Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

College Financial Aid Deadline Is April 15 In Indiana

FAFSA reminder from the U.S. Department of Education. (Department of Education)

FAFSA reminder from the U.S. Department of Education. (Department of Education)

This Saturday is the deadline for Indiana students to fill out their application for college financial aid, including the federal Pell Grant.

To receive financial aid for college, students must complete the FAFSA — that’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“Every prospective college student—whether they’re a high school senior or a returning adult—should complete the FAFSA,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said.

Students in Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program will lose their scholarship if they don’t submit it on-time.

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So-Called ‘Prayer In Schools’ Bill Sent To Indiana Gov. Holcomb

The Indiana Statehouse. (Brandon Smith/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

The Indiana Statehouse. (Brandon Smith/Indiana Public Broadcasting)” credit=”

Bipartisan legislation that seeks to protect religious freedom for students has been sent to Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The bill by Indianapolis Democratic Rep. John Bartlett says traditional public and charter schools can not discriminate against students or parents because of their religious beliefs. It also asserts students’ right to wear religious clothing and express their beliefs in class writings.

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Bill To Make State Superintendent A Political Appointee In Limbo

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says any changes to the superintendent bill will mean its defeat in the Senate. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says any changes to the superintendent bill will mean its defeat in the Senate. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)” credit=”

Legislation making the state schools superintendent an appointed position is in limbo as the House weighs its options.

The Senate earlier this session defeated a bill to make the Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed, rather than elected position beginning in 2021. The House approved its own, identical version.

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School Explores Benefits Of Teaching With Music

kids in gym1

Students at Tindley Genesis Academy in Indianapolis participate in the morning meeting, which blends songs, chants and dancing. Music is at the center of all curriculum at the school. (photo credit: Steve Burns/WTIU)

From the parking lot at Tindley Genesis Academy in Indianapolis – you can hear music.

Outside of the school, it’s a dull thumping, but once you enter the front door, drumming, shrieking and synchronized chanting greets you – before the secretary has a chance to say hello.

It’s coming from the gym.

Second through fourth grade classes stand on the sidelines of the basketball court, drumming, dancing and taking turns singing their class chants.

“This is our morning meeting that we have every morning, and our students get together, we celebrate together,” says Principal Todd Hawks. “Right now we’re hearing class chants, so every class is named after a college or university, so it’s the different cohorts between our schools doing their class chat.”

In addition to the class chants, teachers step into the center of the circle and share academic and emotional achievements of their students. At the end, Principal Todd Hawks leads the students in affirmations, giving encouragement for the day.

“Ambition,” Hawks yells out to the students.

“Ambition,” they respond.

“Is wanting,” he calls.

“Is wanting,” they return.

“To succeed!”

“To succeed!”

It’s not just the morning meeting – students have music class four days a week.

“They’re learning world drumming, piano, performing arts skills that teach them life skills, and how to read and write music,” Hawks says.

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Indiana Lawmakers Eye Pulling Test Scores From Teacher Evaluations

As Indiana lawmakers work to create a new standardized test, many indicate they'd be open to removing student test scores from teacher evaluations. (Jessie/Flickr)

As Indiana lawmakers work to create a new standardized test, many indicate they’d be open to removing student test scores from teacher evaluations. (Jessie/Flickr)

In a potentially dramatic shift in Indiana education policy, lawmakers could opt to remove standardized test results from teacher evaluations.

At a Wednesday meeting, a bipartisan committee of lawmakers set out to craft the future of Indiana standardized testing and replace the state’s much-derided ISTEP+ exam.

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Muncie Schools Propose Own Plan To Solve Debt And Keep State Away

Indiana lawmakers are considering a measure which would annually notify teachers of their right to change representation, if union membership drops below 50 percent at a school. (chancadoodle/Flickr)

Muncie Schools are included in a bill that would allow the state to help solve the district’s debt. At a school board meeting Tuesday, the superintendent proposed an alternate plan to address the debt, in hopes of keeping state involvement at bay. (photo credit: chancadoodle/Flickr)

School district officials in Muncie hope a locally-crafted debt reduction plan will convince state lawmakers to remove them from a bill that would let the state take over control of the district’s financial crisis. The plan presented Tuesday night closes several schools, but doesn’t zero out that debt.

Muncie Community Schools Superintendent Steven Baule told a large crowd at Tuesday’s school board meeting that he isn’t just worried about being taken over by the state.

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Study: Black Students More Likely To Graduate With Just One Black Teacher

A new study indicates a teacher's race  can influences whether black students are likely to graduate high school. (Pexels)

A new study indicates a teacher’s race can influences whether black students are likely to graduate high school. (Pexels)

There’s a new study out, and it’s findings are big: Black students who have just one black teacher in elementary school are less likely to drop out and are significantly more likely to graduate high school.

It’s been making the rounds in the education world – the Washington Post and NPR and others have written about – and caught our eye, too. Here we sit down with one of the study’s authors.

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Indy School For Immigrants, Refugees Grows Bigger By The Day

Students in Andy Slater’s science class start the morning by playing a word game. Students jump up to move to an open seat if they agree with what the standing student says – sort of like musical chairs. (Eric Weddle/WFYI)

Students in Andy Slater’s science class start the morning by playing a word game. Students jump up to move to an open seat if they agree with what the standing student says – sort of like musical chairs. (Eric Weddle/WFYI)

It’s just after 7:30 a.m in Andy Slater’s ninth grade science class. Students sit on chairs in a circle — they play a few quick word games and ask each other basic questions.

But there’s one catch.

“Come on, in English,” Slater says. “In Inglés.”

Slowly the chatter in Spanish, Swahili and other languages dies down.  A student standing in the middle of the circle slowly says: “Big wind blows … if you like school.”

It’s a game. Students jump up and move to an open seat if they agree with what the standing student says – sort of like musical chairs.

This is how every day begins at the Newcomer Program – a Far Westside Indianapolis school for refugees and new immigrants, those here legally or illegally — about 10 minutes to build relationships and English skills with different word games.

Like any school, students here try to find themselves and fit in. But unlike other Indiana schools, all of these seventh through ninth graders are adjusting to a sudden immersion in American culture.

Some students enroll with little formal education, unfamiliar with computers or even know how to hold a pencil. Others don’t understand hallways lockers.

There are other adjustments, like the cafeteria. Stomachaches can be common when new students eat sausage for the first time.

And students can bring scars of trauma from experiences in their home country or anxiety about their future here.

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This Week At The Statehouse: Education Spending, Superintendent, ISTEP+

The Indiana Statehouse. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

The Indiana Statehouse. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Amid uncertainty over the future of many education issues in Indiana, lawmakers were busy at the Statehouse this week.

Lawmakers in the House chambers dove into a controversy around “sanctuary campuses.” The Senate finished the week by placing its stamp on the House budget and two of the session’s most controversial proposals: an appointed superintendent and ISTEP replacement.

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