INDIANAPOLIS – The Mind Trust today launched Talent Matters, an effort to recruit talented innovators and
entrepreneurs to take part in two transformative efforts to improve public education in Indianapolis:
Charter School Design Challenge. The Mind Trust created its Charter School Incubator in 2011 to launch or
expand excellent public charter schools in Indianapolis. During the first round of awards, The Mind Trust
supported the launch or expansion of four charter school networks in Indianapolis. The Design Challenge
represents the second phase and is seeking to seed four transformative, “break-the-mold” charter school models.
Innovation School Fellowship, Round 3. The Mind Trust created the fellowship, in partnership with the
Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and the City of Indianapolis, in 2014 to help launch high-quality and
autonomous Innovation Network Schools in IPS, the city’s largest school district. The Mind Trust is now
recruiting for its third class of fellows.
“Indianapolis is among the most exciting cities in the nation to develop and launch a new, autonomous charter or
district school, and The Mind Trust’s Innovation School Fellowship and Charter School Design Challenge provide
unique opportunities to do so,” said David Harris, founder & CEO of The Mind Trust. “We are seeking talented,
innovative entrepreneurs and educators who want to be on the cutting edge of transforming public education in
Indianapolis and across the nation.”
Charter School Design Challenge. Through this challenge, The Mind Trust seeks to create the next wave of
charter schools by identifying the nation’s most innovative social entrepreneurs and encouraging them to design
transformational, new charter school models that have never before been tried.
To generate interest in the Design Challenge, The Mind Trust will host a national innovation symposium in
Indianapolis in April 2016 to explore new school models. Among the activities will be a preliminary design
competition where innovators will present ideas for new school models. The winner will receive a $50,000 grant
to be used to further develop a plan to submit to the Charter School Design Challenge. The Mind Trust will offer
planning grants of $10,000 to up to 10 teams of entrepreneurs to develop ideas for the preliminary competition. To apply to participate in the symposium or for the planning grant, please visit: themindtrust.org.
Then, The Mind Trust will award four $250,000 grants through the full Charter School Design Challenge. Other
supports from The Mind Trust include visits to world-class schools across the country; expert consulting on
school design, school startups and management; and other consulting and research support.
The Mind Trust will begin accepting applications for this fellowship immediately on a rolling basis.
Innovation School Fellowship, Round 3. Innovation Network Schools are new, autonomous public schools
that were made possible by recent state laws giving IPS and other school districts the authority to convert any
existing school in the districts to a new Innovation Network School.
At each site, IPS enters into an agreement with a school operator (e.g. a nonprofit) to run the school under
contract with the district. Operators also have access to district buildings, eliminating a typical barrier to
launching a new school. What’s more, they are exempt from IPS’s administrative practices, collective bargaining
agreement, and many state regulations, giving them the freedom to hire staff, design their own curriculum and
extend the school day and/or year to best serve the needs of students. In exchange for this freedom, the schools
are held to the highest academic standards.
Through the fellowship, The Mind Trust selects prospective school leaders to receive salary, benefits, office space
and technical assistance from local and national experts while they spend up to two years developing their school
model. Applicants may be current principals and educators, leaders of charter school networks and other
innovators who have the ability to launch and run a successful school.
IPS and The Mind Trust have an agreement to convert at least 15% of IPS’ schools, or at least nine schools, into
Innovation Network Schools over the next several years. One such school incubated during The Mind Trust’s first
round of fellowships, PLA@103, opened in 2015 on the city’s far eastside. Earlier this year, four 2015 fellowships
were awarded to launch three new schools.
Statements of intent for this third round of fellowships are due by January 17, 2016 and full applications are due
February 7, 2016.
For more information on both fellowships, please visit: themindtrust.org.