Earl Martin Phalen started his network of public schools to provide every student, regardless of family income or life circumstances, the opportunity to receive a great education. Today, the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation and the 2022 CFP Indianapolis Host Committee announced the makeover of a media center at one of the 24 schools in the Phalen Leadership Academies Network: James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy, a middle and high school on Indianapolis’ Far Eastside.

The school’s media center will receive books, new technology and updated furniture with funding from the CFP Foundation and Indianapolis Host Committee and support from School Specialty. The host committee unveiled the updates during a breakfast this morning to celebrate with the school staff.

Phalen Leadership Academy

“Our media center gives students an oasis where they can tap into the power of learning in a way that better prepares them for our information- and technology-driven world,” said Earl Phalen, who started the first school in the PLA Network a decade ago in Indianapolis. “We’re so grateful to the CFP Foundation, the Indianapolis Host Committee and School Specialty, whose support for our school’s media center enriches the lives of our students at James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy.”

Phalen’s mission to support every student’s success through his schools is deeply personal. His parents, George and Veronica Phalen, adopted two-year-old Earl from Massachusetts’ foster care system in 1969.

At the time, 70 percent of Black males in the state’s foster care system ended up in the state’s penal system. Earl graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School and has gone on to launch several successful nonprofit education ventures, all aimed at improving the lives of students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy encapsulates the ethos of the CFP Foundation and our local host committee partners – the importance of creating opportunity for all kids through the power of excellent teachers and other supports,” said Britton Banowsky, executive director of the CFP Foundation. “We’re pleased to contribute to their important efforts.”

It was also announced at this morning’s program that through the CFP Foundation’s partnership with ESPN Corporate Citizenship, Indianapolis-area teachers and coaches will receive professional development focused on mental health preparation using a sports-based approach, facilitated through the Doc Wayne’s Professional Development Champions Network.  This is especially important given the unprecedented challenges teachers and coaches have faced due to the pandemic. They are providing it to each of the 4 schools that received Extra Yard Makeovers in Indy.  

In support of the CFP Foundation and its mission to uplift teachers in grades K-12, the 2022 CFP Indianapolis Host Committee has committed $1.5 million of investment in legacy programming leading up to the 2022 national championship game, to be held at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, January 10.

In addition to school makeovers, the CFP Foundation and Indianapolis Host Committee are supporting resources for parents, teachers and students to navigate Digital Learning through the Indiana Learning Lab; developing efforts to attract and retain diverse teachers through Teach Indy and The Mind Trust; and partnering with the Indiana Department of Education to celebrate teachers as heroes following a difficult pandemic year.

This weekend, the CFP Foundation and Indianapolis Host Committee will honor 18 teachers from Indiana and 56 state teachers of the year from across the country who were selected to participate in the Teacher of the Year Championship Experience, presented by Eckrich. These teachers will experience a four-night stay in Indianapolis, VIP events and activities leading up to the big game, and on field recognition prior to Monday night’s national championship game.

James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy is among four Indianapolis-area schools selected for makeovers based upon need and student demographics. Victory College Prep, Southport Middle School and Garden City Elementary underwent makeovers earlier this year.


About the 2022 College Football Playoff Indianapolis Host Committee

The 2022 College Football Playoff Indianapolis Host Committee works with the CFP to promote, organize and execute the January 10, 2022, CFP National Championship and its related events in the Indianapolis community. The Indianapolis Host Committee remains committed to a seamless partnership with the CFP and stakeholders to continue making a difference in communities across the state of Indiana after the game and into the future. For more information, visit IndyFootball2022.com.

About the College Football Playoff Foundation  

The CFP Foundation is the community-engagement arm of the College Football Playoff, supporting education across the country. The CFP Foundation’s primary cause platform, Extra Yard for Teachers, is dedicated to elevating the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering teachers in four focus areas: resources, recognition, recruitment, and professional development. The CFP Foundation utilizes multiple partnerships to execute its initiatives and support positive educational outcomes. To learn more, visit cfp-foundation.org and follow Extra Yard for Teachers (@CFPExtraYard) on social media.

About School Specialty, Inc. 

With a 60-year legacy, School Specialty is a leading provider of comprehensive learning environments for the preK-12 education marketplace in the U.S. and Canada. School Specialty believes every student can flourish in an environment where they are engaged and inspired to learn and grow. In support of our vision to transform more than classrooms by improving learning outcomes and district performance, the company applies its unmatched team of subject-matter experts and designs, manufactures and distributes a broad assortment of name brand and proprietary products to deliver upon its unique value proposition – including essential classroom supplies, furniture and design services, educational technology, curriculum, supplemental learning resources, professional development, funding assistance and more.

About Indiana Learning Lab 

The Indiana Learning Lab is a personalized microlearning platform filled with readily accessible resources and lesson ideas grounded in solid instructional pedagogy. The Learning Lab is funded by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and provides teaching and learning support for educators and families. For more information, visit INLearningLab.com.