Grants Awarded- Spring 2016



Artlink, Inc.

  • Awarded – $5,000
  • The purpose of the grant request is to support their Art Club initiative. A grant award would help expand this program to the Renaissance Pointe YMCA, continue serving current partners, and develop more robust curriculums – specifically Portfolio Development. Art Club targets middle-school-aged students.  Art Club expose teens to careers in the arts, facilitate relationships with professional artists in the community, develop an art-making practice, and teach them relevant art-making skills. Often a career in the visual arts does not seem realistic to teens or parents.  They may forgo any consideration on the subject based on the “starving artist” stereotype.  Art Club puts professional artists in contact with underserved youth to show them they can make a living using their creative inclinations.  It offers an 8-hour out-of-school-time arts program at different locations around the area at no cost to the teens.  Teaching and visiting artists explore visual literacies, technical skills, and career options in the visual arts.  At the completion of each 8-hour program, Artlink holds an exhibition of youth artwork in conjunction with regularly scheduled exhibitions in its gallery.  The creative economy demands individuals who have cognitive, social, and innovative problem solving skills.  The graphic novel curriculum is unique in that it teaches students to make comics using their own words and images – in order to make a career or living in the arts, one must become a creator of content themselves.  Art education exercises creative problem-solving, self-expression, individuality, value, and self-esteem.  They are partnering with University of Saint Francis Media Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts Program (META), a program that pairs university students with community agencies and businesses.  META students will assist Artlink in developing Art Club Outreach through curriculum development, curriculum packaging, brand development, and creating a product made from student work.



East Allen County Schools (EACS)

  • Awarded – $80,000

The purpose of the grant request is to support the intense Depth of Knowledge (DOK) training for EACS teachers and administrators.  The goal of this training is to create DOK activities that will be embedded into curriculum bundles for teachers to utilize so that students will develop/enhance critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in college and careers.  EACS serves 9,348 students in PK-12.    Schools include East Allen Alternative, East Allen University (partnership with Vincennes University), Heritage, Leo, New Haven Paul Harding, Prince Chapman Academy, and Woodlan. DOK can help teachers categorize tasks according to the complexity of thinking required to successfully complete them.  DOK also helps teachers learn better instruction.  In most areas, ISEP+ scores are increasing.  They believe the implementation (which began in 2010) of their written core curriculum is one of the reasons that their student skills are trending upward.  These bundles are on-line and accessible to teachers to use during instructional time.  Bundles are reviewed annually and updates based on Indiana current standards as well as information from teachers and administrators.  With this training, DOK activities will be identified by teachers and the bundled curriculum will be updated for the 2016/17 school year.

DOK has 4 Levels:  (1) Recall & Reproduction; (2) Skills & Concepts; (3) Strategic Thinking & Reasoning; and (4) Extended Thinking. 100 of their 558 teachers will attend the training.  After the overview training, the 57-60 teachers will work in groups with colleagues in grades K-6, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12 obtaining  40-hours intensive training to develop the DOK activities in the curriculum bundles for use with students.


Indiana Tech

  • Awarded –$25,000

The purpose of this request is to support the IN Tech 2016 Build & Learn School STEM Camp that will impact young learners in the fields of STEM: science, technology, engineering and math.  The overarching goal of this program is to improve STEM education among young people in NE IN.  Schwab Foundation funded this camp in 2014.  Prior year campers came away with a much better understanding of what engineering is all about and what it might take to become an engineer.  The 2016 Camp will run June 20th – June 24th.  The Camp will support 30 young people who will attend a weeklong STEM summer camp for middle school students that have completed sixth, seventh, or eighth grade.  Students who attend the camp will receive instruction from university professors and will also have the opportunity to apply the skills learned in the classroom to hands-on projects. Students will design a model electric car and engage in soldering circuitry within the design, work with a computer-aided drawing and design system, and apply general physics concepts. This camp will hopefully inspire students to pursue further education and careers in STEM.  IN Tech was founded in 1930 as an engineering school and is now celebrating its 85th anniversary.  It is deeply rooted in the fields of STEM. Research has shown that there is an increasing demand for individuals with an education in the STEM fields.  It has shown that by 2018, 1 in 20 global jobs will be STEM-related – an estimated 2.8 million jobs in total.  Over 90% of those opportunities will require secondary degrees, and over 2/3 will require a bachelor’s degree.  The Camp offers increasing knowledge and use of basic math skills, group project completion during camp activities, and most importantly introducing possible first-generation college students to university life.  Students will spend the day interacting with professors while working in college laboratories, and touring the Indiana Tech campus.



Region 8 Education Service Center (Fiscal Sponsor) for Making Possibilities for Students of NE IN

  • Awarded – $65,000

The purpose of the grant request is to support Makerspace concepts in education to schools across Indiana including hardware, professional development, and ongoing collaboration.  This program will support current and past STEM and Project Based Learning (PBL) efforts in the region.  Estimated students served will be 5000-15,000 students plus 240-260 teachers over fifty of the Region 8 member school districts and beyond. Initially, the population served would include students and teachers in districts that make up the Region 8 Education Service Center area – the counties of Adams, Allen, Blackford, DeKalb, Grant, Huntington, Jay, Madison, Noble, North Miami, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley.  It also serves public, private and parochial schools.

