Schools & Students

The Mind Trust supports the launch of high-quality schools in Indianapolis through our School Leader Fellowships that provide talented school leaders the time, expertise, and support necessary to launch and lead exceptional schools. In addition, a variety of programs for schools, educators, and community organizations offer targeted, high-quality resources to transform educational outcomes.

Student Programs

Growing demand for public school options

More than 31,000 students attend school in IPS, which marks the district’s largest enrollment since 2011. This enrollment growth has been driven almost exclusively by the expansion of Innovation Network Schools and comes at a time when urban school enrollment has declined nationally, particularly during the pandemic. Notably:

  • IPS enrollment increased by 2.5% from the 2019-2020 to 2020-2021 school year.
  • IPS enrollment has increased by 6.8% since Innovation Network Schools began operating in 2014.
  • More than half of public school students within IPS boundaries attend a public charter school or IPS Innovation Network School.
  • About 40% of IPS students attend an Innovation Network School in the 2021-2022 school year.

This progress clearly points to families’ desire and ability to choose the school that works best for their student.

teacher and student with raised hand

Driving Change: Improving School Transportation

Access to school transportation can often impact whether or not a student can attend a great school. Issues like driver shortages, long bus ride times, student safety, and cost affect whether or not schools can offer transportation that meets families needs’ and ensures they can access their best fit school.

With approximately 650,000 Hoosier public school students riding yellow buses to school each day, it is time for our state to address policy and systems that can improve this service for students and families. The Mind Trust partnered with EdChoice and Institute for Quality Education to release Driving Change: How School Transportation Gives Families Power to Choose.

The report includes state policy recommendations that can help address these challenges. State policy updates would allow Indiana schools of all types more flexibility to use different vehicles types, create more efficient routes, and address chronic school bus driver shortages.

Parents like Jankia are calling for change. She has six kids attending multiple schools. Juggling transportation for school and work with one car is a challenge. Transportation plays a key role in her family’s ability to access their best-fit schools. When asked what she would say to school transportation decision-makers, she said, “Try to imagine every child on the bus is your child. When you are making decisions, imagine what you would want for your own child.”

school bus

New Schools in 2021-2022

Herron Preparatory Academy | Founded by Tenika Holden-Flynn, Charter School Fellow

Mayor-sponsored charter school serving grades K-2. Herron Preparatory Academy extends the success of Indianapolis Classical Schools’ classical, liberal arts curriculum to students in elementary and middle school grades.

Paramount Online Academy
IPS Innovation Network school serving grades K-8. Paramount Online Academy uses an integrated, research-based curriculum to maximize each child’s potential. The school is founded on the belief that every student can thrive academically.

Promise Prep | Founded by Geoff Fenelus, Innovation School Fellow
Mayor-sponsored charter school serving grades K-2. Promise Prep’s mission is to ensure all students have access to a high-quality education that enables them to become critical thinkers, have choices, capitalize on opportunities, and secure continuing economic advancement.

Schools Under Development

Launching in Fall 2022

Liberty Grove Schools | Founded by Morrise Harbour, Innovation School Fellow
Morrise Harbour will develop and lead a Liberty Grove Schools, K-8 school built on student-centered, innovative instruction, instructional staff support and development, and operational excellence.

Rooted School Indianapolis | Founded by Ma’at Lands, Charter School Fellow alumna
Ma’at Lands is the current principal at Rooted School Indianapolis. Lands will lead the addition of middle school grades to Rooted’s high school so that the school will serve students in grades 7-12.

Monarca Academy | Founded by Francisco Valdiosera, Innovation School Fellow
Francisco Valdiosera is developing Monarca Academy, a middle school anchored in an appreciation and examination of Latino culture. La Plaza will act as an anchor partner for the school starting from its launch year.

Launching in Fall 2023

Edison School of the Arts | Founded by James Hill, Innovation School Fellow
James Hill leads an Innovation School Fellow team representing Edison School of the Arts, which is working to replicate the successful model of Edison School of the Arts.

Engaged Community Schools | Founded by Brandon House, Innovation School Fellow
Brandon House is developing a K-8 school model that aims to develop students through a rigorous academic program supported by strong community partnerships and social-emotional development.

middle school aged students studying
kids with backpacks going to school

Educator Programs


The Mind Trust launched DriveIndySchools in fall 2021, a pilot project that explores a collaborative, community-driven solution to public school transportation challenges. Five schools participating in the pilot received access to efficient routing services, operational support, and bus driver recruitment and training to help meet the transportation needs of students and families.

DriveIndySchools is a partnership between The Mind Trust, 4mativ Technologies, Miller Transportation, Believe Circle City High School, Global Preparatory Academy, Invent Learning Hub, Promise Prep, and Rooted School Indianapolis.

man driving school bus

Rochester Fellowship

Over the past year, The Mind Trust has partnered with the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation in Rochester, New York, to lead the recruitment and selection of a Rochester Education Fellow.

The fellow will participate in a two-year fellowship to create and build a community-centered vision for transforming Rochester’s public school systems. In September 2021, the Farash Foundation announced the selection of Dr. Shanai Lee as the Rochester Education Fellow. Dr. Lee brings over 15 years of education experience to the fellowship as she looks to address the longstanding challenges faced by public schools in Rochester.

Rochester Education Fellowship logo