Apply for Innovation Grants Today!

The Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY), with support from the United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI), is awarding Innovation Grants up to $20,000 to school-community partnerships as part of our Closing the Gap Initiative.

Applications are due July 1, 2024 by 5:00 PM Eastern.

Upcoming Events

Innovation Masterclass

Learn how schools and community partners can work together to develop innovative approaches to address complex challenges impacting youth. 

Join us for an Innovation Masterclass to:

  • Gain self awareness on how you work and your creative problem-solving process
  • Create your toolkit of new strategic problem-solving tools, skills, and resources
  • Build your capacity to work with other organizations and partners

Walk away with the courage to be creative when it comes to solving sticky problems in your community.

Save the Date for the Closing the Gap Symposium: 9.12.24
Closing the Gap Symposium

Save the date and come back at the end of July to register for the Closing the Gap Symposium! It will be held September 12, 2024.

About Closing the Gap

We know young people thrive with support from their families, schools, and community services. Marion County has a wealth of resources for families and youth, but we need a network connecting our young people to community resources in the setting where they spend the most time: school. We’re working together to start a movement that will build stronger school-community partnerships.

Sign up below to receive updates and opportunities to join the movement and build community-school partnerships for a stronger support system in our community.

About the Closing the Gap Report

Closing the Gap Between School & Community Partnerships || An assessment of schools in Indianapolis 2021 is a comprehensive, research-based analysis of barriers to student success and recommended solutions we can address together.

Our children spend a significant amount of time in school – and success in school sets the foundation for successful careers and contribution to our communities. However, in recent decades, we have seen what the disinvestment to public education has done to individual schools and school systems. The past year, during the
Covid-19 global pandemic, schools have faced even more challenges, navigating school closures, virtual learning, and hybrid models. Research clearly connects multiple external factors and academic success. 

We know young people thrive with support from their families, schools, and community services. Marion County has a wealth of resources for families and youth, but we need a network connecting our young people to community resources in the setting where they spend the most time: school. We’re working together to start a movement that will build stronger school-community partnerships.

Key take-aways from the Closing the Gap Report:
Recommendations of the Closing the Gap Report

Social and emotional health plays a critical role in the classroom by providing students with a foundation for
safe and positive learning and enhancing students’ abilities to succeed in school, careers, and life.

Across the various methods we collected information for our assessment, family engagement was a preeminent topic. Each of our key informant interviews identified family support and engagement as a critical component to student success. 

Community schools ground their work in research about promoting student success, including family engagement, out-of-school time experiences, student wellness, and family stability.
Through this model – schools, families, and communities collaborate to support students’ educational success,
build stronger families, and improve communities.

Educators do not need a study to recognize the importance of investing in education. They see the effects of underfunding every day. The same cannot always be said for policymakers. In 2017, then U.S. Secretary of
Education Betsy DeVos suggested that additional funding for schools would not make a big difference in
education outcomes. Multiple studies over the years indicate the opposite.

Taking Action

Researchers outline four categories of school capacity: human capital, social capital, program coherence, and resources. All four categories are enhanced through the investment of funding.

Schools across the country face similar challenges. Disinvestment in K-12 funding since the 2008 recession has affected school inputs such as teacher salaries and student resources while also significantly impacting outcomes such as academic achievement and opportunity.

School districts and communities do not compete for this revenue equally. Communities with higher socioeconomic populations generate more tax revenue for schools to benefit from, while lower-income communities generate a smaller tax base for schools to access.

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Thanks to United Way of Central Indiana for their generous support of the Closing the Gap initiative!