#INspirEDleaders

May 2020, Vol.13

Summer Book Club for Leaders

By: Melissa Blossom, Director of School Improvement


The Indiana Department of Education's (IDOE) Office of School Improvement is kicking off the first Community of Practice (CoP) for district and school leaders by hosting a summer book club beginning June 1. Discussions and activities will center around our first book, Leading with FOCUS: Elevating the Essentials for School and District Improvement, by author and former school leader, Mike Schmoker.


Can the role of a school leader be simplified so that decisions are focused and radically increase school success? The answer is yes! If you want to know how this can look in Indiana schools and network with other educational leaders, register here today.

CNA-SIP Resources

By: Sarah Rush, School Improvement Specialist


Are you a school leader in need of basic training on the NEW Comprehensive Needs Assessment and School Improvement Plan (CNA-SIP) template? For access to the presentation, click here. For a more in-depth training on individual sections, click here. The new template is available in on our main OSI website located here.

Creating Common Formative Assessments: Training Video

By: Sarah Rush, School Improvement Specialist


Common formative assessments (CFA) are an integral part of the instructional planning process. CFAs are built to ensure all students have coherent, guaranteed, and viable curriculum. They also enable to teachers to compare assessment data and reflect on instructional practices.


After watching this training video, participants will understand the difference between a common formative assessment and summative assessment. Participants will gain an understanding of CFAs, as well as the what is needed to implement recurring CFAs. Additionally, participants will understand the urgency to change the way we, as educators, assess students’ understanding of learning targets, and the resources available. You can access the training video here. Contact School Improvement Specialist, Scott Jaworski, with any questions.

Free Professional Development Opportunities

Leadership Spotlight

Kristen Bilkey-Superintendent, Northwestern School Corporation

Kristen Bilkey has served as the superintendent of Northwestern School Corporation since 2019. Prior to becoming the superintendent, she was the principal of Northwestern High School. As a Northwestern alumnus, Kristen is long standing member of the community. During these uncertain times, she is incredibly grateful for her team of directors and principals and their ability to work together. Kristen is not afraid to ask for help and believes in the importance of networking with other superintendents. Under Kristen's leadership, Northwestern has focused heavily on Social Emotional Learning (SEL). At the high school, she designated a class period where students would be assigned the same homeroom teacher for all four years. One of Kristen’s favorite things to do is visit the district's students of the month. Each time a student of the month is selected, she visits his or her classroom. She is known for being extremely approachable, frequently receiving emails directly from students with requests and questions. Kristen has always been student-driven. Her decision making process revolves around the needs of students and has built a culture of trust within the district.

Benji Betts-Principal, Whiteland Community High School

Benji Betts is serving in his first year as principal of Whiteland Community High School (WCHS). Prior to becoming principal, he served as the associate principal at WCHS. Benji describes the school and community as extremely tight knit. His favorite part of the day is lunch and hallway duties. He believes this is where relationships with students and staff are formed. Over the past few months, collaborations between principals in the area have been vital. Clark-Pleasant Community Schools' central office, teachers, and building administration are committed to focusing on students first. Benji’s motto is “every kid, every day.” His assistant principal describes Benji as never wavering from his dedication to all learners. He has successfully led WCHS to a successful transition from in school to remote learning which is a testament to the staff, students, and community.

Leadership Spotlight Nominations

Nominate an exceptional leader who will be highlight in our monthly newsletter by filling out this form.

LINK Initiative

IDOE has updated the Security Access tool within the LINK Portal with new features, allowing the Data Security Coordinators at each organization to set staff types (roles) for the LINK portal. We are asking all educational organizations’ security coordinators to update the Key Contact staff types for their organizations. Collecting, obtaining and maintaining these critical business contacts, now known as “Key Contacts” is important in IDOE’s effort to streamline communication processes. More information on the LINK Portal as well as instructions for setting the Key Contact staff types are located on the Unified Access Website. Please send all questions here.

Automated Scoring Focus Groups

IDOE invites interested educators to register for one of three focus groups to engage in discussions about the potential use of automated scoring for Indiana’s state assessments. This flyer contains additional information and meeting registration links. Contact the Office of Student Assessment (OSA) with any questions.

Connect with us on Twitter!

According to edsurge.com, 4.2 million tweets a day are related to education conversations. This is a great way to connect with other leaders in the education world. We invite you to connect with us and each other!



1. Tweet about all things in LEADERSHIP using #INspirEDleaders

2. Follow the hashtag and connect with other leaders around the state

3. Follow @EducateIN for the latest updates from Indiana Department of Education

4. Follow @LeclaireRobin, @MelissaABlossom, @DVielee, @sarah_rush1, and @scott_jaws for the latest from the SI team

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