In 2015, Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center (MRNC) was awarded a $2.2 million, five year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The award will support community schools strategies for students, their families, and neighbors of George Washington Community High School and its four feeder elementary schools: William Penn #49, Wendell Phillips #63, Daniel Webster #46 and Stephen Foster #67.
Anchor institutions working with MRNC and the schools on Indianapolis’ near west side include Christamore House, Hawthorne Community Center and IUPUI. They are among some 70 partners who provide an array of services that include tutoring, mentoring and academic enrichment; extended-day learning opportunities; positive youth development programs; service learning; physical and mental health supports; recreation and personal fitness; college preparation and post-secondary scholarship; career development; parent enrichment and adult learning; family assistance and financial coaching.
The grant application received wide support from a variety of local officials and organizations, including Congressman Andre Carson. “I’m proud to support Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center in its efforts to improve educational outcomes in our community. This Full-Service Community Schools award is critical to its success, ensuring that young Hoosiers have access to the social and academic support that lead to increased student achievement. I look forward to working with Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center and its partners to support their continued success,” Rep. Carson said.
This is the second U.S. Department of Education Full-Service Community Schools award to MRNC for the George Washington Community High School (GWCHS) based initiative, making MRNC only one of two recipients nationally to receive more than one award for this prestigious innovative educational initiative. The first five-year grant award of $2.4 million came in 2008, the first time USDOE awarded community schools grants.
“Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center will continue to work closely with our schools and community partners to help create the necessary conditions for learning for youth on the west side of Indianapolis. Our community schools partnerships exemplify our best community efforts to support and empower students and their families every day,” said Clark Lienemann, Executive Director of Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center.
An indication of success from the 2008 award is measured in high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment rates for recent graduates of GWCHS: 69% of GWCHS graduates in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, the latest data available, subsequently enrolled in some form of postsecondary education. As of June 2014, 63% of the 2010-2013 graduates remained in postsecondary education or had completed their course of studies. Only 7.4% of residents in the same neighborhoods, age 25 and older, has any postsecondary credential, according to U.S. Census data. Clearly, a collective focus on postsecondary education in this Indianapolis area is making a difference.