Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

What Going On With Busing At Muncie Community Schools?

(WFIU/WTIU)

(WFIU/WTIU)

School was back in session on Monday, after Muncie Community Schools canceled the second and third day of school last week. The district, which was designated as a “fiscally impaired school corporation” and put under probationary state control, experienced widespread bus route problems with its new bus company.

As part of the school district’s cost-cutting measures, it chose Auxilio Services over long-time local bus service M&M Bus Company to save the district $1.2 million a year.

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Tens Of Thousands More Women And Minorities Are Taking Computer Science

U.S. high schools got a high-tech update this past school year. Not by federal fiat or by state law, but largely at the hand of independent nonprofits, including one founded by twin brothers less than five years ago.

The College Board last fall introduced a new course and exam called AP Computer Science Principles. Eight years in the planning, it was the largest such course launch in history. While the existing AP Computer Science course focuses on the Java programming language, the new course is billed as a creative exploration of real-world problems. It’s designed to appeal to people who might have assumed that computers were not for them.

And in that sense, it’s working.


U.S. high schools got a high-tech update this past school year. Not by federal fiat or by state law, but largely at the hand of independent nonprofits, including one founded by twin brothers less than five years ago. The College Board last fall introduced a new course and exam called AP Computer Science Principles.

Read more at: www.npr.org

Report: One-Third Of Indiana Students Graduate 4-Year College On Time

On-time rates at four-year campuses have improved by about 10 percentage points over five years, while two-year campuses improved by about 6 percentage points. (Source: Indiana Commission For Higher Education)

On time rates at four-year campuses have improved by about 10 percentage points over five years, while two-year campuses improved by about 6 percentage points. (Source: Indiana Commission For Higher Education)

New data from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education shows students are completing college sooner than in years past. But completion rates for minority students are still behind those of their white classmates.

Overall, 1 in 3 Indiana college students graduates on-time.

At four-year campuses, rates have increased about 10 percent in the past five years. Now, 51 percent of students at those institutions graduate on time, according to the 2017 Indiana College Completion Report.

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Healthcare Partnership Aims To Help Children With Autism

Health insurance giant Anthem is partnering with Easterseals Crossroads to launch a new program to support children with autism and their families.  (Photo Credit: Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)

Health insurance giant Anthem is partnering with Easterseals Crossroads to launch a new program to support children with autism and their families. (Photo credit: Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)

Finding the right doctor or medical services for children can be hard. Finding those same services for children with autism can be even more difficult.

“In the autism world there can be long waits for services, there tend to be limited resources and difficulty accessing services that are needed,” says Tracy Gale, director of autism and behavior services at Easterseals Crossroads, the largest disability services organization in Indianapolis. “It can be very overwhelming for families.”

A new partnership hopes to change that. Health insurance giant Anthem is partnering with Easterseals Crossroads to launch a new program to support children with autism and their families.

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Florida Company Named As Gary Schools Emergency Manager

A Florida group, MGT Consulting, will oversee Gary Community Schools in an attempt to turnaround the district. (Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)

A Florida group, MGT Consulting, will oversee Gary Community Schools in an attempt to turnaround the district. (Rachel Morello/StateImpact Indiana)

The Indiana Distressed Unit Appeals Board has named MGT Consulting, of Tallahassee, Florida, as emergency manager of the struggling Gary Community School Corporation in northwest Indiana.

The Gary school system has long struggled with money management, loss of students to charter and other district schools, and even its ability to pay teachers on time. A state law passed earlier this year required the DUAB to appoint a manager for Gary schools.

The firm will be tasked with helping the district manage a $110 million debt and assist the district moving forward. Gary Native Peggy Hinkley, of Scherville, will lead MGT Consulting with that task. She will have near-total control to introduce academic and financial changes, renegotiate teacher contracts and run Gary’s schools.