Makerspaces in schools is an offshoot of the popular Makerspace movement taking place across the country, allowing students to develop skills important to college and career readiness which include deep understanding, entrepreneurship, technology, computational thinking, innovation, metacognition, and design thinking.  A Makerspace can be provided during the school day or as an afterschool program.  The program will allow creation of spaces in schools across NE IN that includes resources, tools, and text-based library.  These spaces may be individual classrooms, in libraries, or in existing unused areas.  A curriculum and resource website will be built.  Leaders of the project will engage community support through industry, government and business.  Through Region 8, Professional Development for educators will be held to learn how to build and sustain a Makerspace in their school.  Components of a Makerspace can include robotics, coding and app development, electronics and components, computational thinking, architecture, 3D printing and modeling, artistic expression, scientific practice and theory, mathematics, and entrepreneurship.  A major portion of the grant will include in-servicing and providing professional development to educators, building a collection of resources that can be loaned to districts, providing a collaborative and informational website that will connect Makers in education across NE Indiana, building a network and partnership between business, nonprofits, government, and education to support, sustain, and grow the initiative while planning for future possibilities.

The internet and rise of digital tools has taken the time away for kids to take things apart to see how they work.  While schools in NE IN have some pockets promoting this concept, it appears that the region is a step behind the nation based on conventions that include Maker presentations. Allowing kids to be makers opens the doors to learning that is personalized, authentic, and can allow for passion that builds a necessary college and career pathway.  It will also open up the possibilities of various STEM careers found in NE IN


South West Allen County  Schools (SACS)

  • Awarded – $35,000

The purpose of the grant request is to continue to support SWAC digitize their curriculum while incorporating College and Career Readiness as a key strand in preparing their graduates after secondary education.  The grant would serve over 3,900 secondary students and their parents in the construction of an e-Four Year Plan and e-portfolio along with benefiting from College and Career planning embedded within the classroom and Advisory. SACS secondary teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors continue to grow and increase their capacity to assist ALL students in realizing their postsecondary opportunities.  Success is based on digital technology and blended learning along with their practice of providing small, safe, and successful learning environments for all students.  Students experience a culture built on relevant professional development, 21st Century Skills embedded throughout the curriculum, college and career conversations,  a web-based college and career planning tool and an e-four year plan and e-portfolio.  Highlights from continuing programs include: (1) middle school advisory program increased the frequency of advisory meetings from weekly to 4 per week; (2) High School Advisory more than double along with an Advisory Design Team Retreat; (3) Held an 8th Grade Parent Night to discuss transition to high school and a 9th Grade Orientation Day for 500 students;(4) Held a 9th Grade PSAT Day with advisory activities designed to provide guidance driven expectations and information for increasing college and career readiness; (5) Continued to build out the Region 8 College and Career 5 Attributes Development Program and (6) Continued professional development for small groups of teachers providing tools, support and training to strengthen new content, skills, and curriculum development in order to increase student college and career readiness.  They are committed to ensuring all SACS students are on the path to college and career readiness and will graduate from high school without the need for remediation.  


Junior Achieement of Northern Indiana

  • Awarded – $75,000


The purpose of this request is to support 3rd year funding of their additional career readiness aspects to current JA programs:

(1) add career informational info-graphic worksheets to JA In A Day program curriculum;

(2) continue to provide real-life career simulations and the Schwab Career Center at JA BizTown;

(3) provide JA Finance Park experiences;

(4) add the “What’s Next?” A JA Career Exploration Magazine” to JA Economics for Success and JA Career Success programs;

(5) provide a career essay competition for Economics for Success students; and

(6) develop a career essay project, with an award of a job shadow opportunity, for Career Success students.


JA teaches career readiness and financial literacy skills to students in kindergarten through 12th grade.  Currently JA runs a JA in a Day program at the elementary and middle school levels, reaching >5,000 students each year.  About half of these JA in a Day events are adopted by a local business or company where they introduce and expose business and career concepts.

  • JA BizTown provides each year >8,400 5th & 6th grade students with an opportunity to experience a wide array of potential careers.  The Schwab Career Center provides information and resource information.
  • JA Finance Park is attended by 9,700 students annually and teaches them how to make financial decisions through site-based experiences.  They receive the What’s Next: A JA Career Exploration Magazine.
  •  JA 7th grade program, JA Economics for Success, reaches 3,200 students and guides them as they explore education and career options.  JA’s goal is to create and introduce a simplified, age appropriate version of the locally created “What’s Next:  A JA Career Exploration Magazine.”  Additionally, these 7th grade students will be given the opportunity to participate in a career essay project, which will encourage their research and career planning efforts.
  • JA Career Success program equips high school freshman by outlining many career readiness skills such as resume creation, interviewing, and job-hunting tools.


