Engaging in Education

IUPUI programs and partnerships help K-12 students succeed

As an anchor institution, IUPUI is invested in student success, not just for our students but elementary, middle and high school students too.

We educate future teachers, provide professional development to current teachers, and partner with schools and school systems to improve learning in the classroom. We also improve academic attainment, prepare students for higher education and interest students in new career paths through camps, competitions, tutoring and mentoring and college preparation programs. 

Here we highlight examples of these engagements and their successes.

Apple.png  Preparing and developing teachers

This map highlights some of IUPUI's community partnerships involving K-12 education. To learn more about where we are involved, visit our Story Map.  

Building strong partnerships with local schools

​Students training to become teachers, counselors and social workers spend significant time at more than 200 schools across the region thanks to partnerships the IU School of Education at IUPUI and IU School of Social Work at IUPUI have developed over the years.

These placements give teachers the community-based experience needed to prepare them for careers in education and work to best support students and families in their communities.

Engaging family as educators of special education teachers

“Family as Faculty,” a project by Dr. Cristina Santamaría Graff, assistant professor with the School of Education, positions family members and community resources as key stakeholders in the training of future special education teachers.

She brings family members into her classroom to guide future teachers in taking a student-centered approach in their teaching.


Improving cultural competency in schools

The School of Education works with multiple schools across the region on professional development for local teachers.

In 2020, the School of Education was awarded a nearly $500,000 state grant to provide cultural competency training and support for over 300 schools. The work will further the School of Education’s mission to promote equitable, just, culturally relevant and sustaining practices in teaching and learning.

Graduation cap.png  College and career preparation 

Preparing students for college and beyond

IUPUI schools and departments offer programs geared toward helping local youth prepare for college and their future careers.

These programs give students a chance to take college classes while still in high school, spend time in a college setting, and learn what will be expected of them as students at IUPUI or another college.

iDEW was what started me on that path, it got me the mentors I needed, they told me what college would be like, taught me skills to talk to people, and I met other students like me.

Rebekah Holcomb, IUPUI sophomore

Starting preparation early

Upward Bound is a progam at IUPUI designed to bridge the gap between high school and college. Since 2013, the program has boasted a 100 percent graduation rate from its participants.

Through the program, first-generation college students at three Indianapolis high schools -- Arsenal Technical, Warren Central, and Emerich Manual -- are provided support services to help them prepare for college.

Students can receive one-on-one mentoring and tutoring, visit colleges and universities, volunteer, meet other students, learn leadership skills, explore career opportunities and get the information they need for applying for financial aid and to get into the college they want.

Opportunities include a summer academy, field trips to museums and theaters, leadership programs, events with nationally-known speakers, workshops and job shadowing.

Scholars working in the Near West community

Fugate Scholars are IUPUI students who work in George Washington High School making college-related presentations. They also spend time in the community, translating for events and helping families prepare for college, including filling out financial aid paperwork.

The program was created in 2006 and is named after Daniel Fugate, an advocate in the Near West neighborhood. The program is coordinated by IUPUI, but led by community partners IPS, George Washington High School, and Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center. 


Supporting students through tutoring and mentoring

Indiana Kids is a statewide mentoring and tutoring program that serves thousands of students in grades 6 - 12 each school year. The program is offered at IU campuses across the state and is staffed by college students.

Students can get tutoring or mentoring online or on the phone, can meet face-to-face, and in on-campus events. The program also offers workshops for parents, focused on helping them prepare their students for college and beyond.

Engaging students in academic competition

IUPUI hosts or sponsors multiple academic competitions for local students. Students can earn scholarships, gain experience, and move on to higher level competitions.

Those competitions include:


Summer camps and programs

Using literacy to educate and engage

In 2018, Tambra Jackson, interim dean of the School of Education, and Leslie Etienne, interim director of the Africana Studies program in the School of Liberal Arts, partnered with Indianapolis Public Schools to establish an Indianapolis Freedom School.

Freedom Schools are summer programs created by the Children's Defense Fund to use literacy to educate and engage children. Through them, K-8 students read books meant to reflect their life experiences and discuss social issues.

Connecting with the Latino community

Mapping Education Towards Achievement, or META, is open to college-bound Latino/Hispanic high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Students participate in two career path sessions presented by Latino professionals and hear how their high school and college education contributed to their success. META participants can also receive information about higher education admissions, financial aid, and scholarships, as well as immigration law.

On-campus experiences for children of all ages

Every summer, multiple summer camps are hosted on the IUPUI campus, bringing in hundreds of students and families.

Students spend the summer exploring campus, gaining new skills, learning about future careers - including in the STEM fields - and improving themselves.

Explore all our camp options!

School house.png  Partnerships with schools

An ongoing partnership

IUPUI and Indianapolis Public Schools have a longstanding partnership to work together on key issues impacting K - 12 education.

This partnership touches dozens of schools and thousands of students through tutoring and mentoring, scholarships, college and career readiness, and STEM-focused programs.


60+activities with IPS schools

62.7%of IPS schools have a relationship with IUPUI

Bridge to business school

The IUPUI Office of Community Engagement and Kelley School of Business at IUPUI partnered with IPS to build a pipeline for students interested in the school of business, including a summer program focused on entrepreneurship.

The partnership was recently awarded a three-year Governor's Workforce grant and a 2020 Summer Youth Program Fund grant to fund the Entrepreneurship Camps in two high schools this year, and funding to host the Camp in all four IPS high schools for two years after. 


Supporting Near West students

Since 2006, Dollars for Scholars, a scholarship program created in partnership with IUPUI, has given $350,000 to graduates of George Washington Community High School in the Near West.

But the program does much more than just scholarships, and focuses on connecting graduates with the resources they need to be successful. The program has provided a way for the Near West community to rally around and support its students.

Read more about the program.

I graduated with no student loan debt, and I am really grateful for that. Coming from a family with no money, it changed my life.

Ashé West, IUPUI Class of 2017

IUPUI has a long history with IPS through Community Schools, which partner schools with community agencies, families and local government to provide needed services and resources.

This partnership has been ongoing for years in the city, especially in the Near West and Martindale-Brightwood neighborhoods. These partnerships, facilitated through Community Schools, support neighborhoods to better utilize the assets available to them in meeting community needs.

Leroy Robinson, Indianapolis City-County Council member, discusses community schools at an Indiana Afterschool Network Summit co-sponsored by IUPUI in the Indiana Convention Center.