#INspirEDleaders

January 2020, Vol.9

Promoting Equity Through Professional Learning Communities

By: John Purcell, School Improvement Specialist


Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) provide tremendous potential to ensure all students achieve at high levels. To guarantee PLC work includes ALL students, educators must be cognizant of equity issues that have the potential to hinder students who face opportunity gaps and those who may be marginalized. For information on the five discussion questions that encourage PLC teams to keep equity at the forefront of their discussions, click here.

The School Improvement Resource Hub

By: Diane Vielee, School Improvement Specialist


The School Improvement Resource Hub is designed to provide educators with access to tools that can be adopted or adapted to support locally-driven school improvement efforts. Additional guidance is provided to (1) describe potential ways to use each tool, (2) outline strategies for getting started with each tool, and (3) share background information on the individual tools.

Given the importance of cultural responsiveness in each of the five sections of the resource hub, tools that address this topic are integrated into each of the sections of the School Improvement Resource Hub. To make it easier to identify these resources, the tools from each section of the resource hub that address cultural responsiveness are available on this webpage.

Panorama Survey Required for All CSI Designated Schools

By: Tarrell Berry, School Improvement Specialist


For the continued support of Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has again partnered with Panorama Education to administer a climate and culture survey. The use of Panorama's survey platform is mandatory for all CSI schools this year with no cost to districts. The survey window is February 3 to February 28. If your district has an an existing contract with Panorama, please contact Tarrell Berry. After surveys are finalized, IDOE will partner with Panorama to provide technical assistance with data analysis which should be used to complete a Comprehensive Needs Assessments (CNA) due October 2020. If you have any questions please contact Tarrell Berry.

Depth of Knowledge: A Free Resource for School Leaders

By: Sarah Rush, School Improvement Specialist


How would you describe the level of rigor used during classroom instruction in your building or district? During walk-throughs or observations, have you identified a need to increase the capacity of teachers in this area? The Office of School Improvement provides professional development opportunities on DOK in various locations throughout the year. If you are looking for a place to begin, consider using our free training video. This resource provides a detailed framework for DOK, as well as example questions for every grade level. Click here for full access to the IDOE presentation. Additionally, if you are interested in an explanation of Webb's DOK and Bloom's Taxonomy, watch the video available below. Please contact Sarah Rush or Diane Vielee with any questions.

Blooms Taxonomy vs. Webb's Depth of Knowledge

Cues, Questions, and Advanced Organizers-Marzano’s 9th Strategy

By: Diane Vielee, School Improvement Specialist


Marzano’s ninth strategy, Cues, Questions, and Advanced Organizers, is an effective method to activate students' prior knowledge and relate new content to what they already know. This method, if used correctly, can yield a 22 percentile gain. These methods are most effective when used before a specific lesson, as determined by classroom teachers. Examples include:


  • Graphic organizers

  • Provide guiding questions before each lesson

  • Think-alouds

  • Inferencing

  • Predicting

  • Drawing conclusions

  • Skimming the chapter to identify key vocabulary and concepts

  • Foldables

  • Anticipation guide


It is critical to remember that no instructional strategy works equally well in all situations. Teachers should rely on their knowledge of students and subject matter to identify the most effective instructional strategy. For more information regarding Marzano’s High-Yield Instructional Strategies, click here.

Important School Safety Resources

By: Stephen Balko, Director of School Building Security


The Office of School Building Physical Security and Safety has many resources available to school leaders on our website located here. The school safety webpage is designed to provide quick and easy access to resources in order to enhance school safety and security. Resources include information on the Indiana School Safety Specialist Academy, calendars with important dates and deadlines, bullying resources, crisis planning, and emergency preparedness. Additionally, the school safety team is available to assist school leaders with safety planning and on-site visits to address concerns unique to specific buildings. Please contact a member of the team with any questions:


• Stephen Balko, Director of School Building Security: sbalko@doe.in.gov

• Jolene Bracale, Student Health Services Specialist: jbracale@doe.in.gov

• Jason Marer, Safety and Wellness Specialist: jmarer@doe.in.gov

• Ryan Stewart, Senior School Safety Specialist: rstewart@doe.in.gov

Leadership Spotlight

Brian Johnson - Principal, Green Meadows Intermediate

Brian Johnson has served as the principal of Green Meadows Intermediate for seven years. Green Meadows has been recognized as a model PLC school by Solution Tree. Brian was the driving force in implementing PLCs at Green Meadows. He and his staff consistently seek opportunities to grow and learn as educators. He credits the staff for the success of PLCs and and the successful climate and culture that exists at Green Meadows. Brian loves his students and enjoys being visible in the hallways and at extra-curricular events. Brian's staff has a "kids-first" philosophy which is evident in every interaction. His advice for other leaders is to always keep school culture as the number one priority. Brian loves being a principal and hopes that every staff member and student look forward to coming to Green Meadows every day.

Dr. Davin Harpe - Principal, Center Grove Middle School North

Dr. Harpe is currently in his second year as Principal of Center Grove Middle School North. He is known as a leader who shows empathy and encouragement to others. Dr. Harpe has been named the IASP Elementary Principal of the Year and has also been recognized as a National Distinguished Principal. Center Grove Middle School North, as well as local and state community groups worked together to convert a retention area behind the school into a natural wetland. Center Grove Middle School North has been involved in multiple conservation efforts including a recycling program coordinated by students. Dr. Harpe’s personal motto is, “Live your life with hope – guided by knowledge and inspired by love.” He believes a principal should approach the work with positivity remembering the purpose behind our role as a leader. One of Dr. Harpe's favorite leadership quotes is, “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit."

Leadership Spotlight Nominations

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

Upcoming Opportunities

Instructional Leadership Twitter Chat on January 15

District and building leaders are invited to join #INedchat host Melissa Blossom, Director of School Improvement, on January 15 at 8:00 p.m. for an engaging conversation on instructional leadership. Do not miss the opportunity to collaborate with leaders from across the state.

Save the Date: MTSS Leadership Academy

Join the Indiana Department of Education's team and national experts to learn more about Multi-Tier Systems of Support and the positive impact on Indiana schools. The conference will take place on April 1, 2020, at Purdue University. Registration is available here.

Educating the Whole Child Summit

Registration for the second annual Educating the Whole Child Summit is live and available here.

Blocks of rooms have been secured at the Marriott East for $129/night. For planning purposes, breakfast/registration will begin daily at 7:30 a.m. Questions should be directed to Christy Gauss at jcgauss@indiana.edu.

Indiana State Museum: Free School Resources

Did you know that the Indiana State Museum offers free field trips to schools? One upcoming exhibit will focus on the nationwide opioid epidemic. The exhibit, "FIX: Heartbreak and Hope Inside Our Opioid Crisis," gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the opioid crisis and be a part of the solution. FIX serves as a great field trip opportunity for students in grades five through twelve and the exhibit is connected to various middle and high school Indiana academic standards. Educators can preview the exhibit beforehand to learn more.


Learn more about the exhibit and reserve your spot here.

IDOE Math and Literacy Newsletters

Stay connected and informed with all things math and literacy through IDOE #INspirEDmath and #INspirEDlit newsletters. Find classroom resources, practice problems for students, upcoming professional development opportunities, and so much more!


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