National | March 15, 2018

Indianapolis Education Reform Group CEO to Step Down

David Harris, who started The Mind Trust, the Indianapolis education nonprofit that has helped transform the city’s public education landscape in the last decade, plans to step down next month.

Harris said in an announcement Thursday that he was leaving as The Mind Trust’s CEO to become the founding partner of a new and yet-to-be-launched national education organization. He will remain in Indianapolis.

The Mind Trust has been a key player in the city’s move to become a “portfolio district” with a robust mix of charter and traditional district schools. In 2011, the group issued a report that called for a drastic overhaul of the city’s school system. The organization also recruited Teach For America and TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project) to Indianapolis.

Local|National|Press Releases | March 15, 2018

The Mind Trust’s Founder and CEO Stepping Down for Leadership Position With New National Education Organization

THE MIND TRUST’S FOUNDER AND CEO STEPPING DOWN FOR LEADERSHIP POSITION WITH NEW NATIONAL EDUCATION ORGANIZATION David Harris served 11 years at nationally recognized education nonprofit; The Mind Trust’s Senior Vice President for Education Innovation will become CEO INDIANAPOLIS – (March 15, 2018) – The founder and CEO of The Mind Trust, who has helped […]

National | February 21, 2018

Wildflower to Bring Montessori Microschools to Indianapolis After Winning Charter Design Challenge From The Mind Trust

A school model led solely by classroom teachers that operates in one-room storefronts has been awarded a $250,000 grant to put down roots in Indianapolis.

Wildflower Schools, which includes 14 Montessori microschools in three states and Puerto Rico, was selected as the second winner of the Charter School Design Challenge, which seeks to bring innovative charter school models to the city.

Wildflower was chosen because of the innovations it brings to charter schools, said Brandon Brown, vice president of education innovation at The Mind Trust, the Indianapolis-based nonprofit that runs the competition. Wildflower schools have no principals or administrators, but instead are run by two teacher leaders who instruct 20 to 30 students spanning multiple grades using the Montessori model of observation and student-driven learning. The schools are run in one-room storefronts — another departure from traditional school design.

“This type of model does not exist locally and will be revolutionary to how we view innovation in Indianapolis,” Brown said.

National|Op-eds | February 19, 2018

Weisberg & Campbell: 3 Ways Charter Schools Can Make Sure They Recruit, Hire, and Retain the Teachers They Need

Summer vacation may still be months away, but school leaders across the country are already gearing up to hire teachers for the next school year. Many will find themselves in the same predicament they’ve faced for years: scrambling until the last minute to fill open positions, especially in crucial subjects like math, science, and special education.

It’s a story sadly familiar to anyone who follows education news, but one that’s usually associated with traditional school districts. Yet public charter schools struggle with teacher hiring and retention every bit as much as district schools, often for very preventable reasons. That’s not only bad for students; it also threatens charter schools’ ability to reach the next level of scale and quality they’ll need to survive over the long run.

National | October 16, 2017

Innovation Network Schools in Indianapolis: Phalen Leadership Academies Takes the Lead

In 2014 the Indiana legislature, passed a law granting Indiana Public Schools (IPS) the authority to create Innovation Network Schools, a network of schools that operate under contract with a nonprofit organization or management team and outside of the district’s collective bargaining agreement. With the help of the nonprofit Phalen Leadership Academies (PLA), the network took on the task of restarting underperforming schools in Indianapolis. Today, the results are promising, and PLA aims to increase the network by two schools per year over time.

National | October 12, 2017

Should Donors Invest in School Districts?

With all the philanthropic energy surrounding K-12 education, few donors invest in school districts. The reasons why are reflected in our recent survey of 289 Philanthropy Roundtable members. It revealed that broad support for improving the quality of public schools coincides with a lack of confidence, in the minds of most funders, in the ability of administrators of conventional school districts to innovate and enact real improvements.