Happy anniversary, CELL


In honor of its 10th anniversary—a decade devoted to improving student learning around the state—the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at UIndy selected 10 key accomplishments that reflect its impact. CELL now touches more than 195 schools, 3,200 teachers, and 224,000 students annually. Here are some of the ways:

Core to College

Under the leadership of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, CELL is partnering to launch the “Core to College: Preparing Students for College Readiness and Success” program. Core to College connects higher education institutions with K-12 schools to align performance assessments that can improve student achievement, graduation rates, and college- and career-readiness. Indiana is one of only 10 states selected to pilot the program. Together, the commission and CELL are putting the systems in place to ensure all Indiana students graduate from high school ready for college.

New Technology Schools

CELL helped introduce Indiana to the New Tech school model in 2005 and helped open the state’s first three New Tech high schools in 2007. Since that time, Indiana has become the nation’s New Tech school leader, with 19 schools implementing the model and five more slated to open this fall. New Tech uses project-based learning, one-to-one computing, and 21st-century skill integration to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for success in life, college, and future careers.

Indiana Education Transformation Conference

To revitalize classrooms and communities to meet 21st-century challenges, CELL created the Indiana Education Transformation Conference seven years ago. The annual event provides a forum to share proven practices, new ideas, local successes, and legislative trends shaping Indiana’s educational landscape. The conference is an incubator for innovation and a launch pad for many of the state’s transformative initiatives in education.

TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement

In 2010, the Indiana Department of Education contracted with CELL to implement TAP in 44 schools across the state—an initiative now in full swing. The nationally acclaimed professional development system is designed to attract, retain, and support high-quality classroom teachers. Administrators and teachers receive training and evaluation to equip them to produce student academic gains

Early College High School

Indiana is home to many Early College High School programs, thanks to CELL’s support. Early College allows students to earn an associate’s degree or up to two years toward a bachelor’s degree concurrently with their high school diploma. The schools are tailored to support first-generation college-goers, minority students, and those from socioeconomically disadvantaged families—who are often underrepresented in higher education institutions—in achieving postsecondary education.

Project-Based Learning

An estimated 30,000 students are benefitting from re-energized teachers and reinvented classrooms through CELL’s support of project-based learning. PBL engages students in learning academic content while helping them develop the skills needed for life beyond the classroom. To support PBL, CELL co-created and co-hosts the state’s largest PBL institute, which trains more than 300 educators and administrators each year. CELL also leads the Elementary and Middle School PBL Networks and provides training in regions across the state to develop PBL instructional coaches to aid local schools.

High School-to-College Transition Project

This project engaged hundreds of people—from individual classrooms to the Indiana Statehouse—in discussions regarding issues affecting students’ ability to transition to college. This three-year policy study identified barriers, formulated recommendations, and advocated for policy improvements to support Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and dual-credit (high school and college) programs. The initiative resulted in increased partnerships, policy awareness, and legislation
to bridge the gap between high school and higher education for all Hoosier students.

Research & Evaluation

CELL provides valuable information to support education innovation through its research and evaluation initiative. Its work has been published in education journals and presented at national conferences. Notable work includes research on the impact of innovative school models and 21st-century educational practices, and a comparison of student performance in charter and traditional schools. The resulting research is informing the national discussion on education reform.

Business & Education Connections

CELL has always emphasized the connection between education reform and economic development. Partly as a result of this work, Indiana is experiencing a surge in activity from the business community committed to improving local schools. The Center recently joined forces with Indiana’s Education Roundtable to support regional collaborations between business and education leaders that are designed to address the challenges facing Indiana’s schools and workforce.

International Education Network

CELL co-developed and hosted Indiana’s first student-led International Baccalaureate conference, advancing learning opportunities for more than 300 students a year. CELL also hosted a series of roundtable discussions to involve higher education institutions and businesses in supporting international education among all Indiana K-12 schools.