The number of teens working a part-time job has dropped significantly since the late 1990s. Education experts say a part-time job can give students a competitive edge when it comes to college admissions, but they’re also expected to volunteer, participate in clubs, and more, all while keeping their grades up.
Standing in front of the Distressed Unit Appeals Board in Indianapolis, Administrator Assistance founder Steve Wittenauer praised the administration at Muncie Community Schools for already making some significant cuts to staffing. But he says that will have to continue.
“They did a lot of the heavy lifting. We’re probably to the point now where it’s going to become more painful because staffing reductions are still in order,” Wittenauer says. “But they were very, very successful in their staffing reductions. And certainly closing those three buildings had an impact.”
Members of a State Board of Education committee tasked with proposing new ways for students to qualify for graduation began sketching their plan Tuesday.
There’s still a lot for the dozen-plus members to sort out before their last meeting next month.
But a list of nine alternative ways students could become eligible for a diploma has begun to take shape. It includes: earning industry-recognized credentials; passing the military entrance exam plus enlisting; and work-based learning with job experience.
“We came a long way today, I hope you agree,” says state board member Byron Ernest, who is leading the committee. “But we’ve got a long way to go.”
Students are currently required to pass math and English end of course exam to graduate with a Core 40 or Honors diploma.
Children at the East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy school learned how to test air, water, and soil samples for lead Tuesday with help from the NAACP.
The school sits right across the street from the USS Lead Superfund site, a federal toxic waste clean-up site contaminated with lead and arsenic.
Principal Veronica Eskew says the lead testing let her students take ownership over how lead poisoning affects them.
“Giving them the opportunity to have a voice, to have a better understanding of what is happening in their environment, was heart-stopping for me,” she says.
“The board is undertaking a thorough review of its district leadership and believes that its action today will enable it to complete this review more quickly and in a manner that respects the confidentiality of its employees’ personnel matters,” Spanenberg said at the start of a work session at the district office. “Because of these confidentiality concerns, the board will not make further comment on this until it has finished its review.”
Three years ago School 103 on the Far Eastside was struggling, more than most city schools. Few students were learning at grade level and the state would soon consider intervention.
In response, Indianapolis Public Schools Board used a new law that allows struggling schools to contract with a charter school company and run independently of district policies. The board has ultimate oversight of the schools.
School 103’s new manager, Phalen Leadership Academies, was given freedom to remake the school’s curriculum and set staff expectations without a union-negotiated contract.
State lawmakers want to figure out how to identify and help school corporations before they fall into financial distress.
Monday a study committee heard about possible ways to evaluate a district’s income and debt.
The state’s Legislative Services Agency, a bipartisan legal analysis group, offered different indicators and methods to analyze those indicators, such as outstanding bond debt and income, to figure out if a district is fiscally sound or trending into trouble.
The analysis, the LSA report says, could be used as an early warning system for school corporations that may be heading toward financial distress.
The report found that 40 percent of public school corporations operate with deficits. The largest deficit found is 34 percent of the district’s total expenditures.
The State Board of Education approved school A-F grades for the 2016-2017 school year Wednesday. It reports an increase in the number of schools receiving As and fewer receiving Bs.
Yet the overall percent of schools that received As and Bs is the nearly the same as last year.
State Superintendent Jeniffer McCormick warned that “celebrating” the continued high number of top tier schools would be premature. Next year Indiana schools will face a change in accountability due to new federal education policy.
Farm-to-table restaurateur Kimbal Musk, brother of Tesla founder Elon Musk, is a quarter of the way to his goal of establishing 100 “learning gardens” at Indianapolis schools to fight obesity and related health threats.
“Today, kids see food either as coming from a McDonald’s box or out of plastic wrap,” Musk says. “They have no idea that it actually comes out of the ground. And by exposing kids to the growing of a carrot, and all they see is a little green sprout – and when they pull a carrot out – it’s like a magic trick,” he smiles.
Fewer than half of Indiana’s public school districts are participating in a free lead testing program, according to Jim McGoff, environmental programs director at the Indiana Finance Authority.
The IFA created the voluntary program after lead contamination in places such as Flint, Michigan, and East Chicago, Indiana, rose to national prominence.