Local Sources– At the first-ever Indiana Educational Excellence Awards Gala, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) awarded up to $4.21 million to schools across the state to celebrate their progress and achievement in supporting student excellence and growth.
“Indiana’s educators bring passion and energy to classrooms across the state – and it’s important that we celebrate them with that same passion and energy,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Indiana’s first-ever Educational Excellence Awards Gala brought together some of our most impactful educators and school leaders, whose daily work is helping countless students to ignite their own purpose, know their value and understand the possibilities for their life’s path. We know that real impact for students happens at the educator-level, and our team remains dedicated to supporting educators and amplifying their good work.”
The gala, which was hosted in Indianapolis last Friday, brought together nearly 400 educators and guests from across the state. The event recognized the 2022 Indiana Teacher of the Year top 10 finalists, Indiana’s 2021 Milken Educator and also awarded the school corporation and teacher who engaged most with the Indiana Learning Lab, a professional development resource for Indiana educators.
Additionally, IDOE awarded school corporations with up to $500,000 awards for excellence in areas including STEM, early reading, work-based learning and postsecondary credential completion, including CTE credentials. The event also presented financial award grants to school corporations that are making significant progress toward improving achievement among Indiana’s Black and Hispanic students, students in special education, students whose primary language is not English and students from low-income households. The size of each financial award grant is based on the respective school or school corporation’s total student population. Grants must be used to sustain and expand the school’s current, impactful programming, support teachers who lead this work, as well as mentor other schools to drive additional, innovative strategies through a community of practice.
Indiana Educational Excellence Awards Gala awardees include –
Excellence in STEM Award
West Lafayette Jr/Sr High School, West Lafayette School Corporation - $250,000
This award recognizes a high school that had a student selected for the 2022 Governor's STEM Team and that had the highest percentage of STEM course completions during the 2021-2022 school year.
Excellence in Leading and Learning Award (Corporation)
Randolph Eastern School Corporation - $425,000
This award recognizes a school corporation that provides support for educators through instructional resources, professional development opportunities and other best practices and that had the most professional growth points earned per teacher through the Indiana Learning Lab since its launch last year.
Excellence in Leading and Learning Award (Educator)
Emily Batton, North Liberty Elementary School, John Glenn School Corporation - $5,000
This award recognizes the teacher who has demonstrated continuous learning by earning the most professional growth points through the Indiana Learning Lab since the lab’s launch last year.
*Note: This award is funded by the 2022 College Football Playoff Indianapolis Host Committee.
Excellence in Early Literacy Award
Tri-Township Consolidated School Corporation - $160,000
Eman Schools - $170,000
Pleasant View Elementary School, Zionsville Community Schools - $410,000
This award focuses on ensuring all students demonstrate proficiency in foundational reading skills by recognizing a school corporation (Tri-Township) that has achieved a 100% district-wide passing rate on the 2022 IREAD-3 assessment. It also recognizes a large (Pleasant View) and small (Eman) elementary school that have achieved the highest school-wide IREAD-3 pass rate percentage, along with the highest pass rate across all student populations.
Excellence in Crossing the Finish Line
Elkhart High School, Elkhart Community Schools - $500,000
Hammond Area Career Center, School City of Hammond - $500,000
This award recognizes the high school with the greatest access and credential completion rates for students through the Crossing the Finish Line initiative through Ivy Tech Community College (Elkhart) and Vincennes University (Hammond). Crossing the Finish Line prioritizes the completion of high-value postsecondary credentials for graduating seniors by providing free tuition, fees, books and certain other expenses.
Excellence in Work-Based Learning
Heritage Jr./Sr. High School, East Allen County Schools - $310,000
This award recognizes a school that is providing students a leg up in their futures and in their chosen careers by providing access to high-quality work-based learning experiences. Specifically, the award recognizes a school with enrollment of at least 500 students that had the highest percentage of student work-based learning course completions in the 2020-2021 school year.
Excellence in Academic Gains
Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation - $500,000
East Gibson School Corporation - $375,000
Paramount Englewood - $105,000
Western School Corporation - $500,000
While student learning was impacted across the board as a result of the pandemic, Indiana’s most at-risk students had persistent learning and educational attainment gaps even prior to the global pandemic. This award recognizes four school corporations or charter schools across Indiana that have made the most progress in improving achievement among these student populations. This is measured by ILEARN English/language arts assessment results among Hispanic (C.A. Beard) and special education (East Gibson) students, and by ILEARN math assessment results among Black (Paramount Englewood) and English learner (Western) students.
Presenting sponsors for the event include the Institute for Quality Education and The Mind Trust. The event received additional financial support through premier sponsorships from EdChoice, the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and Walton Family Foundation and through signature sponsorships from the University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, Glick Philanthropies, the Indiana Association of School Principals, Ivy Tech Community College, Marian University and Lilly Endowment, Inc. Other contributors include: Ascend, the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers, the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, Strada Education Network, Five Star Technology Solutions, Stand for Children Indiana and Teach for America Indianapolis.
School awards are funded through the state’s federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grant.