Improving Academic Outcomes and Closing the Skills Gap

A well-educated population is critical to the vitality of Indianapolis and the continued global competitiveness of the United States. Unfortunately, the United States continues to lag behind other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations in literacy, numeracy, science, and critical thinking skills. In Indianapolis, too many students graduate from high school unprepared for college or careers, and employers struggle to identify a sufficient supply of skilled talent to fill available job openings.

The Foundation has established two goals in our Education focus area:

  • To improve academic outcomes for Indianapolis students, from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade, by supporting the conditions necessary to grow the supply of high-performing schools and programs.
  • To minimize the workforce skills gap in Indianapolis by supporting the delivery of cost-effective post-secondary education and training programs that align with the demands of America’s knowledge-based economy.

We have identified the following strategies to support these goals:

  • Supporting the design and implementation of highly effective Pre-Kindergarten programs serving low-income children.
  • Strengthening the systemic conditions most likely to result in a K-12 system that provides a robust set of high-performing school options for Indianapolis students and their families. These conditions include effective governance, autonomous schools, transparent accountability for student outcomes, and sufficient resources—particularly facilities and per-pupil funding.
  • Supporting the launch and replication of high-performing, autonomous schools.
  • Attracting, retaining, and developing great talent, particularly school leaders and teachers.
  • Supporting the launch and replication of high-performing, cost-effective, competency-based college and career preparation models aligned with the needs of employers.
  • Communicating what is, and what isn’t, working across stakeholder groups.