By: Kallie Sulanke, Community Engagement Officer—
Muncie, Ind. – The Community Foundation awarded $111,722 to Muncie Community Schools to provide teacher professional development. Muncie Schools used this funding to provide training in the Orton-Gillingham approach to 65 teachers and administrators and to give stipends to teachers who participated in a district-wide subscription to online training for all teachers called K-12 Boost.
The Board of Directors of The Community Foundation established the Successful Schools Fund in May 2018 following the Indiana Legislature’s landmark decision to give Ball State University control of Muncie Community Schools. The Foundation Board would use the Successful Schools Fund to support the partnership between the university and the school system with an investment of up to $200,000 over three years for professional development opportunities for certified staff. Board members, along with other community members, made personal contributions to the Successful Schools Fund. Because the fund is held at the Foundation, anyone can donate.
Foundation staff worked closely with Muncie Community Schools teachers and administrators to ensure the program meets the most pressing needs of the teachers and will have a lasting impact on students.
At the end of the 2018-2019 school years, administrators requested that a portion of the funding be directed to provide an expanded number of elementary school teachers training in Orton-Gillingham. Muncie Community Schools began training in this approach in 2017, and by 2018 a total of 28 teachers had received training to help teachers teach reading better. Orton-Gillingham is a highly structured approach that breaks reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, and then building on these skills over time. Educators use sight, hearing, touch, and movement to help students connect and learn the concepts being taught. Through the fund, 65 teachers and elementary administrators participated in paid training during the summer. Another four teachers received advanced training and are working to become certified in teaching the approach. They have begun utilizing the new approach in their classrooms this academic year.
“The funding available through the Successful Schools Fund has allowed Muncie educators to have professional development opportunities above and beyond what the district would be able to offer,” said Dr. Dea Moore-Young, Director of Elementary Education and Title 1 Administrator. “Muncie Community Schools is being strategic when connecting teachers to training. The skills they gain not only enhance the way they interact with their students but also help elevate them as professionals in their field.”
Funding will be available for teacher training from the Successful Schools Fund at least through the 2020-2021 academic year at Muncie Community School’s discretion. While the initial $200,000 investment from The Community Foundation comes from The Unrestricted Fund, contributions are welcome from anyone to the Successful Schools Fund to support the continued improvement of the transitioning school district and the partnership with Ball State University. Charitable donations may be made by contacting The Community Foundation or visiting cfmdin.org.
The Community Foundation’s purpose is to improve the quality of life in Muncie and Delaware County for this generation and generations to come. The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc. is a publicly supported philanthropic institution governed by a volunteer board of local citizens. The Foundation manages contributions donated by individuals, businesses, and corporations as a permanent community endowment. Distributions from these funds are given back to the community in the form of grants to nonprofit organizations and agencies. To date, more than $52 million has been awarded to enrich the lives of the residents of Muncie and Delaware County.