academies can dual-enroll in the comprehensive high school if they wish to take certain electives which the Academies do not offer.

Unlike the Academies, students must live within the Indian Trail attendance boundaries in order to attend the comprehensive high school.

Other programs[edit]

Since its inception in 1998, Indian Trail has offered a Cognitively Disabled Students (CDS) Life Skills Academy, serving cognitively disabled students who have graduated from their home school and need to learn the necessary skills to survive in the real world. Beginning in 2011-12, this program was expanded to the newly built Boys and Girls Club building.[11]

At the same time, the Successful Transitions for Exceptional Students (STEP) Program was implemented both at Indian Trail and the Boys and Girls Club. This program, like the CDS program, serves students ages 18-21 with moderate to severe disabilities, and helps them to make the transition into adulthood through continued special education support.[12]

In 2012-13, the Kenosha Unified School District's Infant Lab and School-Age Parent (SAPAR) programs moved into Indian Trail from their former facilities at Reuther. The programs are designed to help school-age parents across the district learn to make decisions that will affect the well-being of their children; students learn about prenatal and postnatal care, child development, and parenting skills. As well, the programs provide a safe environment for children of school-age parents to grow, develop and learn in while their parents are in school.[13][14]

Sports and music[edit]

Originally, students who wanted to participate in either a music ensemble or a sports team had to do so at their home school (Bradford or Tremper). In 1999-2000, a choral program was added to ITA, and in 2004-05, an instrumental music program was added, giving the school a full music program. Despite not having state-recognized sports teams, Indian Trail enjoyed school colors of black and gold and a mascot of its own in the form of Tiko the Tiger.

With the expansion of the school came the expansion of the music program and the addition of state-recognized sports teams, as well as the change of the colors and mascot to black, purple and silver and Moe Hawk, respectively. Where previously one person was in charge of the entire instrumental program, the expansion brought in a dedicated band director (relegating the former director to orchestra alone). Academy students can participate in music or sports at Indian Trail, regardless of their home school.

The original ITA site housed no athletic fields (apart from those belonging to Mahone Middle School); with the expansion of the school came the addition of dedicated practice and competition sports fields and tennis courts, as well as press boxes, bleachers, scoreboards and further renovations to the Mahone football stadium to accommodate Indian Trail home football games and other events.[15] The football stadium was renamed in honor of Charles "Chuck" Jaskwhich, a former football coach in the District, and the baseball/softball complex was named in honor of Clarence and George Bosman, former fast-pitch softball pitchers from Kenosha.[16]


Students in both the Academy and General Studies programs follow the same bell schedule.

Originally, this consisted of four classes per day, ninety minutes per class. Students in General Studies followed the same system as at Bradford and Tremper, where they took most core classes every day for either a quarter or semester, whereupon they switched to a new class.

The Academies ran on the same bell schedule. Originally, rather than taking four classes every day, Academy students took eight classes every two days—four classes on A-days, four different classes on B-days, with A- and B-days alternating. With the full opening of the Comprehensive high school in 2011-12, that system was scrapped in favor of the system used by the Comprehensive high school.

Beginning in 2012-13, in accordance with a new District Transformation Plan, Indian Trail implemented a new, more flexible 8-block schedule which allowed for core classes to meet year-round, as well as allowing some classes to meet as before in ninety-minute blocks, based on student class preferences.[17] In 2013-14, the District implemented a slightly modified version of this schedule which removed one class period, allowing for slightly longer class periods and an additional lunch hour.


  1. ^ "Indian Trail High School And Academy". School Directory Information. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "Indian Trail High School and Academy". Retrieved September 23, 2017. 
  3. ^ "District eyes Indian Trail expansion". Kenosha News. February 21, 2008. p. A4. 
  4. ^ "Blazing a new Trail". Kenosha News. September 2, 2010. p. A1. 
  5. ^ "Kenosha Unified School Board Agenda, August 12, 2008" (PDF). pp. 75–76. Retrieved 2011-07-22. 
  6. ^ Indian Trail High School. "Medical Science Academy". Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  7. ^ Indian Trail High School. "Medical Science Academy -- Classes". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  8. ^ Indian Trail High School. "Communications Academy". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  9. ^ Indian Trail High School. "Business Academy". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  10. ^ Indian Trail High School. "Kenosha Military Academy". Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  11. ^ "Kenosha Unified School Board Agenda, June 8, 2010" (PDF). pp. 38–39. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  12. ^ "STEP Program". Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  13. ^ "Indian Trail Video Announcements 09-26-12". Retrieved 2012-09-27. 
  14. ^ "Kenosha Unified School Board Agenda, September 11, 2012" (PDF). pp. 8–15. Retrieved 2012-09-27. 
  15. ^ Camosy Construction. "KUSD Indian Trail Academy and High School Addition and Renovations". Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  16. ^ "Kenosha Unified School Board Agenda, July 20, 2010" (PDF). pp. 17–18. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  17. ^ "Kenosha Unified School Board Agenda Packet, January 31, 2012" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-21. 

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