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From the Desk of the Chancellor, Nov. 15, 2010

Chancellor Charles R. Bantz
Chancellor Charles R. Bantz View print-quality image

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November 15, 2010

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IUPUI’s Community Learning Network just received a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant that will create three full-service community schools in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood of Indianapolis. Full-service schools offer education, nutrition, health services, counseling, tutoring, mentoring, recreation, and social skills development. Such wrap-around services necessarily require the collaboration of university and community partners, including Indianapolis Public Schools. The strategy builds on IUPUI’s commitment to collaboration and to serving as an anchor institution.

This large federal grant reflects the confidence placed in IUPUI’s lengthy experience with the full-service schools concept. Beginning in 1992, Bridges to Success, a collaboration between United Way of Central Indiana and Indianapolis Public Schools, began. Bridges to Success was a starting point for IUPUI’s involvement in full-service community schools and remains an important part of United Way's “Ready to Learn, Ready to Earn” community priority.

In 1994, our Schools of Education, Nursing, and Social Work at IUPUI teamed up as the “Better Together Working Group” to provide interprofessional services at four Indianapolis public schools. IUPUI’s Center for Service and Learning joined the effort to coordinate placements in the schools for service learning classes, student voluntarism, America Reads, and AmeriCorps.

In 1995, the former Washington High School on the near westside of campus closed, leaving the neighborhood without a public school in operation. Because schools are often the only public institutions in struggling low-income neighborhoods, schools affect the lives of children and their families profoundly. Yet, they cannot address all the needs alone. Health, education, and human service programs must be integrated into the schools, and this must have broad university, community, and family support sustained over time. IUPUI immediately began working with the Westside Cooperative Organization, parents, community leaders, teachers, and administrators on restoring a neighborhood school and succeeded when the George Washington Community School came back to life in 2000.

In addition to providing services in the schools, IUPUI has helped measure performance, which increases the body of knowledge for all community partners involved as to best practices. This, in turn, leads to increased support and resources for further progress, such as this new federal grant.

We are proud of the cross-campus collaboration behind the full-service schools concept. In addition to the Community Learning Network and the dynamic trio of the IU Schools of Education, Nursing, and Social Work at IUPUI, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, the Polis Center, and the IUPUI Office of Neighborhood Partnerships contributed to the work that won us this grant.

The Martindale Brightwood Alliance for Educational Success shows that IUPUI is indeed an anchor institution that can leverage partnerships to make a real impact on community needs.

Comments? Write chancllr@iupui.edu.