Northeast Indiana Foundation d.b.a. Northeast Indiana Fund

  • Awarded –$65,000

The purpose of this request is to support 3rd year funding of their Strengths-based Career Coaching Grant.  The NE IN Regional Partnership, through the Northeast Indiana Fund, provides the backbone support to the area’s Big Goal Collaborative initiative.  Perhaps the most critical pillar of Vision 2020 is 21st Century Talent with its key priority, the Big Goal that aims at ensuring that 60% of NE IN residents have a high quality degree or credential by the year 2015.  The Big Goal has efforts along the entire cradle-to-career continuum, including projects focused on improving 3rd grade reading and middle school math scores, increasing the number of high school students receiving high quality credentials in manufacturing, and increasing the number of high school senior able to access college by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  Alone these efforts have merit.  However, the Partnership shares the opinion of the Schwab Foundation that students need to connect directly to career opportunities/pathways to truly reach their full economic and societal potential.  Therefore, another key strategy for achieving the Big Goal is to connect students to careers in the region.

Barriers to connecting students to careers include lack of understanding of careers by educators, lack of understanding by students, and lack of soft skills among high school graduates. The Regional Partnership’s Strengths-based coaching effort (based on Gallup’s Clifton StrengthsFinder) seeks to overcome these three critical barriers by connecting the region’s New Tech high school students to Strengths-based coaching from both educators and community/business leaders.

2015, the second year of the project, focused on training and assessment.  During the first week of February 2015, three Partnership staff members traveled to Omaha, NE to be trained as Gallup Strengths Coaches.  Additionally, during the first week of March, the Partnership brought Gallup employees to Fort Wayne for Northeast Indiana’s first dedicated Strengths Coaching training. Regional participants included ten representatives from the region’s six New Tech High Schools, and one representative from each of ten different regional employers representing the defense/aerospace, advanced manufacturing, medical device, healthcare, specialty insurance, and private equity industries throughout Northeast Indiana. This training is the first of its kind for the region. To date:

  • Twenty three coaches were trained in 2015 by representatives of the Gallup Organization. More than half have gone on to complete certification.
  • Gallup is working directly with Coaches that have not completed certification to help them achieve that milestone.
  • Nearly 500 students have completed the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment and received some form of training. The majority of student trainings have occurred in the schools, with coaching provided by the trained staff members.

The schools that have committed to this project have now had time to integrate and embed Strengths coaching into the culture and pedagogy of their schools. Strengths-based career coaching is major priority for their efforts to reach the Big Goal, as they move into 2016. They will assess more students, provide trainings to more coaches, and emphasize connections and sustainability.   Early 2016 activities are focused on creating a regional Strengths-coach network, to help ensure sustainability beyond the term of the grant funding.

The Partnership will convene a regional strengths coaching network that will include:

  • Quarterly coaching network events
  • Peer-to-peer best practice discussions/presentations
  • Monthly webinars
  • Opportunities for additional employer input, and additional coaching from Partnership staff coaches


In addition, they expect that 5-10 additional community coaches will be trained by Gallup in 2016. In total, at the completion of this three year project, they expect that nearly 2,000 students will have been assessed, and that roughly 30 Strengths Coaches will be trained and providing strengths coaching to students and employees from throughout the region


Region 8 Educational Service Center – College & Career Attribute Development Program

  • Awarded – $100,000

The Schwab Foundation has been funding this project for two years.  The purpose of the grant request is to continue for the 3rd year to help schools create more college and career ready students by using The College and Career Attribute Development Program.  Region 8 serves counties in NE IN including Allen, Huntington, Whitley, DeKalb and Noble.  This program focuses on 6th to 12th grade students.  They have been achieving success with 6 schools  where each has a plan focused on the 5 attributes of a college and career ready student: (1) Know; (2) Connect (3) Select; (4) Plan; and (5) Go.  Participating schools will develop a school to career program that is firmly embedded in the school culture.  Schools participating are South Adams, Adams Central, Columbia City, Homestead, and East Allen Alternative.  Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, and Science Central are involved. This program has gotten each of the high schools to participate in National Student Clearinghouse.  This information is needed to help high schools to be more involved in the work of increasing the educational attainment for their region and to help build a culture of promoting college enrollment, persistence and completion.   Schools are establishing student advisories which are small learning communities/experiences in which a group of 18-24 students are paired with a teacher daily or weekly to provide structure to the program and ensure that all students will be college and career ready.  Student led conferences have been very successful with 2,380 held.  The student leads the conversation with 1 parent and an advisor at the school.  The student must report their strengths, connect their strengths to a current career interest, indicate what school or training they would need to pursue, identify the cost and how they will pay for the course of study.  One of the major parts of the program are quarterly sessions where all the schools have an opportunity to learn from each other (the schools further ahead mentor the others), discuss technical tools and how to use them to their fullest.  Schools are using surveys for students to focus on 5 attributes,  having college fairs,  are using Career Explorer where students have their individual college plans, starting home room mentoring time, starting college and career readiness class where they study for SAT and meet with people with college level to help students with transition issues.