EmpowerED Families is a nonprofit that aims to build family power through relationships and rallying behind the strengths of parents. They connect with Indianapolis parents, families, and community and school leaders to help build parent power to activate change. EmpowerED Families was founded by Fellow Ashley Virden in 2019 and is currently led by Fellow Ontay Johnson.
The Center for Innovative Education Solutions is a nonprofit school services center that provides schools access to high-quality, cost-effective operational, financial, and state reporting services. These services support schools in Indianapolis by reducing the amount of time school leaders spend on administrative duties, allowing them to maximize their focus on instructional leadership. The Center for Innovative Education Solutions was founded in 2018 by Fellows David Rosenberg and Brian Anderson.
Enroll Indy is a nonprofit, unified enrollment system in Indianapolis that provides parents with a central hub for information about various public school options and how to enroll their child in one of those schools. This unified enrollment system streamlines the school choice process for families, provides more equitable access to quality schools, and increases the information available to families as they make enrollment choices. Enroll Indy includes a comprehensive school chooser guide and parent engagement program, a one-stop application for families to select their school preferences, and research and advocacy efforts meant to harness the data about what schools parents want and how those schools perform. Enroll Indy was founded in 2015 by Fellow Caitlin Hannon, a former Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) teacher and elected IPS board member.
Foster children are twice as likely to drop out of school as their peers, but in most states, foster care professionals do not have programs in place to monitor foster children’s educational attainment. FosterEd has injected the critical education component into the foster-care equation. FosterEd connects foster children with education advocates who provide support, train caseworkers and foster parents, and intervene with remedies to improve their school performance. Through those efforts, FosterEd has provided hundreds of local foster children with educational services and support. Foster Ed’s founder is Fellow Jesse Hahnel, who was a classroom teacher before delving into education policy as leader of the research and development team at the KIPP Foundation. Foster Ed launched in Indianapolis in 2010.
The U.S. has an urgent need to prepare students for leadership in an increasingly globalized world. Global Citizen Year (GCY) addresses this need by recruiting, training and supporting a diverse corps of emerging leaders as they work as apprentices in NGOs in developing nations during a “bridge year” between high school and college. While abroad, GCY Fellows share their experiences virtually with K-12 classrooms in the U.S., and in the final month of the program, they lead activities about their experiences in their home high schools and communities. It was founded by Harvard University MBA and Fellow Abigail Falik, who has received widespread recognition from national organizations for her work with GCY. GCY launched in Indianapolis in 2009.
In May 2014, The Mind Trust awarded an Education Entrepreneur Fellowship to Mariama Shaheed, a 17-year district educator and national award-winning teacher to launch a Spanish language immersion charter school in 2016. Shaheed’s charter school, Global Preparatory Academy, serves primarily economically disadvantaged students in pre-K through eighth grades. Students receive instruction in both Spanish and English throughout the day and develop strong critical thinking skills through a curriculum that engages their creativity. Teachers closely monitor student performance to ensure those who need help receive academic support and those who excel are engaged and challenged. Global Preparatory Academy launched in Indianapolis in 2016.
Large numbers of Catholic schools serving disadvantaged students in inner cities across the U.S. are closing because of financial challenges. Seton Education Partners ensures that students attending Catholic schools that close continue to have access to high-quality educational options. The organization provides guidance and technical assistance to Catholic parishes, dioceses, and independent religious orders on leasing space to secular public charter schools or converting existing Catholic schools into public charter schools. Its founder, Stephanie Saroki de Garcia, came to the Education Entrepreneur Fellowship from The Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington, D.C., where she served for six years as the Director of K-12 Education Programs. Seton Education Partners launched in Indianapolis in 2010.
On average, students from low-income communities lose three months of academic gains during the summer because of limited summer learning opportunities. Summer Advantage USA reverses that trend by providing students with rigorous academic programs and enrichment opportunities such as art, music, field trips, and guest speakers. Since its Indianapolis launch in 2009, Summer Advantage has helped more than 10,000 Indiana students gain an average of three months in reading and two months in math. The initiative was started by Fellow Earl Martin Phalen, a Harvard Law School graduate who co-founded Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), through which he developed out-of-school programs in urban communities.
Excellent teachers are among the most critical assets in students’ success, yet nearly half of teachers leave urban classrooms within the first three years. Teach Plus helps to retain great teachers in urban schools by training them to become education-policy advocates. The organization’s efforts also have helped to create a favorable policy climate in Indianapolis to encourage more teachers to remain in the profession. Teach Plus was founded in Indianapolis in 2009 by Fellow Celine Coggins, a former classroom teacher and Stanford University PhD who served as an advisor to the Massachusetts Department of Education Commissioner.
Members of faith-based congregations and organizations have tremendous passion for social-justice causes. The Expectations Project was launched to tap into that passion and mobilize people of faith to advocate for policies and ideas that help provide all students access to high-quality PreK-12 education. The Expectations Project was launched by Fellow Nicole Baker Fulgham, who saw the disparities in educational opportunities as a public school student in Detroit. She graduated from college and attained a PhD, but saw many of her peers slip through the cracks of a broken system. Prior to launching The Expectations Project, Fulgham led Teach For America’s faith community relations initiative where she mobilized communities of faith to support Teach For America’s mission. The Expectations Project launched in Indianapolis in 2012.