Press Releases | August 26, 2022

The Mind Trust announces $1.9M in Capacity Building Awards to grow three Indianapolis charter and innovation network school networks

The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit, today announced $1.9 million in Capacity Building Awards to support the growth of three high-quality charter and innovation school networks: BELIEVE Circle City High School, Herron Classical Schools, and Paramount Schools of Excellence.

“The Mind Trust is thrilled to award these three high-performing networks with funding that will help more than 1,600 Indianapolis students attend a great elementary, middle, or high school,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust. “BELIEVE Circle City High School, Herron Classical Schools, and Paramount Schools of Excellence are some of the best public school options available in our city and state. We look forward to their continued growth and impact on student achievement.”

BELIEVE Circle City High School, $500,000

BELIEVE Circle City High School (BELIEVE) is an early college and career preparatory high school focused on fostering students’ academic achievement, autonomy, and agency. Founded in the fall of 2020 by Kimberly Neal, The Mind Trust’s Charter School Fellowship alumna, the school has quickly grown to serve more than 200 students in grades 9-12.

BELIEVE students have achieved strong results during their first two school years. Ninety-nine percent of BELIEVE students are on track to earn all credits needed for the Core 40 diploma. Additionally, BELIEVE students have earned a total of 314 college credits in just two years through the school’s partnership with Ivy Tech Community College. As a result, BELIEVE students have saved a combined $92,944 toward a traditional in-state, four-year tuition.

BELIEVE’s $500,000 Capacity Building Award will support the expansion of a second Indianapolis high school campus that will open in the fall of 2024, with capacity to serve as many as 400 students.

“We are excited about the work we have been able to do, and we BELIEVE the Capacity Building Award will allow us to increase our impact in the Black and Brown community,” said Kimberly Neal, Founder and Executive Director of BELIEVE Circle City High School. “We are grateful for our partnership with The Mind Trust.”

Herron Classical Schools, $1,000,000

Herron Classical Schools is a three-school network consisting of Herron High School, Herron-Riverside High School, and Herron Preparatory Academy. All three schools are part of the Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) innovation network. Herron Classical Schools is founded on the belief that a classical, liberal arts education, where students are steeped in great historical thought and invention, is the best preparation for a future life of leadership and service. The schools are consistently ranked among the best in the city and state for academic performance.

Herron Classical Schools’ $1,000,000 Capacity Building Award will help the network expand Herron Preparatory Academy, a K-8 school launched in the fall of 2021. All of its founding students had never completed a full, uninterrupted year of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the 2021-22 school year, Herron Preparatory Academy was able to double the number of students showing grade-level proficiency in English/Language Arts and more than triple the number of students showing grade-level proficiency in Math.

Herron Preparatory Academy is currently using modulars on the Herron High School campus to serve 120 students in grades K-2. The award will support Herron Preparatory Academy’s move to a permanent facility in the former Salvation Army building at 3100 N. Meridian Street. The new building will be open for the 2023-2024 school year and will be able to accommodate 750 students.

The award will also support the growth of an additional elementary school campus in fall 2024.

“We are so grateful for this Capacity Building Award. Herron Classical Schools is excited to put this gift toward our new Herron Preparatory Academy facility. We are eager to be able to serve even more Indianapolis students and their families. HCS deeply values our relationship with The Mind Trust and our mutual goal of high-quality education for the children of our community,” said Janet McNeal, President of Herron Classical Schools.

Paramount Schools of Excellence, $400,000

Paramount Schools of Excellence (PSOE) was founded in 2010 and has grown to a network of four Indianapolis schools: PSOE Brookside serving grades K-8; PSOE Cottage Home serving grades K-4; and PSOE Englewood serving grades 5-8. Additionally, in response to student and family needs, PSOE opened Paramount Online Academy in Fall 2021, which is an IPS innovation network school.

On the 2022 ILEARN, PSOE schools made significant proficiency gains and were among the top ten schools in the city for overall, Black, and Latino student proficiency rates. PSOE network schools even achieved higher proficiency rates than schools in more affluent areas of the city.

PSOE’s $400,000 Capacity Building Award will help support the development and launch of an all-girls STEM school in fall 2024. This new school would be able to serve up to 500 students.

“This support lays the groundwork for one of the most exciting K-8 educational collaborations in Indianapolis. It provides the building blocks for a pathway to STEM careers for our Indianapolis girls, while leveraging Paramount’s academic success, Purdue Polytechnic High School’s STEM pathways, and Every Girl Can Stem’s Girl Scout focus. We couldn’t be more thankful and more excited!” said Tommy Reddicks, Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Schools of Excellence.

About The Mind Trust

The Mind Trust is an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit that works to build a system of schools that gives every student in Indianapolis, no exceptions, access to a high-quality education. The Mind Trust does this by building a supportive environment for schools through policy and community engagement, empowering talented, diverse educators to launch new schools, and providing existing schools with the support they need to hire world-class talent and achieve excellence. Since 2006, The Mind Trust has supported the launch of 45 schools, 15 education nonprofit organizations, and has helped place more than 1,750 teachers and school leaders in Indianapolis classrooms.