This week, teachers, school leaders, community organizations, philanthropic organizations, policymakers, and parents joined The Mind Trust for an evening of celebration and recognition of the progress Indianapolis has made in education over the past nearly two decades. The energy in the room was high but the message was clear: we have made tremendous progress when it comes to K-12 education outcomes, but we have much more work to do.
During the evening, Former Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said that every student – regardless of income, race, or zip code – deserve access to a well-rounded education, including a rigorous curriculum and social and emotional supports. And while he is heartened by the work being done here in Indianapolis, the reality is that too many kids in Central Indiana do not have that opportunity.
Fortunately, organizations like The Mind Trust are working every day to change this reality and ensure every student in Indianapolis attends a greatK-12 school.
The Foundation’s relationship with The Mind Trust is longstanding. In 2006, the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation provided seed funding that helped to launch The Mind Trust. Over the past thirteen years, the Foundation has awarded a total of $14.7 million to support the work of The Mind Trust and its efforts to improve education outcomes for Indianapolis students.
Among many milestones over the last 13 years, The Mind Trust has launched 24 schools, including 16 Innovation Network Schools in partnership with Indianapolis Public Schools. Additionally, the organization has supported the recruitment, training, and placement of great teachers and school leaders across K-12 schools in Marion County.
During the event, The Mind Trust honored former Mayor Bart Peterson, former Board Chair of The Mind Trust and long-time advocate of education innovation in Indianapolis. During his tenure, Mayor Peterson championed the launch of charter schools in Central Indiana and now serves as President and CEO of Christel House International, which was one of the first charters to open in Indianapolis nearly two decades ago.
Mayor Peterson echoed the numerous calls throughout the evening for families, teachers, community leaders and more to continue pushing for the growth of high-performing schools in our community.
As we at the Foundation think about the state of education in our great city, we agree with Secretary King’s closing words: “I am inspired by the progress made in Indianapolis, but even more inspired by the progress that has yet to come.”