Topics: Teachers College, Burris

June 4, 2021

Teacher with Children

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced this week that it has awarded Ball State University’s Teachers College a $2.9 million grant to fund COVID-19 student learning recovery programs.

The wide-ranging project will serve students in Muncie Community Schools, the Indiana Academy, Burris Laboratory School, and Inspire Academy.

“We are grateful to the Indiana Department of Education for recognizing Ball State University’s ability to work with our community partners to accelerate student learning this Summer and beyond,” said Dr. Anand R. Marri, dean of Ball State’s Teachers College. “This grant will fund a multi-pronged, culturally responsive, and collaborative approach for learning recovery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In April, Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and IDOE announced the state’s new Student Learning Recovery Grant Program. In all, more than $122 million in state grant funds is being awarded to 110 community partners and schools across the state.

As part of these awards, schools will work with IDOE to track student outcomes and monitor the return on investment in order to elevate local success stories. They will also help others develop plans to maximize student learning in light of the COVID-19 disruption.

Local programs being led by Ball State will include summer learning opportunities, professional learning for teachers to build capacity for literacy, math, and game-based learning instruction, individual tutoring, and community engagement opportunities.

“Culturally responsive practices and data-based decision making will be embedded throughout each aspect of the project,” Marri said. “It’s also critically important to address the needs of our local teachers, as lifetime learning is a key imperative of Ball State’s strategic plan.”

The project is being led by Ball State’s Dr. Kendra Lowery, assistant dean of school engagement, and Dr. Ai-Chu Ding, assistant professor of educational technology, who are serving as co-principal investigators. Several other faculty members from Ball State’s Teachers College and College of Sciences and Humanities are also serving on the University’s team for the project.

Local school partners include Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, CEO, Muncie Community Schools; Abigail Comber, Assistant Principal, Burris Laboratory School; Dain Kavars, Executive Director, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities; and Leslie Draper, Executive Director, Inspire Academy.

Community partners for the project include WaTasha Barnes Griffin, CEO of YWCA Central Indiana and member of the board of trustees at Muncie Community Schools; Jacqueline Hanoman, Director, Ross Community Center; and Ken Hudson, Executive Director, Whitely Community Council.

Marri said he was also grateful for Augusta Isley, senior proposal manager in Ball State’s Sponsored Projects Administration, who facilitated the grant application process.