Closing the Gap Initiative

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. 

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.