Proposed 'A Through F' Overhaul Moves Forward

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The Indiana State Board of Education has approved initial changes to the factors that determine the accountability grades for school corporations and individual schools. The measure will head for public comment before returning to the board for a final vote. If approved the changes to the "A" through "F" scale would go into affect for the 2015-2016 school year.

You can view the initial proposal by clicking here.

During testimony at the board's monthly meeting Wednesday, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said one of the major benefits of the changes is the seperate metrics for performance and proficiency.

Sources: Inside INdiana Business and The Indiana State Board of Education

January 7, 2015

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The State Board of Education (SBOE) kicked off the new year deliberating key issues such as A-F accountability, new Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities for high school students, and intervention plans within Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). The Board also received updates on the pre-K pilot program, Federal No Child Left Behind waiver and staff performance evaluations for superintendents, principals and teachers.

The SBOE adopted rule language for a modified A-F school accountability model designed to update methodology and metrics to include both academic proficiency and growth, first considering recommendations from the legislatively created A-F panel. Results will be based on annual statewide assessments, graduation rates, and other criteria such as college and career readiness. Next steps for the Board will be convening three public hearings across the state to receive input on the proposed rule language, prior to it expected implementation for the fall of 2015.

"Today we are proposing the language that will go out for public comment," said Dr. David Freitas, District 2 SBOE member. "We have due diligence to really study this issue. We need to get the public's feedback and move forward from there."

Next, the Board approved titles for CTE courses to expand offerings to Hoosier students. Approved courses include options in the areas of robotics, energy, accounting and health sciences which have been added to provide students more opportunities to prepare for college and careers.

"I am excited to see automation and robotics, medical forensics, accounting, and banking and investment listed among the courses," said Gordon Hendry, at-large SBOE member. "I think these topics are very relevant in K-12 education. It’s incredibly important to prepare our students to succeed in the workplace and compete in a global economy."

Cathedral High School and Brown County Junior High School were recognized by a board resolution for winning first place in their respective grade levels in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program. The program is designed to promote civic competence and responsibility among the nation's elementary, middle, and secondary students.

"I want to congratulate students at Cathedral and Brown County on their accomplishment," said Andrea Neal, District 5 SBOE member. "We make a much bigger impact in the lives of our children when we engage them in civic education."

The Board also honored Claire Fiddian-Green for her efforts in service to the SBOE, Indiana students and the education community. Fiddian-Green has served as a technical advisor to the SBOE and as Special Assistant to the Governor for Career Innovation since August of 2013, and leaves her position on January 9th to join the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation as President and CEO.

Responding to the Board’s request, IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee outlined a proposal to create a transformation zone for both state and district-identified priority schools. Partnering with Mass Insight, IPS identified turnaround best practices from Evansville that can translate to IPS. The IPS goal is to proactively engage feeder schools, provide coaching for educators and engage all stakeholders in its intervention process. Dr. Ferebee anticipates Phase 1 of the transformation may begin as early as this March. In all, the transformation zone will encompass 13 schools. The Board reflected positively on the joint efforts of IPS and Mass Insight and the overall commitment to work collaboratively on behalf of IPS students.

"We have begun the work to organize the entire district around the concept of the transformation zone model," said Dr. Ferebee. "This is an opportunity to move from takeover to transformation; takeover to me implies something that is one-time and it's not sustainable. Transformation is long-lasting."

Ferebee also reported on progressive discussions with Charter Schools USA to work with students in grades K-6 at Emma Donnan next year. The collaboration is focused on improving student outcomes in underperforming IPS elementary schools.

The Strategic Planning Committee Chair Gordon Hendry reported Board’s Balanced Scorecard is now fully populated to track the state's educational progress and that recommendations on the new teacher evaluation model will be presented to the Board in February. Statewide input is currently being gathered from stakeholder meetings regarding teacher evaluations.

The SBOE then heard progress on the pre-K pilot program, where four of the five selected counties are beginning programs this January. The first cohort of 468 students will begin in the coming weeks. In August, over 1,600 pre-schoolers are expected to be part of the second cohort.

The Department of Education (DOE) staff reported on staff performance evaluation results for the 2013-14 school year. The Department reported that just 2 percent of more than 57,000 Indiana teachers were rated as ineffective or needing improvement. For the first time, the DOE also tracked school retention rates for educators with 81.61 percent as the state average for the 2013-14 school year. The presented data that showed retention rates directly correlated with A-F school grade as "A" schools retain over 86 percent while "F" schools retain just 64 percent of teachers.

DOE staff also updated the process regarding the NCLB waiver renewal due March 31st, committing to provide a final draft of the waiver application to the Board on March 12, 2014.

The board's next meeting will be February 4. Click here for more information about today's meeting, including the meeting agenda, presentations and materials.

Source: The Center for Education and Career Innovation