Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Year In Review: The 10 Most Popular Posts Of 2013

    Kindergarteners at East Side Elementary in Brazil practice their writing skills.

    Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

    Kindergarteners at East Side Elementary in Brazil practice their writing skills.

    All eyes were on Indiana when state lawmakers voted this spring to pause rollout of the Common Core — and posts about the new, nationally-crafted academic standards were some of our most popular in 2013.

    Readers also wanted news about former schools chief Tony Bennett changing school grades and stories about tensions between superintendent Glenda Ritz and the rest of the State Board of Education.

    Rounding out the list were Rockville Elementary and Glenwood Leadership Academy, two schools struggling to improve their state accountability scores.

    As we look back, we’re curious about what StateImpact coverage you found most valuable in 2012. Leave us a comment, connect with us on social media or send us an email letting us know what you think of this list — and how we can do better in the new year.

    1. A math worksheet emphasizes the 'partial sums' method of solving addition problems.

      Elle Moxley / StateImpact

      A math worksheet emphasizes the partial sums method of solving addition problems.

      How the Common Core Is Changing Math Instruction For Indiana’s Youngest Students — “You probably learned to add using the standard algorithm. The numbers would be written on top of each other, and you’d work from right to left, adding the ones, then the tens, then the hundreds. [Suzanne] Sherby’s son is learning a different way, called regrouping. Instead of putting 243 on top of 162, the numbers are pulled apart and written next to each other: 200 plus 100, 40 plus 60, 3 plus 2.”

    2. How Teachers Are Explaining The Common Core Standards To Students, Parents — “Part of the problem is how the standards are worded. Even the pro-Common Core Fordham Institute concedes that the new standards aren’t as clearly written as the Indiana Academic Standards they’re replacing.”
    3. Former state superintendent Tony Bennett delivers a speech in Indianapolis.

      Kyle Stokes / StateImpact

      Tony Bennett delivers a speech in Indianapolis.

      How Tony Bennett’s Last-Minute A-F Changes Lifted 165 Indiana School Grades — “Christel House Academy was not the only school to benefit from state officials’ changes to Indiana’s fledgling school grading system in 2012. After studying last year’s A-F rating data, a StateImpact analysis has identified 165 schools across the state— including Christel House — that saw higher final grades than they would have if Bennett’s staff hadn’t tweaked the formula roughly six weeks before releasing 2012′s results.”

    4. State superintendent Glenda Ritz prepares to chair the November 13, 2013, meeting of the State Board of Education.

      Kyle Stokes / StateImpact

      State superintendent Glenda Ritz chairs the State Board of Education.

      Tensions Apparent On State Board As Ritz Holds Firm To Posted Agenda — “Indiana’s open door law allows a public body to deviate from a posted agenda, but Ritz says she feels board members owe it to the public to stick to what they’ve said they will discuss.”

    5. Journal Gazette Publishes Bennett Emails Showing His Dislike Of Ritz — “That shouldn’t come as a huge shock — we wrote during the campaign the two diametrically opposed each other on basically every issue.”
    6. How Science & Social Studies Teachers Are Transitioning To The Common Core — “The idea is students should be reading more nonfiction in all classes, not just language arts. Yet some English teachers are skeptical their colleagues who teach subjects in which students don’t take statewide tests will take up the challenge.”
    7. Erin Tuttle and Heather Crossin speak at a statehouse rally, calling for Indiana's withdrawal from the Common Core State Standards.

      Elle Moxley / StateImpact

      Erin Tuttle and Heather Crossin call for Indiana's withdrawal from the Common Core.

      Core Question: Who Supports The Common Core? — “[Erin] Tuttle and [Heather] Crossin’s opposition to the Common Core falls along two fault lines: They argue Indiana should keep its old standards, which were excellent, but also oppose the idea of nationally-crafted standards.

    8. Here’s What A ‘D’ School Looks Like: Inside Indiana’s School Turnaround Process — “About 69.5 percent of the school’s students passed the ISTEP+ last year, just shy of the statewide pass rate of 71 percent. But where Rockville Elementary fell short is in showing improvement in those test scores, part of a complicated calculation called the ‘growth model.'”
    9. A second-grade Glenwood teacher leads a math lesson.

      Kyle Stokes / StateImpact

      A second-grade Glenwood teacher leads a math lesson.

      Why Evansville School Leaders Say They Don’t Need State Help To Turn Around A Troubled School — “But Evansville school officials have already launched their own effort — with a new district turnaround office and a $600,000 contract with a Massachusetts-based school turnaround group at its center — to improve Glenwood and four other schools in the district that received F’s last year.”

    10. Superintendent Ritz Abruptly Shuts Down State Board Of Education Meeting — “With board members pushing for a vote, Ritz said quietly, ‘This meeting is adjourned.’ She got up and followed much of her staff out the door.”


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