June 2019, Vol. 3

New School Improvement Professional Development Menu Revealed!

The Office of School Improvement now offers on-site FREE Professional Development. PD sessions can be scheduled for 1.5 hours up to a whole day depending on the topic. The PD Menu is available now for school leaders planning summer and fall training. Schedule today with our school improvement specialists to receive relevant professional development on topics such as Student Engagement, Checks for Understanding, Unpacking Standards and Creating Measurable Learning Targets, Identifying High-Priority Standards and Creating Instructional Calendars, and many more! Please contact Kelley Grate with any questions. kgrate@doe.in.gov
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Is Professional Development for School Leaders a Priority?

By: Melissa Blossom, Assistant Director

If you are a school leader, how do you prioritize your own professional development? If not, what are the barriers and how can we help? Investing in teacher development is critical for student success, but do we consider how professional development for principals significantly impacts staff, students, parents, and the community?

After a decade of serving in a variety of administrative roles and two years at the Department of Education, it has become evident that investing in the professional development of our school leaders MUST be a priority. Administrators are overwhelmed with the demands of the job and put the professional needs of others before themselves. Our own professional growth is usually last on our endless to-do list.

The Office of School Improvement recently released a professional development menu focusing on instruction. This was designed to provide opportunities for leaders to develop alongside teachers building their own instructional leadership capacity. Additional opportunities for principal PD include on-site support implementing high-functioning Professional Learning Communities and creating effective School Improvement Plans. We are here and ready to help. All you have to do, is ask. mblossom@doe.in.gov


Comprehensive Needs Assessments and School Improvement Plans (CNA-SIP) are due October 11, 2019. Please see Dr. Jennifer McCormick's weekly newsletter on Friday, June 6, 2019 for a memo outlining requirements and directions for submission. If you need additional support completing either the CNA or SIP, please reach out to the Office of School Improvement with any questions.

Director Robin LeClaire


Assistant Director Melissa Blossom


Community of Practice for Principals

The Community of Practice for Principals will kick-off during the summer of 2019!

Sign up here to join our CoP!


PLC’s: Book Study - Professional Learning Communities at Work

Want to learn more about Professional Learning Communities?

Of course, you do! Join our fall book study!
Look for more details coming soon.

The IDOE School Improvement Staff Continue their Road Trip...

By: Kelley Grate, School Improvement Specialist

The end of April and first weeks of May found our SI team in New Albany, Frankfort, and Bloomington, Indiana. The PLCs in each school were fantastic, and always unique to the style and needs of each individual school. The data and successes coming from these schools and districts that have fully committed to the PLC process are impressive! We are excited to offer support to districts and schools that are interested in beginning the PLC journey. You won't regret it!

Summer Reading Recommendations

Ambitious Instruction for All!

By: Diane Vielee, School Improvement Specialist

Ambitious Instruction

This month we are moving farther into Marzano’s high-yield instructional strategies. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition is the third strategy in the list of Marzano’s Nine Essential Instructional Strategies. When utilized efficiently, this strategy can yield a 29 percent gain in student achievement.

It is imperative that we address the “whole child” and this strategy is unique in that it focuses on students’ beliefs and attitudes rather than cognitive skills. The goal is to enable the students to see the correlation between achievement and effort. Teachers should be careful, however, to offer some rewards as intangible rather than always providing a tangible reward. Also, this strategy is most effective when it is tied to achieving a specific standard.

This strategy can be accomplished through a variety of methods. Some of those are:

*High expectations

*Display completed work

*Praise effort

*Encourage to share thoughts

*Value all learning styles

*Individual conferencing

*High fives

More information about identifying similarities and differences can be found here.

  • Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Teacher Leadership

By: Kelley Grate, School Improvement Specialist

There are different areas in which a teacher can choose to lead in their building or district, but there are a few overarching characteristics that should make your teacher leaders stand out among the crowd.

Reflective Practice - Do you have a teacher that incorporates reflection into the refinement of their craft? Do they lead in the collection and analysis of data and support cultural shifts that incorporate reflection as an intentional practice?

Personal Effectiveness - Do you have a teacher who supports other teachers in responding to adversity with resiliency and humility? Are they willing to take risks in order to achieve lofty, meaningful goals?

Communication Skills - Do you have a teacher who influences others and builds their capacity to communicate and advocate effectively with stakeholders at all levels? Do they successfully communicate in tense situations?

Continuing Learning and Education - Do you have teachers who are excited to design and lead opportunities for professional learning within your building? Do they attend conferences and offer to share their learning when they return?

These are your teacher leaders. Strong building leaders will take the time to cultivate these talented educators and provide them with the opportunities to lead.

Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices

By: Tarrell Berry, School Improvement Specialist

The Office of School Improvement offers a new Culturally Relevant Teaching PD. This PD is designed for districts to take an in depth look at their own practices. It will start the conversation on developing cultural awareness for the success of all students. It examines culture as much more than face value and begins to give districts a plan to better incorporate students and families into the whole school atmosphere. This is a great PD that will leave schools with a tangible plan on how to better address the many cultures throughout their building going forward.

Advancing Student Learning Through Distributed Instructional Leadership

By: Diane Vielee, School Improvement Specialist

This toolkit is designed to support school leaders to build and leverage distributed instructional leadership teams to improve student learning. The toolkit is an outgrowth of a three-year partnership between the Wisconsin Urban Schools Leadership Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and 16 high schools in Wisconsin. Through this partnership, a number of tools were developed and used by school leaders to guide the formation and facilitation of distributed instructional leadership teams. These tools are organized around three key phases of work related to distributed instructional leadership teams:

  1. Defining a shared vision
  2. Building the capacity of leaders and leadership teams
  3. Mobilizing distributed leadership to analyze problems and develop solutions using the best data available

The resources in this toolkit can be used independently and/or customized to meet a specific school's context and needs. While the toolkit was designed through a partnership with high schools, the resulting tools are reflective of best practices for distributed instructional leadership teams in elementary, middle, and high schools.

Click here to learn more about this fantastic resource!

Opportunities for Leaders

For a list of approved partners, profiles, and contact information, please click on the following link: https://www.doe.in.gov/school-improvement/2019-school-improvement-summit. If you have additional questions about the event or the approved list, please contact Melissa Blossom mblossom@doe.in.gov or Kelley Grate kgrate@doe.in.gov.

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, @KelleyGrate, and @DVielee for the latest from the SI team

Summer Break

The IDOE School Improvement team wishes each of you a relaxing, restful summer break! Please enjoy your families and recharge for the 2019-2020 school year! The #INspirEDleaders newsletter will also break for the month of July. We will return in August prepared to support our Indiana leaders as you start a brand new school year!

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