INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment Inc. has approved grants to 52 Indiana public school corporations and five Indiana charter schools to help them implement promising strategies to strengthen school counseling programs for their students. The grants – ranging from $68,312 to $2.87 million – are part of the Endowment’s Comprehensive Counseling Initiative for Indiana K-12 Students (Counseling Initiative). Launched in September 2016, the five-year initiative is designed to encourage the state’s public school corporations and charter schools to aspire to and eventually develop best practice comprehensive counseling models that effectively address the academic, college, career, and social and emotional counseling needs of their students. Schools in 30 of Indiana’s 92 counties will benefit from the grants. The schools serve some 250,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12. Grant amounts were based on the student enrollment of the school corporation or charter school.
The school corporations and charter schools will use the grants to launch a variety of efforts that include, among other strategies:
- Collaborating with mental health care providers to address their students’ social and emotional challenges;
- Pursuing novel ways to engage local businesses in preparing students for a range of employment opportunities, including developing mentoring and internship programs and planning industry information sessions and site visits to local companies;
- Implementing a comprehensive counseling model developed by the American School Counselor Association;
- Making better use of digital tools and adding and integrating curricula for college and career exploration and preparation;
- Providing professional development to teachers, counselors and administrators so they can identify and address the social and emotional needs of students to improve overall student wellbeing;
- Partnering with colleges and universities to offer college counseling, financial aid assistance, campus visits and related programs.
In January 2017, the Endowment made planning grants to 284 school corporations and charter schools across Indiana to help them assess the counseling needs of their students, study best practice counseling programs in Indiana and around the country, and develop implementation grant proposals for funding to help them address their students’ counseling needs more effectively. In May 2017, 254 school corporations and charter schools submitted implementation grant proposals totaling nearly $90 million. A large majority of the proposals noted that schools are overwhelmed by the social and emotional challenges their students face, which they indicated have worsened in recent years because of the opioid addiction crisis affecting Indiana communities. They report that too often counselors don’t have the time they need for academic and college and career advising because they must address their students’ urgent social and emotional challenges. Moreover, too many counselors are assigned non-counseling work in their schools, such as administering state tests, assessments and Advanced Placement exams, which takes away time from the performance of their counseling responsibilities. “The response from school corporations and charter schools far exceeded the Endowment’s expectations,” said Sara B. Cobb, the Endowment’s vice president for education. “We believe that this response demonstrates a growing awareness that enhanced and expanded counseling programs are urgently needed to address the academic, college, career, and social and emotional counseling needs of Indiana’s K-12 students. We were most pleased to see how the schools engaged a wide variety of community stakeholders in assessing their students’ counseling needs and developing strategies to address them.” Some School Districts Working Together In five Indiana counties, school corporations submitted collaborative proposals. The Endowment was impressed with their interest in working together to leverage resources and community partnerships and is awarding implementation grants to 22 school corporations working in the five groups.
- Elkhart County Collaborative Program with seven school corporations: Baugo Community Schools, Concord Community Schools, Elkhart Community Schools, Fairfield Community Schools, Goshen Community Schools, Middlebury Community Schools and WaNee Community Schools
- Grant County Collaborative Program with five school corporations: Eastbrook Community Schools, Madison-Grant United School Corporation, Marion Community Schools, Mississinewa Community Schools and Oak Hill United School Corporation
Round Two of Funding Available Due to the significant number of implementation grant proposals the Endowment received, the grant adjudication process became quite competitive, and several proposals with many positive aspects therefore were not approved. Because of the compelling need for enhanced and expanded counseling programs across the state and the potential for impact represented by several proposals that were not approved, the Endowment is making available a second competitive round of implementation grants under the Counseling Initiative. Up to $10 million in grants will be available, and any Indiana public school corporation or charter school that did not receive an implementation grant in the first round of the Counseling Initiative will be eligible to apply. Guidelines for the second round will be available in October, and the Endowment plans to offer informational sessions about the second round later this fall. As with the first round, school corporations and charter schools will be able to apply for grants of up to $100 per student enrolled in their schools. Those with enrollments of 1,000 students or fewer will be able to request up to $100,000 even though that amount exceeds $100 per student. School corporations and charter schools must submit new or revised proposals to the Endowment by March 15, 2018. “Because the implementation grant process was so competitive, the Endowment had to decline several proposals that had many promising features,” Cobb said. “We believe that with a few enhancements, many of these proposals will be very competitive in the second round of the Counseling Initiative.” Universities to Strengthen Training for Counselors, Principals Through the Counseling Initiative, the Endowment also offered to help Indiana colleges and universities enhance their counselor preparation and principal preparation programs to prepare future counselors and principals better to address the academic, college, career, and social and emotional needs of Indiana’s K-12 students. Earlier this year, the Endowment made 19 planning grants to colleges and universities to help them explore potential improvements to their counselor and principal preparation programs and prepare implementation grant proposals. In the competitive implementation grant phase, the Endowment approved seven implementation grants for six Indiana universities as follows:
- Ball State University, the University of Indianapolis and Oakland City University will each receive grants of $150,000 to enhance their principal preparation programs.
- Ball State University, Indiana State University, Indiana University-Southeast and Indiana Wesleyan University will each receive grants of $200,000 to enhance their counselor preparation programs.
Warsaw Community Schools was awarded a $701,100 grant, its largest Iily Endowment Grant to date, to further efforts in improving students' social-emotional wellness. About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family -- J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli -- through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.