Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning announces final cohort of Rural Early College Network schools

Five Indiana high schools will join the Rural Early College Network (RECN) to help students earn college credit while they complete their high school education. Each school will receive $120,000 over three years as they work with the University of Indianapolis Center for Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) and a mentor high school. 

CELL established the Rural Early College Network through a $7.9 million grant from the federal Education Innovation and Research program administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. RECN helps rural Indiana schools more quickly implement the Early College high school model. Early College targets underserved students and allows them to earn both high school diplomas and up to two years of credits toward bachelor’s or associate degrees through rigorous dual credit classes supported by wrap-around services.

A total of 20 schools will be participating in RECN, with these five schools being the final group to join the project:

Frontier Jr-Sr High School
Seeger Memorial Jr-Sr High School
Shoals Community High School
Southridge High School
Sheridan High School

“We are excited to welcome these high schools to the Rural Early College Network (RECN) project. Funding and support provided to these schools will help to develop Early College programming for underserved students, allowing them to earn a high school diploma with up to two years of college credits. Our team is excited to work with the educators at these five schools to support innovative opportunities for Hoosier students,” said Carey Dahncke, CELL executive director.

Recipient schools may use the funds for teacher credentialing for dual credit instruction, professional development, travel to RECN meetings and conferences, and other items that each school specifically needs to support the students and staff.  Schools also receive professional development on work-based learning and career readiness activities for students.  

About CELL
Created in 2001, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis has served as the leading convener, catalyst and collaborator for innovative education change. CELL’s mission is for all people in Indiana to experience meaningful and high-quality education. CELL partners with schools and communities to improve outcomes for students of all ages by leading sustainable educational innovation and transformation across Indiana. Providing leadership that is both cutting-edge and action-oriented, CELL unites districts, schools, communities, universities and businesses to build a sense of urgency and form innovative collaborations for statewide educational and economic improvement. Learn more: cell.uindy.edu.

About the University of Indianapolis
The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of nearly 5,600 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100+ undergraduate degrees, more than 40 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs in engineering, business, and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.” Learn more: uindy.edu.

University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning partners with INvestEd, State Higher Ed commission to help Indiana dual credit teachers obtain credentials

The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis will partner with the Indiana Higher Education Commission (ICHE) and INvestEd to meet the need for qualified teachers to deliver dual credit coursework in Indiana’s K-12 schools.

Teach Dual Credit Indiana is a partnership between ICHE and INvestEd to ensure that Indiana high school teachers are equipped and qualified to teach dual credit courses. Dual credit courses allow students to earn college credit and high school credit at the same time—preparing them for college and saving them time and money when they get there. CELL will be administering the program, which includes providing the funding to postsecondary institutions for tuition and books for teachers who are seeking to fulfill dual credit credentialing requirements as set forth by the regional college accreditor Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Beginning September 1, 2023, high school educators who teach dual credit courses are required to have a master’s degree and at least 18 credit hours of instruction in the subject they teach. The credentialing rules were put into place by HLC. Earlier this year, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers requested and received an additional one-year extension from HLC for Indiana teachers to meet these requirements.

INvestEd is providing a $3 million grant for Hoosier teachers to receive the necessary credit hours, up to 18 in total. The grant could fully qualify between 200 and 700 teachers, depending on how many credits teachers take. There are currently more than 560 Indiana teachers who have master’s degrees but lack the 18 hours.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and INvestEd on this project,” said Carey Dahncke, executive director of the University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL). “Ensuring student success in post-secondary endeavors, particularly when those are collegiate aspirations, has been central to our Early College and STEM Teach work. With the looming shortage of qualified teachers to deliver dual credit course work in Indiana’s K-12 schools – Teach Dual Credit Indiana is desperately needed. Soon teachers across the state will have access to graduate education opportunities at a wide range of Hoosier universities to ensure we have enough secondary teachers that meet the Higher Learning Commission’s requirements for teaching dual credit courses in Indiana’s high schools.”

“Indiana’s dual credit teachers can become fully credentialed to meet the HLC requirements at no cost to them, thanks to the support of INvestEd and through the state’s partnership with CELL,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “Hoosier students who have the opportunity to take dual credit courses in high school go to college at higher rates are more likely to succeed in college and to graduate on time, saving students and families time and money. Ensuring all students in Indiana have access to dual credit courses taught by credentialed teachers can also help close the state’s educational opportunity gaps, as the benefits of dual credit are seen across all races, ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses.”

