Return to Headlines

PLA for the Win! Organization Delivers on its Promise as Scholars Outperform Local Schools

Phalen Leadership Academies (PLA) is a school turnaround operator currently working to improve achievement in 14 schools across the country—with the largest cluster of schools in Indiana. The schools and scholars have been working to master each lesson and to improve their overall academic performance. This years’ ISTEP results show they did just that with all four PLA Indy schools outperforming local peers.

“I am excited for our schools, our scholars, and our families, " said PLA Founder and CEO, Earl Martin Phalen. “The results show that PLA scholars are continuing to improve, and this will expand their options in the future." Our scholars experienced great academic growth that speaks to PLA’s commitment to teacher quality, evidence-based curriculum, academic excellence, and care about the whole child. It’s also just a testament to the hard work of all of our scholars, faculty, and staff."

student working in the class

Per results released this week, 66% of Phalen scholars demonstrated proficiency in English and 62% demonstrated proficiency in math. In some cases, PLA scholars outperform their peers in academic proficiency by more than 50%.

According to reports, across the state, fewer students in grades 3-8 passed both exams in 2018 than in 2015, students of color, students from low-income families, and English-learners collectively lost more ground compared to their peers. This is Phalen Leadership Academies’ core demographic, but its students were able to excel and show major growth.

“We work every day in schools to close the achievement gap—to narrow that opportunity gap,” said Phalen. “We are aware of what the statistics show and know that many of our children are fighting against some tough odds. But we believe in our scholars and focus on creating great schools and great learning experiences that will help them excel. That’s what our organization is about.”

This is the last year for ISTEP, but Phalen says the schools will continue to strive for even greater improvements. PLA’s letter grade results will be released mid-November.


PLA scores showing 66% scolar proficiency in English and 62% proficiency in math,