INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — More than $2.6 million in funds have been designated to support educators, students, and families in Indianapolis to aid in the transition to e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the mayor’s office, a collaborative of local stakeholders established the Indianapolis E-Learning Fund to support immediate and long-term solutions for student access to technology, county-wide social-emotional learning strategies, and the launch of an e-learning lab open to all schools in Indiana.
“Already, students, teachers and parents have worked miracles to ensure that education remains a top priority during this difficult time. Solutions for e-learning are on the horizon for all schools in Marion County,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “It is my hope that this fund will give every family, school, and teacher the tools they need to educate all students in Indianapolis.”
To limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, extended stay-at-home requirements and school building closures have been ordered by state and city officials in recent weeks.
Students, families, teachers, and administrators have since been required to rapidly implement plans for full-scale remote learning.
According to the mayor’s office, the $2.6 million in funds will be geared toward helping to ensure that schools and districts implement effective solutions to this challenge.
Officials said Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Office of Education Innovation will administer the fund, and the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee will serve as the fiscal agent.
A committee of Marion County education and community leaders will advise the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation on funding allocations.
Founding funding partners include the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, the Cummins Foundation, EdChoice, Emmis Communications, Glick Philanthropies, The Heritage Group, The Indianapolis Foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation Library Fund, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indiana Charter School Network, the Institute for Quality Education, Lilly Endowment Inc., the Lumina Foundation, The Mind Trust, The OneAmerica Foundation Inc., Salesforce, the Telamon Foundation, and United Way of Central Indiana.
The Indianapolis E-Learning Fund will address four focus areas:
Technology access: Support for Marion County traditional public, public charter, and innovation network schools to address short-term needs for accessing devices and internet connectivity for students from low-income families and for students who live in communities with unreliable access to the internet and/or limited broadband capacity.
County-wide e-learning strategy: Support for the development of a county-wide strategy for e-learning that will identify supports needed and address both immediate and long-term needs.
County-wide social-emotional learning strategy: Support for the development of a county-wide strategy for social-emotional learning needs for students, both while at home and upon their transition back to the school building.
Statewide e-learning lab: Support for the launch of an e-learning lab for all schools in the state. The lab will provide early e-learning adopters a platform for sharing best practices with all schools, as well as professional development opportunities to support teachers and administrators. The lab will also equip students and families with the necessary tools for the successful implementation of remote learning.
A committee representing Indianapolis school district leadership and respected community organizations will advise on funding decisions. The seven committee members are:
- Miriam Acevedo Davis, President and CEO, La Plaza
- Brandon Brown, CEO, The Mind Trust
- Aleesia Johnson, Superintendent, Indianapolis Public Schools
- Jeffrey A. Johnson Sr., Senior Pastor, Eastern Star Church
- Pat Mapes, Superintendent, Perry Township Schools
- Patrick McAlister, Director, Indianapolis Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation (committee chair)
- Shawn Smith, Superintendent, Lawrence Township
Individuals or organizations who wish to contribute to the fund can visit indy.gov/elearning to make a donation and learn more.