CELL is encouraging postsecondary institutions to submit proposals to offer courses through Teach Dual Credit Indiana. Tuition for courses, along with books and materials, will be provided at no cost to dual credit teachers employed at Indiana public, including charter schools, and accredited private schools. Courses will be offered in the winter, spring and summer 2021 and may be offered in an online or hybrid mode of delivery.

Teachers with a master’s degree who need more credits can learn more about how to access grant funds and postsecondary institutions can review and submit a Request for Proposal at TeachDualCredit.org.

“CELL is excited to launch Teach Dual Credit Indiana and begin funding teachers to take the graduate courses necessary to meet credentialing requirements to teach dual credit classes in non-STEM fields such as English and Social Studies. Teach Dual Credit Indiana is a program similar to STEM Teach which provides funding for dual credit teachers in STEM fields. We look forward to continuing to serve teachers and schools so that they can provide ample dual credit opportunities to high school students. In the end, this results in making the transition to college easier and more affordable for students as they earn college credits while still enrolled in high school,” said Trish Wlodarczyk, director of strategic initiatives, STEM Teach IV, CELL. 

ICHE estimates dual credit completion saves Hoosier students $69 million in postsecondary tuition and fees annually. One-third of students who complete dual credit courses in Indiana are from low-income households.

About CELL
Created in 2001, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis has served as the leading convener, catalyst and collaborator for innovative education change. CELL’s mission is for all people in Indiana to experience meaningful and high-quality education. CELL partners with schools and communities to improve outcomes for students of all ages by leading sustainable educational innovation and transformation across Indiana. Providing leadership that is both cutting-edge and action-oriented, CELL unites districts, schools, communities, universities and businesses to build a sense of urgency and form innovative collaborations for statewide educational and economic improvement. Learn more: cell.uindy.edu.

About the University of Indianapolis
The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of nearly 5,600 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100+ undergraduate degrees, more than 40 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs in engineering, business, and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.” Learn more: uindy.edu.

Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning receives $4.8 million in grants from Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund

The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis received $4.8 million in two grants from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief  (GEER) Fund. One grant worth $3.3 million will fund devices and broadband in nine service centers and 23 school districts in rural areas across the State of Indiana. The second grant allots $1.5 million for professional development to improve educators’ capacity to provide engaging and effective online instruction. 

CELL will partner with the Central Indiana Education Service Center during the next two years to disburse the funds and arrange for training. In addition to providing broadband for rural areas that frequently lack high-speed internet access, the $3.3 million grant will be used to connect families to wi-fi hotspots as well as to buy equipment such as laptops for students and teachers. 

The $4.8 million awarded to CELL is one of the larger amounts distributed by the State of Indiana from the $61.6 million in GEER funding that the State received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The funds allow the Governor’s Office to provide support to local educational agencies and institutions of higher education with an application focus on developing and improving the availability of remote learning techniques and technologies. 

“These grants will allow us to meet the unique needs of rural school districts and ensure that students and teachers have access to the technology they require to succeed. We are grateful to the Governor’s Office for this valuable opportunity to address the immediate concerns of the pandemic and to prepare educators in these school districts for the technological demands of the future,” said Janet Boyle, CELL executive director.

The Indiana Department of Education, the Commission for Higher Education, the Indiana State Board of Education, and the Governor’s Office established the needs-based, competitive grant program to support the unique challenges associated with remote learning including device access, internet connectivity and educator training/development.

The following school districts and education centers will receive funding:

Crothersville Community Schools
Delaware Community Schools
Franklin County Community Schools
Frontier School Corporation
Jay County School Corporation
Lake Station Community Schools
Logansport Community School Corporation
Middlebury Community Schools
Monroe Gregg School District
MSD of Wabash County
Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (Fortville)
North Central Parke School Corporation
North Lawrence Community Schools
Northeast School Corporation (Sullivan County)
Perry Central Community Schools
Randolph Central School Corporation
Rising Sun School Corporation
South Newton School Corporation
Southern Hancock School Corporation
Spencer-Owen School Corporation
Union County School College Corner Joint School District
Vincennes City School Corporation
Wabash City Schools

About CELL
Created in 2001, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis has served as the leading convener, catalyst and collaborator for innovative education change. CELL’s mission is for all people in Indiana to experience meaningful and high-quality education. CELL partners with schools and communities to improve outcomes for students of all ages by leading sustainable educational innovation and transformation across Indiana. Providing leadership that is both cutting-edge and action-oriented, CELL unites districts, schools, communities, universities and businesses to build a sense of urgency and form innovative collaborations for statewide educational and economic improvement. Learn more: cell.uindy.edu.

