Foundation initiative allows “enrichment without constraints”

IPS music teacher Ellie Henry has been with the IPS school district for 44 years.

Some of her most gratifying moments have come since 2008, when she first partnered with IPS Education Foundation.

“The opportunities provided through the Foundation are priceless,” Ellie says. “I’ve been able to transform my classroom into a truly enriching place without constraints.”

In four years, we’ve helped Ellie fund a whopping 22 projects with our matching grants. The projects were valued at $16,000, half of which came directly from the Foundation.

She paid to have new carpet laid on the concrete floors of her classroom so that her kids could kneel comfortably while learning to play instruments.

She’s purchased essential music supplies: sheet music, a classroom keyboard, a stereo, and drum sets suited for the kindergarteners and first graders as well as the older students.

She was even able to bring in a choreographer, props and costumes to reenergize the show choir at School #67.

“Everything a teacher needs can be found through the Foundation’s initiative,” Ellie says. “My students are immersed in lessons and experiences they aren’t getting in classrooms that have not taken advantage of these grants.”

Ellie, who leads a hand bell choir, a folk dance team and two show choirs, says she now sees the fruits of her labor paying off.

“There’s always a new activity in my class, and most importantly, we’re having fun while we’re learning,” Ellie says.

A reward for her passion, our support of Ellie’s classroom has helped her grow as a teacher, too.

As an example, Ellie says that after buying a set of hand bells for her school, she went straight to a local church and enrolled in an eight-week class, later imparting her newfound knowledge to some of her 500 students.

The classroom that Ellie Henry built is just one example of how students and teachers are able to improve on our road to a brighter Indianapolis.