Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Turnaround, Testing Will Be Highlights On Light State Board Agenda

    It’s back to business as usual for Indiana’s State Board of Education.

    Following an autumn full of extra meetings to discuss new high school diploma requirements and the process of grading last year’s ISTEP+ test, the board has a slimmer agenda for their end-of-year meeting this week.

    Here are just a few of the items they’ll look into:

    • IPS Turnaround: District officials from Indianapolis Public Schools will update the board on progress at its turnaround academies – Emma Donnan Middle School, Emmerich Manual High School and T.C. Howe High Schools, all operated by Charter Schools USA. Most prominent in this discussion will likely be Arlington High School – a takeover school that returned to IPS management this year. Fellow education reporter Eric Weddle is embedded at Arlington this school year – check out his series of stories from inside the halls here. We’ll run another story from Weddle on what he expects from this conversation on the blog tomorrow.
    • Testing Committee: The board will begin the process to assemble a standing committee that will oversee the development and operation of statewide tests going forward. Although the board has mobilized this type of group during periods of transition in the past, according to a resolution on the board’s website, Indiana has received “expert recommendations” that the state should establish a permanent four to six member group including “individuals who have specific expertise.” The group would provide technical advice to both the State Board and Department of Education on matters such as test design and assessment of special populations (think English language learners and students with special education needs).

    Speaking of tests, it doesn’t look as though the board will have much to discuss about the process of releasing ISTEP+ scores from the 2014-15 school year.

    State Superintendent Glenda Ritz told StateImpact earlier this month that the board, along with the IDOE and legislative leadership, is on track to hit the necessary deadlines. According to their timeline, schools should receive finalized ISTEP+ data next week, around December 8.

    Board spokesman Marc Lotter says the board hopes to approve subsequent A-F school accountability grades during its inaugural 2016 meeting in January. After that, schools will be able to complete teacher evaluations and receive their annual state-assigned performance grant distributions.

    The State Board meets Wednesday beginning at 9 a.m. Anyone interested can watch the proceedings live online.


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