About the University of Indianapolis
The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of nearly 6,000 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100+ undergraduate degrees, more than 40 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs in engineering, business, and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.” Learn more: uindy.edu.

EWIN names three new Education-Workforce Planning Grant recipients

The Education Workforce Innovation Network (EWIN) has announced three new Education-Workforce Planning Grant recipients for $7,000 each. They include groups led by Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart and Navistar, Student Career Partners for Northeast Indiana and River Forest Community Schools (RFCS) in Hobart. With the grant, each partnership will benefit from EWIN technical assistance through 2019 including support of collaboration within their communities, research of promising models, site visits to explore innovative approaches and development of plans customized to each area’s needs and resources.

“We are so excited to work with these dedicated groups that are leveraging community partners to invest in the meaningful development of career pathways systems. Our goal is to facilitate the pathway system planning process so those groups can replicate that process to create additional opportunities for students,” said EWIN Director Erin Foster. “The result will be implementation of innovative, data-driven, industry-led educational models that align with needs of the local economy. We have incredible experiences planned for these teams and can’t wait to get started!”

Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart and Navistar will partner with Elkhart Plastics, Inc., Better World Books, the South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Trustees, Elkhart Area Career Center and the South Bend Regional Chamber. The group will collaborate to develop a K-14 Supply Chain Management and Logistics Pathway that educates, trains and develops a sustainable pipeline of supply chain management and logistics employees.

“The Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart Campus team is thrilled to be selected as one of this year’s grantees. The grant funds will enable our project to directly align with the college’s strategic plan for developing K-12 partnerships, accelerating educational opportunities for students and incumbent workers while meeting the needs of our communities and employers,” said Amber Ruszkowski, department chair and associate professor for Business Administration and Logistics, South Bend-Elkhart Campus.

The Student Career Partners for Northeast Indiana includes Region 8 Education Service Center, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Ivy Tech Northeast, Parkview Health, Junior Achievement and the Olin B. and Desta Schwab Foundation. This partnership will use grant funds to create a career-ready pathway program that motivates and guides students through a process to develop individualized career road maps based on their talents, interests, post-secondary choices, financial resources as well as high-wage, high-demand employment options in the area.

“Our team in Northeast Indiana is pleased to partner with EWIN on this effort. We look forward to leveraging the expertise at CELL (Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning) to build on our regional work to help students across the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana identify and access opportunities for future success,” said Ryan Twiss, vice president of regional initiatives in the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

River Forest Community Schools (RFCS) is spearheading a community partnership made up of 16 regional businesses, postsecondary institutions, organizations and agencies. Their goal is to collaboratively implement a full advanced manufacturing pathway with K-12 aligned curriculum and postsecondary certifications and degrees that lead to high-demand, high-wage employment.

In addition to RFCS, the partnership includes Praxair, Indiana Manufacturers Association, Calumet Area Industrial Commission, Northwest Indiana Forum, The City of Hobart Economic Development, Lake Shore Chamber of Commerce, Center of Workforce Innovations, Vincennes University, Ivy Tech Community College, Purdue University Northwest, Indiana University Northwest, U.S. Army, Neighbors’ Educational Opportunities, Via Marketing, World of Words and Innovations in Learning.

Rachelle Baker, graduation pathway coordinator, River Forest High School, said, “Preparing River Forest students and supporting their career goals are our top priorities. Developing an advanced manufacturing pathway with EWIN and partners is an invaluable resource for increasing student achievement, verifiable skills and future quality of life.”

This is EWIN’s fourth round of planning grants offered to education-workforce partnerships across the state to support development of implementation plans for regional or local sector-based career pathways. Pathways help make students college and career ready, inspire curricular programs grounded in the real world, engage businesses in K-16 learning experiences and provide the local workforce with highly skilled employees.

EWIN is an initiative of the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL), a non-profit at the University of Indianapolis, which unites districts, schools, communities, universities and businesses to build a sense of urgency and form innovative collaborations for statewide educational and economic improvement.

For more information, contact EWIN Director of Education Workforce Innovation Network Erin Foster at 317-791-5991.