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Report: Work Requirement Makes Indiana Lag Behind In Pre-K Access

According to state law, to be eligible for state-funded pre-K, a parent needs to be working or attending school within 30 days of the program’s start.  (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

According to state law, to be eligible for state-funded pre-K, a parent needs to be working or attending school within 30 days of the program’s start. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Indiana lags far behind other states in providing families access to state-funded pre-K programs, according to a new study of Indiana’s pre-K offerings. The analysis finds Indiana, the only state that ties a family’s pre-K eligibility to work and education requirements, limits participation for children who may be most in need.

The report from Early Learning Indiana, a preschool advocacy organization, says the requirement ends up “penalizing” children whose parents may not be able to work due to struggles with “addiction, mental health issues, housing instability, domestic violence and chronic illness.”

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Welcome To The Summer Camp For Kids Impacted By HIV

The Tataya Mato week at Indianapolis' Jameson Camp is a free sleepaway camp for children impacted by HIV/AIDS. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

The Tataya Mato week at Indianapolis’ Jameson Camp is a free sleepaway camp for children impacted by HIV/AIDS. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

It’s a sleep away camp. It’s free. And once a summer the Jameson Camp in Indianapolis hosts a session for campers with this in common: Either they or a family member have HIV/AIDS.

The goal? Use summer camp to help children process their struggles with the disease.

The unique camp session began in 1995. At the time, HIV and AIDS were so loaded with stigma, people wouldn’t talk about it. Even within their own families.

“Some of the kids would sit in the car and their parent would tell them what was going on,” says Brad Higgins, site manager at Jameson Camp, fighting back tears.

Higgins has been a groundskeeper at Jameson for 20 years. He says some kids may have never known their family member had HIV.

But the camp has always had this rule: Campers need to know why they’re here – that either they or someone they’re close to is directly impacted by the disease.

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Seven IPS High School Students Immersed In Cancer Research

(Leigh DeNoon/WFYI News)

(Leigh DeNoon/WFYI News)

In an IU School of Medicine pathology lab, Shortridge High School student Isaac Carrera Ochoa is at a microscope looking for specific cancer biomarkers to be used in immunotherapy cancer treatment. Ochoa is searching for a biomarker called VISTA.

“I have studied 19 cases and only two seemed positive,” Ochoa says.

Professor Dr. George Sandusky, Ochoa’s mentor, says the work of these high schoolers is having a tangible impact on patient lives.

“We’re right on the cutting edge here because several people do get immunotherapy when they come from regional and outlying hospitals,” Sandusky says.

Sandusky says immunotherapy uses the patient’s own body to fight the cancer instead of radiation and chemotherapy – though immunotherapy may be used in tandem with the other treatments.

He says this kind of hands-on experience has a lasting impact on the students. Sandusky recently learned a participant from several years ago is now at the IU School of Medicine.

Ochoa says his cancer research this summer is especially meaningful because he has a relative being treated for breast cancer.

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Are Helicopter Parents Ruining Summer Camp?

In a wired world, summer camp is one of the last phone-free zones. But campers, staff and especially parents don’t always appreciate the message. The NPR Ed team investigates.


“It beeped in the envelope. That’s how we knew.” Leslie Conrad is the director of Clemson Outdoor Lab in Pendleton, S.C., which runs several different camps during the summer. Clemson bans cellphones and other electronic devices for campers. That makes sense.

Read more at: www.npr.org

Bill Collector To Target IPS Families For Unpaid Textbook Fees

A range of text book fees at Indianapolis Public Schools for the 2016-17 school year.

A range of text book fees at Indianapolis Public Schools for the 2016-17 school year. (photo credit: Indianapolis Public Schools)

Families in Indianapolis Public Schools who have not paid textbook rental fees will soon be hearing from a collection agency.

The IPS Board voted unanimously Thursday to hire a company to collect on the outstanding bills.

More than 3,000 IPS parents have delinquent textbook fees from last school year. That has left more than a half million dollar deficit for the district, officials say.

More than 5,500 bills were sent for the 2016-17 year for a total of $846,221 in textbook rental fees. But as of this month, 3,213 parents had not paid last year’s fee leaving a deficit of $550,693.

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