FILE - STEM education

(The Center Square) — The Indiana Department of Education rewarded 12 school corporations for making significant academic progress in 2022 with grants of $4.21 million in federal funds.

Awards were based on achievement in STEM, early reading, work-based learning and postsecondary credential completion, including CTE credentials, and improving academic achievement among targeted student populations.

Funding was taken from Indiana’s $3-billion share of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, a federal grant created under the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act in 2020 and later increased through the $2.3 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan of 2021. 

Awards were presented at a gala played host to by Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner in Indianapolis, which was attended by 400 educators and guests. The event also recognized the 10 finalists for the 2022 Indiana Teacher of the Year, Indiana’s 2021 Milken Educator and the school corporation and teacher who were most engaged with the Indiana Learning Lab.

“Indiana’s educators bring passion and energy to classrooms across the state – and it’s important that we celebrate them with that same passion and energy,” Jenner said Tuesday in a statement. 

The amount of funds awarded was based on the number of students in each school or corporation. Grants may be used only to continue or expand successful programming, support the teachers who lead the work, or mentor other schools in adopting best educational practices.

Excellence in STEM Award of $250,000 was given to West Lafayette Jr/Sr High School, West Lafayette School Corporation. 

Excellence in Leading and Learning Award of $425,000 was given to Randolph Eastern School Corporation. 

Excellence in Leading and Learning Award of $5,000 went Emily Batton of North Liberty Elementary School in the  John Glenn School Corporation. This award was funded by the 2022 College Football Playoff Indianapolis Host Committee. 

Excellence in Early Literacy Awards were given to Tri-Township Consolidated School Corporation, $160,000; Eman Schools, $170,000 and Pleasant View Elementary School, Zionsville Community Schools, $410,000.

Excellence in Crossing the Finish Line award of $500,000 were given to Elkhart High School, Elkhart Community Schools and to Hammond Area Career Center, School City of Hammond for achieving the greatest access and credential completion rates for students through the Crossing the Finish Line initiative through Ivy Tech Community College (Elkhart) and Vincennes University (Hammond). 

Excellence in Work-Based Learning of $310,000 was granted to Heritage Jr./Sr. High School, East Allen County Schools. 

Excellence in Academic Gains awards went to Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation, $500,000, East Gibson School Corporation, $375,000, Paramount Englewood, $105,000 and Western School Corporation, $500,000. This award recognized schools making academic progress among students who are Black or Hispanic, enrolled in special education, whose primary language is not English or are from low-income households.