Carnegie Grant supports STEM teaching collaboration


Grant supports UIndy, Christel House, Dow AgroSciences partnership

STEM_teaching-26A grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York will help the University of Indianapolis and nearby Christel House Academy charter school collaborate with local professionals from Dow AgroSciences to improve the preparation of math teachers and the academic performance of elementary students. The University is one of just five organizations nationwide that received grants from Carnegie late last year through a competition hosted for partners in 100Kin10, a national initiative to increase the ranks of highly skilled teachers in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The competition identified 100Kin10 partners such as UIndy that are working to prepare excellent STEM teachers, with a focus on national standards and a priority toward collaboration with school districts and other 100Kin10 partners.

The Indianapolis project involves creating “communities of practice” among UIndy education faculty, Christel House Academy teachers, and UIndy students majoring in elementary education. The relationship will allow undergraduate teacher candidates to practice and refine their skills in a real-life setting with a diverse population of high-need urban students. In preparation, UIndy’s Elementary Teacher Education program has augmented its curriculum with more courses in math content and methods to address the national Standards for Mathematical Practice.

“We believe this project offers a new vision of collaboration and professional development,” said UIndy professor John Somers, principal investigator on the $50,000 grant. “It’s a vision that builds on the apprenticeship model but puts the professionals and the teaching candidates in the dual roles of learner and teacher.” Video analysis is a key tool in the project, which began in January and will continue through October, though participants hope the relationships will continue into the future. As student teachers and working teachers collaborate in developing new math lesson plans, portable systems using tablet computers and robotic tracking will record the UIndy candidates presenting lessons in the classroom.

The resulting videos will be uploaded to a virtual communication platform, Edthena, where Christel House teachers will coach the teacher candidates on improving instruction, and the project’s participants can identify content for professional development seminars. In June, STEM professionals from Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences joined participating educators for the annual Project-Based Learning Institute, sponsored by UIndy, its Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, the Indiana University School of Education at IUPUI, and Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township. The partners will develop project-based lessons to be implemented and evaluated this fall at Christel House Academy. Project-based learning is a standards-based, inquiry-driven instructional approach in which students develop solutions to real-world problems through group investigation and collaboration. As part of its comprehensive STEM education initiative, Dow AgroSciences provides ongoing support for UIndy and its Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship, as well as support for other teacher preparedness and professional development programming. UIndy is one of only three Indiana organizations partnering in the 100Kin10 initiative, along with the Indiana Department of Education and the I-STEM Resource Network. Launched in 2011 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Institute for Advanced Study, 100Kin10 is a national network of nearly 200 partners—including major corporations, universities, school districts, charitable foundations, government agencies, and other organizations—responding to the national call to prepare and retain 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by the year 2021. As of 2014, 100Kin10 is now an independent organization incubated at the National Center for Civic Innovation. More information is available at

About elementary education at UIndy

Graduates of UIndy’s Elementary Teacher Education program enjoy a 93 percent employment rate and 93 percent satisfaction rating from the principals who hire them. Students receive a strong foundation of liberal arts education and a standards-driven education curriculum and immersion in field experiences at diverse, high-need schools. The UIndy School of Education received the 2013 Model of Excellence Award in the Partnerships category from the National Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education.

About Christel House Academy

Christel House Academy, a public charter school of more than 600 at-risk students, has a 93 percent economically disadvantaged population and a nearly equal representation of Hispanic, black, and white students; 30 percent of the students are English language learners; 16 percent receive special education services. CHA is Indiana’s first charter school to receive the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform’s “School to Watch” designation for its commitment to student achievement and is one of 10 MetLife Foundation–NAASP Breakthrough Schools.

About Dow AgroSciences

Dow AgroSciences, based in Indianapolis, is committed to discovering, developing, and bringing to market crop protection and plant biotechnology solutions for the growing world. Dow AgroSciences is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company and had annual global sales of $7.1 billion in 2013.

CELL hosts ninth annual statewide education reform conference

More than 500 education, business, and community leaders gathered November 12–13 in Indianapolis for the state’s premier annual conference on education reform, organized by the University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning with support from the Lilly Foundation. Under the theme “Turning Challenges into Opportunities,” the event featured more than 50 sessions addressing a wide range of issues, such as college readiness, education technology, education and workforce innovation, project-based learning, and policy updates. Nationally known keynote speakers included Robyn Jackson, author of Never Underestimate Your Teachers and Never Work Harder than Your Students, and Michael Wesch of Kansas State University, a cultural anthropologist. The Education Workforce Innovation Network, a partnership between CELL and Indiana’s Education Roundtable, hosted the Education Workforce Innovation Forum. This invitation-only event brought together leaders from across the state to discuss the future of education and workforce alignment in Indiana. Speakers included Mike Pence, Indiana governor, and James R. Stone III, director of the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education at the University of Louisville, who addressed state and national efforts to better align education and workforce outcomes, innovations in career and technical education, and the role of entrepreneurship in economic development.

About CELL

Created in 2001, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis is focused on helping all children graduate from high school fully prepared for success in postsecondary education and the 21st-century workforce. Through partnerships with local, national, and international education leaders and organizations, CELL unites districts, schools, communities, universities, and businesses in working toward statewide education and economic improvement. Key funding is provided by Lilly Endowment Inc. More information is available at