CELL at UIndy

Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning


Created in 2001, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis has generated more than $40 million in funding while serving as the leading convener, catalyst and collaborator for dynamic, innovative education change to dramatically impact student achievement throughout Indiana.

  • Today CELL continues to improve educational opportunities for Indiana’s students through teacher and principal preparation, research and evaluation, school transformation, and leadership development.
  • February 2018 – Over 100 Indiana schools are at some stage of implementing Early College High Schools with 15 earning endorsement as “high effective.”
  • October 2016 – CELL provides technical assistance to schools across state in the Lilly Endowment Comprehensive Counseling Initiative.
  • March 2014 – CELL is among just three recipients nationwide of this year’s TAP Award of Distinction, which honors organizations for their dedication and commitment to advancing the effectiveness of educators.
  • March 2013 – The Indiana Commission for Higher Education recognizes CELL as the organization that it will rely on to determine the status of a school as an Early College High School in Indiana through CELL’s endorsement process.
  • August 2013 – CELL, as a partner in the Indiana Collaborative for Project Based Learning, coordinates a teacher PBL Certification designed to validate authentic project based learning in the classroom. The IDOE is a strong supporter and proponent of PBL in Indiana classrooms, and State Superintendent Glenda Ritz awarded the PBL Certificates to the inaugural group of recipients.
  • November 2012 – CELL partners with the Indiana Education Roundtable partners in the creation of the Education Workforce Innovation Network (EWIN), a statewide effort to align education offerings with regional economic opportunities.
  • March 2012 – West Goshen Elementary, an Indiana TAP school, receives a national “TAP School of Promise” award for its outstanding implementation of the TAP system.
  • January 2012 – The Indiana Commission for Higher Education contracts with CELL to launch “Core to College,” a national initiative connecting higher education institutions with K-12 schools to improve student achievement, graduation rates, and college- and career-readiness.
  • November 2011 – Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard formally proclaims November 14–15 as “CELL days” to honor the Center’s 10th anniversary and issue thanks for its continued support of education.
  • October 2011 – CELL, in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education and Commission for Higher Education, launch the “IB Experience” – a student-led event to support International Baccalaureate programs.
  • September 2010 – The Indiana Department of Education appoints CELL to lead TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement in 44 schools across the state.
  • August 2010 – CELL concludes its highly successful High School-to-College Transition project and releases two policy briefs.
  • December 2009 – The New Tech Network announces its selection of National Demonstration sites for the New Technology High School model. Indiana hosts six sites, more than any other state in the nation.
  • November 2009 – CELL receives funding through 2014 from Lilly Endowment to continue and expand its education transformation initiatives across Indiana.
  • November 2009 – CELL’s annual conference reaches a milestone – five years of bringing school, community and business leaders together to improve Indiana’s educational opportunities.
  • June 2009 – CELL, in partnership with IUPUI and M.S.D. of Wayne Township host the state’s first PBL Institute.
  • March 2009 – KnowledgeWorks Foundation awards $10 million to New Technology Foundation to support the national expansion of the New Tech model. The announcement was made in conjunction with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels because of the state’s emergence as a national leader for New Tech growth.
  • October 2008 – CELL launches a statewide Early College High School evaluation program to identify program benchmarks and endorse model schools. Ben Davis University High School, Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School and Stonegate Early College High School became the first endorsed Early College programs in the state.
  • August 2008 – The number of Early College High Schools in Indiana reaches 20, all of which were developed through the work of CELL.
  • August 2008 – Three additional New Technology High Schools open as part of the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation, Monroe County Community School Corporation, and North Daviess Community Schools.
  • May 2008 – Indiana’s first class of Early College High School students graduate from Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, a school that received start-up funding from CELL. All 12 students were accepted into four-year colleges and universities.
  • April 2008 – CELL receives additional funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. to expand its statewide efforts in supporting education transformation, leadership development and innovative school designs.
  • August 2007 – With the help of CELL, Indiana’s first three New Technology High Schools open within the districts of Indianapolis Public Schools, M.S.D. of Decatur Township, and Rochester Community Schools
  • January 2007 – CELL launches the Indiana High School-to-College Transition Project, a three-year policy study, funded by Lumina Foundation for Education, to promote Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual credit programs to break down barriers between high school and college.
  • September 2006 – Reaching the significant milestone of opening 10 new small high schools in Indianapolis, CELL exceeds grant expectations by providing funding and technical assistance to an additional 10 schools currently in the planning stages to open in 2007 and beyond.
  • September 2006 – CELL announces the award of an additional $2.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide professional development opportunities and school coaching to IPS administrators and teachers.
  • November 2005 – Taking the education transformation work statewide, CELL launches the first annual Indiana’s Future conference drawing more than 450 school, community and business leaders from across Indiana.
  • Fall 2004 – Vanderbilt University selects the University of Indianapolis to partner on a national study examining school choice.  The selection is an indication of how CELL’s school evaluation work is viewed nationally.  The study continues through 2009.
  • June 2004 – Recognizing the need for strong leaders to impact change in classrooms, schools, and throughout the profession, the School of Education launches the Educational Leadership program to provide new leaders with experience in curriculum, instruction, and school leadership to help ensure every Indiana child achieves academic success.
  • May 2004 – The Life Sciences Initiative is launched.  In partnership with BioCrossroads and with seed capital from the Lumina Foundation for Education, CELL works to facilitate the creation of a plan to transform and strengthen science education in Indiana.
  • Fall 2003 – CELL awards a series of university-based grants designed to foster innovative K-16 partnerships.  The Parents as Scholars program is one example of the success of this funding.
  • May 13, 2003 – CELL announces the award of an $11.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to transform existing large high schools into small schools and establish new small high schools over the next five years.  The initiative is launched in October 2003 and the first grant recipients are announced on January 19, 2004.
  • Fall 2002 – CELL enters into a contract with the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office to develop an accountability plan for charter schools.  The model becomes nationally recognized for excellence.
  • Fall 2002 – The School of Education offers the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program designed for career changers wanting to become secondary school teachers.  CELL funds scholarships for MAT students and awards a grant for the Beginning Teacher Support program to support MAT graduates in their first years of teaching.
  • Fall 2002 – CELL outgrows its campus space and moves to Downtown Indianapolis.  CELL returns to campus on September 12, 2005, to the newly renovated Esch Hall, a state-of-the-art facility serving as the university’s “front door,” a welcoming portal for the entire community.
  • August 9, 2001 – The University of Indianapolis announces the award of a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant in the amount of nearly $15 million to pioneer an innovative leadership center to help reshape K-12 education in Indiana.
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