Delta High School To Receive $190,000 for Early College Mentoring Role

Delta High School. Photo by: Mike RhodesDelta High School. Photo by: Mike Rhodes

By: Chris Conley, Principal of Delta High School & Reece Mann, Superintendent of Del-Com Schools—

Muncie, IN—Delta High School will receive $190,000 in grant funding over the next five years to mentor other high schools beginning Early College programs as part of an award given to the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis. CELL is the recipient of a $7.9 million grant as part of the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

CELL will establish a Rural Early College Network (RECN) to help rural Indiana schools more quickly implement the Early College (EC) high school model. EC targets underserved students and allows them to earn both high school diplomas and up to two years of credits toward bachelor or associate degrees through rigorous dual credit classes supported by wrap-around services.

“Early College High Schools like Delta High School that have already earned endorsement as highly effective programs will be key to helping to accelerate EC implementation in new schools similar to their own. The project will offer rural students, many from poverty or first generation college students, opportunities to take rigorous college-level classes while in high school in supportive environments that help ensure their success,” said CELL Executive Director Janet Boyle. “Another anticipated outcome is the establishment of model rural Early College high school sites and a template for fostering additional high-quality EC programs serving even more students throughout Indiana.”

Spread over five years, the grant funding through CELL’s leadership will support faster implementation of the EC model by networking new schools with mentor schools. Five endorsed EC schools will follow a tiered process and eventually mentor 15 new schools. That network will grow the number of high-need students to 3,725 who will benefit from a EC jump-start on postsecondary and also gain confidence through counseling and supports to successfully continue into postsecondary and careers.

Each mentor school will receive $190,000 over five years, and each new school in the initial tier will receive $150,000 over that period. Schools will use funding for credentialing staff to teach dual credit courses, professional development, student supports, program resources and travel to required meetings. CELL will contribute a 10 percent match ($877,380) of the total cost of the project with the grant providing 90 percent of the total or $7,963,436.

About CELL:

The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis provides leadership that is both cutting-edge and action-oriented. Created in 2001, CELL unites districts, schools, communities, universities and businesses to build a sense of urgency and form innovative collaborations for statewide educational and economic improvement. CELL currently has a network of 90 high schools across the state trained in the Early College model and in varying degrees of implementation. Thirty-one schools have earned the distinction of being named fully endorsed Early College high schools. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has authorized CELL as the sole organization to train, support and endorse Early College schools in Indiana. Learn more at or contact Janet Boyle at

About the Grant:

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced $123 million in new grant awards to 41 school districts, nonprofit organizations and state educational agencies across the United States as part of the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program. These grants provide funding to create, implement, or take to scale an evidence-based innovation to improve academic achievement for high-need students and for a rigorous evaluation so that others may learn from its results.

In addition to promoting innovation generally, the awards include over $30 million to eight grantees serving rural areas and over $78 million to 29 grantees focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

The EIR program is authorized under Section 4611 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, and is administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

About the University of Indianapolis

The University of Indianapolis, founded in 1902, is a private university located just a few minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The University is ranked among the top National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a diverse enrollment of nearly 6,000 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students. The University offers a wide variety of study areas, including 100+ undergraduate degrees, more than 40 master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs. More occupational therapists, physical therapists and clinical psychologists graduate from the University each year than any other state institution. With strong programs in engineering, business and education, the University of Indianapolis impacts its community by living its motto, “Education for Service.” Learn more: