Local | May 22, 2013

$3.42 million Lilly Endowment grant helps The Mind Trust bring talented teachers and school leaders to Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS – Excellent educators make a significant difference in their students’ lives. Recognizing this, The Mind Trust will help to bring nearly 200 talented teachers and school leaders to Indianapolis thanks to a $3.42 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

The Mind Trust will use the Endowment’s grant to support Teach For America (TFA) and TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project) in their efforts to supply high-quality teachers for Indianapolis classrooms. The grant also will help to train eight school leaders through TFA’s intensive Indianapolis Principal Fellowship program.

The Mind Trust recruited TNTP to Indianapolis in 2006 and TFA in 2007. The organization has supported their strategic growth in the city, enabled in part by a total of $10.9 million in Endowment funding.

“Lilly Endowment views education as imperative for individual success as well as for our state’s economic success and overall strength,” said Sara B. Cobb, vice president for education at the Endowment. “We are pleased to help The Mind Trust support TFA and TNTP, two organizations making important differences in the quality of education in Indianapolis.”

$2 million of the Endowment’s grant will be used to support TFA, which recruits top college graduates to teach in high-need public schools. In the 2013 academic year, that will help to fund 90 new TFA corps members and a total cohort of more than 180 teachers, the largest in TFA’s five-year history in Indianapolis.

The Endowment’s grant also provides $400,000 for The Mind Trust to support TFA’s Indianapolis Principal Fellowship, a partnership with Columbia University Teachers College. Graduates of the rigorous training program commit to serve for four years as public school leaders in Indianapolis.

The Mind Trust will use $1.02 million of the grant for TNTP, an organization that recruits and trains accomplished mid-career professionals to become teachers in hard-to-staff schools and subjects. This will help TNTP recruit and support 50 new classroom teachers annually over the next two years.

Teachers from TFA and TNTP have a sizable positive impact on student achievement in Indianapolis. Of the more than 300 TFA alumni in Indianapolis, 85 percent work in public education as teachers, principals and assistant principals, and leaders in education-related organizations. TNTP, whose teachers are known locally as Indianapolis Teaching Fellows, boasts standout teachers such as Mike Anderson, an algebra teacher who was named IPS Teacher of the Year in 2010, and Keeanna Reid, who helped her students achieve a 92 percent pass rate on the state math exam, up from 60 percent the year before among the same group of students.

“Plenty of research has shown that excellent teachers and highly effective school leaders play the most critical role in student success,” said David Harris, founder and CEO of The Mind Trust. “Lilly Endowment’s generous grant will help us attract more outstanding teachers and school leaders to Indianapolis so that more students in our city have the opportunity to succeed.”