Indiana Awards $4.2 Million in School Improvement Grants

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) awarded three Indiana schools the Federal Title 1 School Improvement Grant (SIG) 1003(g) aimed at turning around the state’s lowest performing schools. Dr. Bernard C. Watson Academy for Boys in Gary Community School Corporation, Fountain Square Academy in Indianapolis and the 21st Century Charter School in Gary were selected from a group of ten applicants. If performance renewal criteria are met, funds will be awarded to the schools over a three-year period.

“To provide all students the quality educational opportunities they deserve, we must push for dramatic and effective change in our lowest performing schools,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett said. “These school communities have demonstrated a willingness to work with local stakeholders to implement carefully developed improvement plans that will drive positive results for students.”

The Title 1 SIG goals set forth by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) include the following:

  • Identifying and serving the lowest-achieving Title I schools in each state Supporting only the most rigorous interventions that hold the promise of producing rapid improvements in student achievement and school culture Providing sufficient resources over several years to implement those interventions Measuring progress in achieving results

  • To be eligible, the ED requires applicants to adopt one of four models: turnaround, transformational, restart or closure. In addition to adopting one of these bold reform models, selected schools were also required to gain support from their local school boards and teachers’ unions.

Fountain Square Academy will receive $1,112,147 in federal SIG funds and will adopt the transformational model. The 21st Century Charter School in Gary will receive $1,243,239 and will also adopt the transformational model.

Finally, the Dr. Bernard C. Watson Academy for Boys in Gary Community School Corporation will receive $1,915,461 and adopt the turnaround model. The transformational model focuses on creating a new evaluation system to identify and reward great teachers and build a stronger team of educators throughout the building. The turnaround model focuses on creating a new governance structure for the school and recruiting educators who are uniquely qualified to meet the needs of students.

For more information on Indiana’s school turnaround efforts, go to To view ED’s school improvement page, please visit