Interim Dean Tambra Jackson and Professor Annela Teemant at the IUPUI School of Education have been awarded a $498,308 grant from the Indiana Department of Education to provide cultural competency training and support for over 300 schools in Indiana. The work supported by the grant will further the School of Education’s mission to promote equitable, just, culturally relevant and sustaining practices in teaching and learning.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for the IUPUI School of Education to have statewide impact and assist schools to enact social justice practices that result in positive and equitable outcomes for students,” says Jackson.
The grant is a response to the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a national education law that governs K-12 education policy. ESSA works to ensure states provide all children with equal access to a high-quality education. ESSA does so, in part, by requiring states to hold schools accountable for student outcomes and by identifying schools to receive comprehensive, additional targeted, or targeted support and improvement (CSI, ATS, or TSI respectively) if their students, including historically underserved student groups, struggle to succeed. Under ESSA, a school must develop an improvement plan if that school has a consistently underperforming group of students (e.g., African Americans, students designated as English Learners, students with disabilities, or from low income families, etc). States and districts are responsible for improving the quality and effectiveness of teachers, principals, and other school leaders in increasing student academic achievement.
The two-year grant awarded to the IUPUI School of Education provides TSI schools with four strands of professional learning focused on creating equitable learning environments for all children.
In addition to Jackson and Teemant, the core grant team is comprised of School of Education professors Cristina Santamaria Graff, Cleveland Hayes, Lasana Kazembe, Gina Yoder, and Les Etienne. The team’s cumulative academic, professional, and personal experiences demonstrate a longitudinal understanding of and experience with addressing issues of equity at the school and district levels for culturally, linguistically, economically, and learning diverse student populations.