Focus on Equity
The Mind Trust is committed to pursuing antiracism by actively combating inequity, disproportionality, and discrimination whenever and wherever it appears. We look toward our commitments in determining investments, making decisions, and planning for the future.
Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commitments:
- Creating policies, programs, and opportunities internally and externally that equitably redistribute power and control in our community.
- Eliminating the predictability of outcomes associated with race or other identity markers through our work for our city’s students and our staff.
- Reflecting on and evaluating the impact of our work by engaging our students, families, and communities.
- Empowering and elevating current and upcoming leaders of color by investing in them through leveraging our institutional power, privilege, resources, and access.
Our Leadership and Racial Equity team launched several initiatives in 2021 for schools, organizations, and our own staff.
The Achievement Project
The Achievement Project provides an opportunity for schools to connect with parents, students, community members, and academic experts in order to engage collectively and collaborate to improve academic achievement. For its first year, The Mind Trust launched this project at Tindley Summit Academy and KIPP Indy Public Schools, both of which are established independent charter schools with an ability to agilely implement creative ideas to improve academic outcomes. The Achievement Project consists of four sessions that bring school and community stakeholders together to create a sense of understanding and belongingness, build community, and co-create a solution for academic achievement on ILEARN.
In partnership with Beloved Community, The Mind Trust launched Indianapolis Equity Cohorts. During the 10-month experience, participants complete Beloved Community’s Equity Audit, examine bias in staff hiring and retention practices, and build capacity to lead their organizations’ diversity, equity, and inclusion work.
The Equity in Schools Cohort examines how schools can align diversity and equity strategy across governance, operations, pedagogy, student culture, and adult culture. The Equity at Work Cohort builds capacity for participants to successfully implement the structural changes that lead to an equitable environment and practices for their entire staff and the people they serve
The Equity Toolkit is a free resource created by The Mind Trust and Beloved Community to support schools, districts, and committees who are tasked with developing or sustaining a racial equity, diversity or inclusion initiative. The toolkit is divided into three phases: Mobilize Yourself, Mobilize Stakeholders, and Mobilize Organization-Wide.
Each phase contains steps to lead organizational committees through the process of taking action at their school, district, or organization. Each stage includes questions and actions to consider and resources to utilize. Additionally, The Mind Trust is investing in coaching for Indianapolis schools in Center Township to help them develop and implement equity work within their school communities.
The Mind Trust partnered with Surge Institute to bring Surge Academy to Indianapolis in 2020. Surge Academy selected 16 Black and Latino leaders for participation in their inaugural Indianapolis cohort in 2021. The program took participants through an intensive Fellowship experience that explored executive skills development, strategic planning, and change management. Surge Academy also prioritizes dialogue on racial equity throughout its programming. Surge Academy selected 16 Black and Latino leaders for the 2022 Indianapolis cohort.
During the 2020-21 school year, key members of our staff engaged in a second year of Promise 54’s DEI Accelerator. This program involves ongoing coaching and a professional learning community of other organizations from around the country advancing their commitments to DEI. Participation for a second year was a key lever for deepening our capacity for DEI, sourcing feedback on current and planned initiatives, and learning from subject-matter experts.
DEI school spotlights
Public charter and Innovation schools across Indianapolis are doing great work to advance DEI initiatives in their own buildings. Learn more about two local schools’ efforts:
KIPP Indy Public Schools
Each year, KIPP Indy identifies an area of organizational policies and practices to review through a lens of their racial equity commitment. This practice helps them dismantle any structures that unintentionally perpetuate institutional racism. This past year, they developed a Leadership Readiness Criteria tool to bring transparency to the leadership selection process by naming the skills, competencies, experience, and mindsets needed for specific leadership roles at KIPP Indy.
BELIEVE Circle City High School
At BELIEVE, equity work is rooted in the idea that historically underestimated students have the capacity for authentic autonomy and agency. They equip students with skills needed to become well-adjusted, civically-engaged, and financially-stable adults. One way they encourage this growth is Freedom Fridays. On Fridays, students have the opportunity to use their autonomy and agency to explore their community in meaningful ways. On these days, the city of Indianapolis is their classroom. For example, students have visited the state legislature when learning about government. Freedom Fridays give students real-world experiences to spark students’ curiosity and independence.