Talent Initiative awards $2 Million+ in professional development grants

Northeast Indiana Fund Trust Initiative logo.

News release from the Talent Initiative:

Talent Initiative Awards Over $2 Million in Professional Development Grants to Regional Educators

(March 29, 2011) – The Talent Initiative is leading the way to Northeast Indiana’s success in project-based learning (PBL) and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by announcing today that it will award $2,073,200.00 in professional development grants for educators across the 11-county region.

“The realization of these grants will establish Northeast Indiana as one of the nation’s leading regions in the development of PBL,” said Talent Initiative Director Leonard Helfrich. “And by aligning with the Buck Institute for Education-the nation’s premier provider of professional development PBL instruction-we are ensuring the quality of professional development provided in our region will be unparalleled.”

The purpose of the grants is to effectively fund programs with a focus on professional development of educators and community leaders in PBL, with a high priority on STEM. Recipients are required to implement the training in classrooms and provide proof of and commitment to sustainability after the term of the grants.

These programs will directly affect over 1,100 educators from 24 school districts; eight institutions of higher education; and three additional regionally-focused educational organizations-Region 8 ESC; Northeast Indiana Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (NISTEM); and Science Central.


Grants Awarded Include:

Region 8 Education Service Center Consortium*, received $1,181,900 for implementation of PBL in regional school districts. The consortium, comprised of nine separate grants that combine to create one common program, will train 770 regional educators from 20 separate school districts in PBL 101 provided by the Buck Institute for Education. PBL 101 is made up of three-day training sessions during the summer, and two-day follow-ups conducted by certified BIE trainers during the school year. Consortium partners will also establish a regional PBL Summer Institute to provide Northeast Indiana teachers the opportunity to meet, hear speakers, and engage in additional PBL-specific professional development.

Beyond the initial training, the Region 8 Consortium has committed to implementation by providing coach training to 35 educators from regional school districts to supplement two newly created full-time roving regional coach positions. These coaches supply ongoing support to any educator trained under this program. Region 8 ESC is also engaging the Center for Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis to conduct significant research on the impact of coaches on the implementation of PBL in the classroom. Furthermore, faculty from Manchester College will create curriculum specific to PBL as well as develop evaluation techniques focused on PBL and in line with new State standards.

*Consortium partners include: Adams Central Community Schools, North Adams Community Schools, East Allen County Schools, DeKalb County Eastern Community School District, Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community Schools, DeKalb County Central United School District, Eastbrook Community School Corporation, Oak Hill United School Corporation, Lakeland School Corporation, Prairie Heights Community School Corporation, East Noble School Corporation, Fremont Community Schools, Manchester Community Schools, MSD Wabash County Schools, Wabash City Schools, MSD Bluffton-Harrison, Whitley County Consolidated Schools, Smith-Green Community Schools.

Trine University, received $251,000 to create and staff a Center for Excellence in Project Based Learning (CEPBL) in the Franks School of Education. The CEPBL will serve as a model classroom for regional teachers to experience ideal PBL facilities. Additionally, the newly created Director position will train with the Buck Institute for Education and will plan training events, summer workshops, and professional development opportunities for faculty.

Fort Wayne Community Schools, received $150,000 to contract with the Buck Institute for Education for PBL 101 training and the related materials. A total of 315 educators will be trained at FWCS, representing 80% of all high school teachers and 100% of all LEAD teachers.

Huntington County Community School Corporation, received $144,000 to contract with the Buck Institute for Education to train 35 educators from HCCSC and Huntington University in PBL 101 and to certify 9 educators from those institutions as BIE certified PBL trainers. Additionally, 64 educators from HHCSC and Huntington University, including 10 high school advisors, will engage in STEM related externships with local employers.

University of Saint Francis, received $116,000 to train educators from USF, Adams Central Community Schools and regional Catholic Schools in PBL 101 provided by BIE, and to engage in significant curriculum development in STEM and PBL to institutionalize PBL in both K-12 and higher education.

IPFW College of Education and Public Policy, received $104,600 to institutionalize PBL pedagogy within the College. IPFW CEPP will engage BIE for PBL 101 trainings for 35 of its faculty, as well as for custom training related to higher education. CEPP will also develop units of PBL training for pre-service teachers and principals/other supervisors, and will conduct research through a partnership with BIE into the efficacy of PBL instruction in higher ed.

Indiana Tech, received $50,000 to develop two-day summer PBL workshops for current K-12 teachers, and Indiana Tech education students, and to offer scholarships for the graduate credits awarded upon completion of the workshop.

Ivy Tech Northeast, received $47,000 to contract with the American Society of Materials to provide a weeklong Material Sciences Camp to train teachers how to teach Materials Science-themed projects in their classrooms. Stipends for participating teachers are also furnished by this grant.

Concordia Lutheran High School, received $16,000 to train teachers in PBL and STEM at Trine University over two years.

Lutheran Schools Partnership, received $12,700 to host four STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Camps in the summer of 2011 at two regional Lutheran Middle Schools for up to 24 students per camp.


Click here to download a map illustrating the disbursement of grants by county.

For more information on the Talent Initiative grant program, please visit the Talent Made Here website.

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