Press Releases | June 24, 2024

New partnership will design fellowship to grow high-quality public charter schools for Connecticut students

Two education nonprofit organizations are partnering to design a new fellowship program that will support talented leaders as they launch new, high-quality public charter schools for Connecticut families. Latinos for Educational Advocacy (LEAD), a Connecticut education nonprofit, and The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit, are partnering to design and facilitate the fellowship, which will open applications in the fall. This paid fellowship will provide school leaders with the time, resources, and strategic guidance needed to successfully launch new public charter schools in Connecticut that can foster inclusive learning environments and increase student achievement. During the planning process, LEAD and The Mind Trust will engage stakeholders to ensure the fellowship builds on the strong work of the education sector in Connecticut, while helping to increase the number of high-quality public charter schools in the state.

Both organizations have a history of supporting the growth of strong public school options for students and families in their respective communities. In Connecticut, LEAD was founded in 2021 to support a grassroots advocacy effort to expand charter school options. LEAD’s work is grounded in their mission to create vibrant, educated, and actively engaged communities throughout Connecticut. 

“We believe every child deserves an education that inspires and empowers them. The fellowship will harness the talent and passion of exceptional leaders to create schools where every student can thrive, dream, and achieve their fullest potential,” said Lucas Pimentel, CEO of LEAD.

The Mind Trust was founded in 2006 to address the need for more high-quality public schools in Indianapolis. The Mind Trust has developed four nonprofit and school launch initiatives that have received over 4,000 applications from entrepreneurs across 48 states and 36 countries. Through these incubators, The Mind Trust has successfully supported the launch of 15 education nonprofit organizations and more than 50 public charter and innovation network schools in Indianapolis that will serve more than 21,000 students at scale. 

This growth has resulted in increased student achievement for Indianapolis students. Based on 2023 SAT college-readiness rates, nine of the top ten public high schools within the Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) district were charter schools. For Black students, the top ten public high schools within IPS boundaries are charter schools and for Latino students, eight of the top ten public high schools are charter schools. Additionally, on the 2023 ILEARN exam, Indiana’s annual state assessment for students in grades 3-8, six of the top eight public schools for Black student proficiency within IPS boundaries are charter and innovation schools. Ten of the top twelve public schools within IPS boundaries are charter and innovation schools.

The Mind Trust has also expanded work to impact students outside of Indianapolis through innovative, effective out-of-school time programs. In 2022, the organization launched Indiana Learns, the state’s tutoring grant program, on behalf of the Indiana Department of Education. Indiana Learns has served more than 20,000 Hoosier students who have completed over 180,500 hours of math and reading tutoring. The Mind Trust also manages Summer Learning Labs, which provides accelerated learning and enrichment to students who need access to high-quality summer programming in 5 cities across Indiana. Since launching in 2021, students participating in Summer Learning Labs have achieved double-digit learning gains in math and reading. 

“The Mind Trust is thrilled to partner with LEAD to attract and support talented school leaders who can grow high-quality public school options for Connecticut students and families,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust. ”Both LEAD and The Mind Trust are passionate about ensuring this effort is done in partnership with local families, educators, and community leaders. The fellowship will combine The Mind Trust’s expertise in school incubation with LEAD’s connection to Connecticut families and deep understanding of what they want to see improve in their education system.”

LEAD was founded with the mission of ensuring that every student and parent across Connecticut has access to a diverse, equitable, and effective system of schools and programs. Their team has consistently heard from Connecticut families across the state who want more high-quality public school options. According to a report from the Connecticut Charter Schools Association, during the 2023-2024 school year, more than 5,000 Connecticut students were waiting to enroll in a charter school. Additionally, in the 2022-2023 school year, 95% of all charter schools out-performed schools that serve the same student population in English Language Arts (ELA) and math on the SBAC, the yearly state standardized assessment. 

The fellowship will help address this need by providing a path for leaders to launch and lead a new charter school in Connecticut. Applications will open in fall 2024, with fellows selected by late spring 2025. During the application process, LEAD and The Mind Trust will also engage families, educators, and community members in Connecticut to provide more information about the fellowship and develop a network of representatives who will help select fellows. 

Once selected, fellows will receive tailored support to navigate the path to school launch, including support focused on governance, staffing, facilities, instruction, community engagement, student recruitment, and more. 

To learn more and to sign up to receive updates on the fellowship, complete this form.