Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Can Gary Schools Be Saved By A State Takeover?

The Gary Community Schools Corporation faces massive debt and academic failures. In a last-ditch attempt to save the schools, state lawmakers took the extreme option last year to take it over by using laws that transferred financial and academic control to a state-hired emergency manager.

It was a controversial move that lawmakers hoped would give Gary Schools a second chance even as decades of decline in population and industry continue to drag down the district’s enrollment and state funding.

But there’s little evidence to say whether this method can save a school corporation on the brink. Other urban districts in similar situations have struggled under intervention for years with varied results.

More than 10,000 students have fled the district in the past decade for charter schools or nearby city schools. Today enrollment has fallen to around 4,700 K-12 students.

The person expected to fix it all is Lake County-native Peggy Hinckley, the emergency manager. To save the corporation — she must reinvent the district by consolidating schools, reshaping academic programs and attracting new students. It’s more than finding savings.


Listen on Sharmayne McKinley, the principal at Daniel Hale Williams Elementary Schools in Gary, walks with students on Nov. 28, 2017. McKinly believes the state takeover of the school district will lead to positive results because of the leadership of the emergency manager Peggy Hinckley.

Read more at: www.wfyi.org

Girls Go CyberStart Competition Kicks Off Next Week

(Photo courtesy girlsgocyberstart.com)

(Photo courtesy girlsgocyberstart.com)

A multi-state effort aimed at getting more women in the cybersecurity career pipeline comes to the web this month.

High school girls from 16 states will participate in the six-day Girls Go CyberStart program starting next week. It’s an online series of challenges to test a participant’s interest and potential in the cybersecurity field, and includes activities around web attacks, programming, and computer forensics.

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NCAA Denies Notre Dame Appeal Over Academic Integrity

Notre Dame found an undergraduate working as an athletic training assistant wrote or substantially edited assignments for several football players.

Part of the athlete’s punishment under the University’s academic honor code changed the student’s grades, making them retroactively ineligible for competition.


The NCAA has denied an appeal by The University of Notre Dame after the school’s football wins in 2012 and 2013 were vacated over academic integrity issues. The 2012 season included the NCAA Championship, though Notre Dame lost in the final.

Read more at: wvpe.org

Southwest Allen School Corporation Implements Flex Days

Though flex days and e-learning days seem similar, e-learning days are used when schools close due to bad weather. They exist so schools don’t have to make up days at the end of the school year.

But, Southwest Allen County School Superintendent Philip G. Downs says flex days have a different purpose.

“It’s a scheduled day, where parents and everybody knows on this day we are going to run an e-learning day and in the morning our teachers get professional development and in the afternoon they are online with kids,” said Dr. Downs.


In Allen County, Southwest Allen is the only corporation that has added flex days to their curriculum. On flex days students don’t physically attend school. They stay at home and do their school work on their computer. Though flex days and e-learning days seem similar, e-learning days are used when schools close due to bad weather.

Read more at: wboi.org

In Delaware County, Childcare Costs High And Incomes Low

The average cost of full-time childcare per year in Indiana is about $8,800. But if you live in Delaware County, add another $2,000 to that bill.

Tami Silverman is the CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute. It’s the organization that collects statewide data on children used in state and national reports. She says Delaware County has the second-highest childcare cost in the state, following only Hamilton County.


A report on the state of Indiana’s children shows childcare costs in Delaware County are significantly higher than the state average. But, as IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, job wages in the area aren’t keeping pace with those costs. The average cost of full-time childcare per year in Ind

Read more at: indianapublicradio.org

Efforts For Lower School Age Fail In 2018 Session

(WFIU/WTIU)

(WFIU/WTIU)

Legislation to lower the age at which Hoosier children must attend school failed in the General Assembly again this year, but the conversation isn’t likely to end any time soon.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick included lowering the compulsory school age as one of her priorities for this year, and so did the Indiana State Teachers’ Association.

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Baptism By Fire For St. Joe’s ‘Phoenix Team’ One Year After School’s Closure Vote

Just a year ago, students were shuffling to and from class under the towering chapel on the St. Joseph’s campus. It’s since fallen silent.

The grounds are still manicured to look as if class is to be let out any second – save the concrete barriers blocking the entrance that read ‘private property – no trespassing.’

Across the road in Drexel Hall, only 17 employees remain. They’ve been dubbed ‘the Phoenix Team’ – working to get St. Joe’s to rise from the ashes of financial ruin.


This week marks one year since St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer announced it would be suspending operations. School officials say the college – as it was – is dead. And it’s still uncertain if – or how – the college might reopen.

Read more at: wbaa.org

¿QPM? 9: Arte, cultura and the conservative Midwest

A look at how Latino art and culture has influenced the Midwest and how it’s celebrated where it’s people may not feel welcomed.

¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? is a bilingual podcast from WNIN in Evansville that creates a sense of community for Midwestern Latinx who are missing an essential piece of their cultural identity.


A look at how Latino art and culture has influenced the Midwest and how it’s celebrated where it’s people may not feel welcomed.

Read more at: news.wnin.org

Teacher Housing Tackles Turnover, Neighborhood Revitalization

Near East Area Renewal, or NEAR, posts signs on the properties it eventually offers as affordable housing in St. Clair Place. (Steve Burns/WTIU)

Near East Area Renewal, or NEAR, posts signs on the properties it eventually offers as affordable housing in St. Clair Place. (Steve Burns/WTIU)

Indianapolis has a big turnover problem. Each year some 400 teachers in Indianapolis Public Schools – around 20 percent – either switch schools or quit.

Elsie Owolo is with a group called TeachPlus. She says keeping teachers around is a complicated issue, but housing often plays a key role. And in the heart of Indianapolis, it’s a problem.

“So in order for them to be able to afford something our teachers have expressed that they’ve number one had to stay with parents, had to stay with roommates, or you know the ultimate result is living out in the suburbs and having a longer commute,” Owolo says.

And that can lead to turnover.

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