Hoosier Schools to Receive $9.14M

Hoosier Schools to Receive $9.14M

Lilly Endowment Inc. is announcing the recipients of planning grants in the first phase of its Comprehensive Counseling Initiative for Indiana K-12 Students, a five-year effort to strengthen how public school corporations and charter schools help students from elementary grades through high school prepare for academic, career and personal success.

The Endowment is awarding a total of $9.14 million in planning grants to 284 public school corporations and charter schools in Indiana. The individual grants range from $8,302 to $50,000. The amounts for which the recipients could apply were based on the enrollment of each school corporation or charter school.

As part of the planning grant process, recipients will spend the next three months collecting and analyzing data, assessing their current counseling programs, identifying best practices, visiting promising programs and engaging community partners, among many activities described in their proposals.

After this planning and study, they are invited to submit implementation grant proposals to fund the strategies they develop to move them closer to a comprehensive counseling model that addresses the academic, college, career, and social and emotional needs of their K-12 students.

Although the planning grant phase was not competitive, the implementation grants will be competitive. Implementation proposals, which must be submitted by May 19, 2017, can be used during a four-year grant period. Applicants may request up to $100 per student enrolled, and the amounts may range from $100,000 to $3 million.

Many of the planning grant recipients are engaging consultants to help them with this work, including among others the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI), Center of Excellence in

Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis (CELL), the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation (Indiana Chamber) and Fleck Education.

“The Endowment is very encouraged by the response to the request for planning grants. The number of proposals received exceeded our estimates, which indicates that schools across Indiana want their counseling programs to be as effective as possible. They recognize the importance of counseling to students’ future success and quality of life,” said Sara B. Cobb, the Endowment’s vice president for education.

The Endowment launched the Comprehensive Counseling Initiative for Indiana K-12 Students in September. Through a request for proposals, the Endowment invited Indiana’s public school corporations and charter schools to submit proposals for planning grants to help them learn more about the best practices for comprehensive counseling programs in Indiana and from around the country, evaluate their current counseling programs, and consider developing plans to enhance the quality and expand the scale of their counseling programs.

“The Endowment is committing funds to this initiative because Indiana needs to increase significantly the number of K-12 students who are emotionally healthy, can realize academic success and graduate from high school,” Cobb said.

“And Indiana’s students need to achieve valuable postsecondary credentials, certificates and degrees that are essential for meaningful employment so they can compete and prosper in the global society in which they will live and work. We continue to hear that many Indiana employers have difficulty finding workers adequately prepared for the jobs they have available.”

Across Indiana, too few schools use a best practices comprehensive counseling model to prepare their students for successful lives beyond high school, according to research conducted by the Indiana Chamber in partnership with CELL. Among the findings: school counselors are often burdened with large caseloads, which limits their ability to help students. According to the National Association of College Admission Counseling, Indiana ranks 45th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the number of K-12 students per counselor with an average of one counselor for every 620 students.

In addition, students in Indiana struggle with mental health issues at a higher rate than their peers in most other states, which jeopardizes their ability to learn and thrive. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2016 Kids Count Profile, Indiana ranks 30th in the nation in the overall well-being of children and youth. And in its 2014 Issue Brief, the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) reported that in a national survey of 43 states, Indiana ranked first in the percentage of high school students who had considered attempting suicide and second in the percentage of high school students who attempted to take their own lives.

Indiana’s current school counseling challenges are part of a larger landscape of lagging educational attainment and economic prosperity. Too many Indiana students face limited

earning potential and weak prospects for satisfying careers, which jeopardizes long-term quality of life for themselves, their families and their communities.

According to U.S. Census data, in 2014 Indiana ranked 43rd in the nation in the percentage of adults, age 25 to 64, with at least a bachelor’s degree. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2015 Indiana ranked 39th in the nation in per capita income, having slipped from 29th in the nation since 1995.

“At the Endowment, we believe that enhancing and expanding in a comprehensive way the academic, college, career, and social and emotional counseling in Indiana’s schools could help reverse Indiana’s negative trends,” Cobb said. “Addressing these challenges is critical to the future quality of life for Indiana residents.”

The full list of recipients is available here: Lilly Foundation PR