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E-Learning fund launches in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — A group of local organizations has launched the Indianapolis E-Learning Fund. With an initial $2.6 million investment, which will be managed by the city’s Office of Education Innovation, the fund aims to support teachers, students and families in the community as they transition to e-learning due to schools being closed for the remainder of the academic year.

Officials say the fund will focus on four key areas.

The first is technology access. The fund will provide support for traditional public, public charter, and innovation network schools to address short-term needs for accessing devices and internet connectivity among students from low-income families and those who live in areas with unreliable access or limited broadband capacity.

The fund will also support the development of a county-wide e-learning strategy to identify immediate and long-term needs. It will also support the development of a county-wide strategy for social-emotional learning needs for students while at home and when they transition back to in-class learning.

Lastly, organizers say the fund will support the launch of a statewide e-learning lab. The lab will provide a platform for sharing best practices with all schools, as well as professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators. Additionally, the lab will equip students and families with tools for the “successful implementation of remote learning.”

“Not all students have access to devices or reliable internet connectivity,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, chief executive officer of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “The Indianapolis E-Learning Fund will help address acute short-term needs not covered by federal stimulus funds and will also support the development of a longer-term e-learning strategy.”

The city says the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee will serve as the fiscal agent for the fund and a committee of education and community leaders in Marion County will advise on funding allocations. The committee members include:

  • 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

The founding funding partners in the initiative include the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Eli Lilly and Co. 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.

You can learn more about the fund by clicking here.