Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Betsy DeVos Awards Indiana $60M To Expand Charter Schools

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and husband Dick eat at the Eastern Hancock High School cafeteria for the annual FFA hog roast fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 during the last stop on the “Rethink School” tour. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and husband Dick eat at the Eastern Hancock High School cafeteria for the annual FFA hog roast fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 during the last stop on the “Rethink School” tour. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

Indiana will receive $59.9 million in federal funds to expand charter schools over the next five years.

Federal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the award Thursday as part of a total package of approximately $514.9 million in recommended grants for eight other states, charter management organizations, non-profit organizations and state agencies.

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Hoosier Academies Virtual Charter School To Close In June

The front door of the Hoosier Academy administrative offices and school on Far Eastside of Indianapolis at 2855 North Franklin Road. The building houses the K-12 Hoosier Academy blended learning school, Hoosier Virtual Academy, and the new Insight School of Indiana middle school. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

The front door of the Hoosier Academy administrative offices and school on Far Eastside of Indianapolis at 2855 North Franklin Road. The building houses the K-12 Hoosier Academy blended learning school, Hoosier Virtual Academy, and the new Insight School of Indiana middle school. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

The board of the chronically failing Hoosier Academies Virtual School voted Tuesday not to seek renewal of their charter, a decision that will cause the school of 2,000 students to close in June.

John Marske, Hoosier Academies board president, told WFYI News in an email Wednesday that the school had until Oct. 1 to submit a renewal application.

“Although the Board has seen evidence of significant improvement at Hoosier Virtual,” he wrote in an email, “We did not feel the academic data, available as of October 1, 2017, was sufficient to pass the rigors of a charter application process.”

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Educators, Lawmakers, Lobbyists Developing New Pathways For Graduation

A "graphic recording" of the Graduation Pathways Committee's discussion on Sept. 26, 2017, as illustrated by Mike Fleisch. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

A “graphic recording” of the Graduation Pathways Committee’s discussion on Sept. 26, 2017, as illustrated by Mike Fleisch. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

Starting next year, students will have a new way to qualify for high school graduation.

What it will be, or how many options they can choose from, is still unknown.

A committee of lawmakers, education leaders, lobbyists and others are trying to hash out new, so-called “pathways” for students to earn a diploma.

The goal is to boost vocational and academic skills in the face of the state’s skills gap in workers, and students still struggling in basic college classes.

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Applications Open For 10 Pre-K Expansion Counties

(Jen Rost/Flickr)

(Jen Rost/Flickr)

The state-funded preschool pilot program that began with five counties was expanded during the 2017 legislative session for 15 more counties. Now, parents in 10 of those counties can apply for half-year preschool.

But all low-income families applying will also have to comply with a new program requirement.

A state grant would pay for half or full day preschool for a 4-year-old child beginning next January.

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Burris Laboratory School 50th Reunion Class Gives Back To Soup Kitchen

The Soup Kitchen’s executive director is also a member of the Burris class. Loretta Parsons says she is grateful her class is raising money for the community they were raised in.

“To pick this that I am involved in is so dear to me. It just was really humbling and I’m just so appreciative of the effort they are making.”

Thirteen classmates also volunteered at the soup kitchen while they were in Muncie for the weekend, before dining at the reunion.


A Burris Laboratory School class celebrating their 50th reunion this weekend in Muncie wanted to give back to the city that educated them. As IPR’s Alexis Alicea reports, they chose a cause that is close to home for a fellow classmate.

Read more at: indianapublicradio.org

Indiana Federal Lawmakers Ask DeVos To Delay Grad Rate Change

U.S. Congressman Jim Banks, a Republican Representative for Indiana’s 3rd District, is asking U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to delay changes to the high school diploma in Indiana. (C-SPAN)

U.S. Congressman Jim Banks, a Republican Representative for Indiana’s 3rd District, is asking U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to delay changes to the high school diploma in Indiana. (C-SPAN)

Under a new federal education law thousands of Indiana diplomas known as general diplomas would no longer count for a school’s graduation rate.

As a result, Indiana could see its statewide graduation rate drop from 89 percent to 76 percent, based on 2016 data.

Now Indiana’s Congressional delegation wants the federal education department to give the state more time to prepare before that change takes effect.

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300 IPS Teachers Required To Reapply For Jobs

Principal positions are open at Arsenal Tech, Crispus Attucks, Shortridge and Washington high schools. Current school leaders have already interviewed for those jobs. They will compete with outside candidates. IPS talent officer Mindy Schlegel says 2018-19 principals will be announced in a few weeks.

Incoming principals will then determine staffing needs for their schools. Teachers will take a survey to signal their interest in available jobs at individual schools.

“We want them to focus on what is the best fit,” Schlegel says.


More than 300 teachers at seven Indianapolis high schools are required to reapply for jobs next year, after the Indianapolis Public Schools Board approved a plan Monday to close three high schools, district officials said Wednesday. The move came as part of a curriculum overhaul and after years of declining enrollment.

Read more at: www.wfyi.org

State Rep. DeLaney: Let’s Put Charter Schools In Broad Ripple High School

The IPS Board voted to close Broad Ripple Ripple and the other schools Monday night as part of a facility and curriculum overhaul they say will lead to improved academic offerings. The board also approved the start of the disposition process of Broad Ripple and John Marshall Middle School through sale or lease.

DeLaney issued a statement Tuesday again reiterating his hope the Broad Ripple community “will come together to support the use of this facility for high school education.”


State Rep. Ed DeLaney is again weighing in on the plans by Indianapolis Public Schools to close four schools, including three high schools, next year. The Indianapolis Democrat is calling for Broad Ripple High School to remain the home of some type of educational offering — possibly even charter schools.

Read more at: www.wfyi.org

Indianapolis School Board OKs Closure Of 3 High Schools

Protestors against the Indianapolis Public Schools administration's proposal to close multiple high schools rally outside the John Morton Finney Center before the final school board vote on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

Protestors against the Indianapolis Public Schools administration\’s proposal to close multiple high schools rally outside the John Morton Finney Center before the final school board vote on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

Three Indianapolis high schools and a middle school will close next year as part of a far-reaching academic overhaul approved Monday by the city school board in the face of declining enrollment.

For nearly six months the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of Commissioners held contentious public meetings to gather input on school closures. At times community members accused school administrators and the board of ignoring their concerns and the negative impact closures would have on poor, mostly black students.

The frustration continued during the board meeting. Some in attendance laughed as commissioners read statements about their votes. When Kelly Bentley explained why she was in favor of closing her alma mater Broad Ripple High School, parent Star Adita stood up and shouted: “I’m blaming you.”

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DeVos Visits Charter Schools, Hog Roast On Indiana Tour

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and husband Dick eat at the Eastern Hancock High School cafeteria for the annual FFA hog roast fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 during the last stop on the “Rethink School” tour. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and husband Dick eat at the Eastern Hancock High School cafeteria for the annual FFA hog roast fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 during the last stop on the “Rethink School” tour. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos found supporters and skeptics during a half-day trip to urban and rural Indiana schools Friday for the final day of her national back to school tour.

DeVos sought to draw attention to innovative curriculum and teaching methods at stops at charter school classrooms in Gary and Indianapolis before attended a high school football game here in rural Hancock County east of Indianapolis.

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