August 2019, Vol. 4

Back to School Edition

Thank You, School Leaders!

By: Melissa Blossom, Assistant Director

On behalf of the Indiana Department of Education, I would like to recognize and thank all of our district and school leaders who spent most of their summer break completing a million tasks in preparation for a new school year. Thank you for your dedication and outstanding work!

Instead of saying "welcome back" to each of you, how about "thanks for never leaving". Your commitment and hard work is greatly appreciated.

School Improvement PD Menu

By: Diane Vielee, School Improvement Specialist

The Office of School Improvement now offers on-site FREE professional development. Professional development sessions can be scheduled from one and a half hours up to a full day depending on the topic(s). School and district leaders can utilize the PD Menu to assist in the planning of your 2019/2020 PD schedule. Our school improvement specialists provide 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 Diane Vielee with any questions. dvielee@doe.in.gov

5Essentials Framework for School Improvement

By: Robin LeClaire, Director of School Improvement

The Indiana Department of Education is committed to encouraging and supporting school improvement across the state. From the free professional development we have been providing across the state, the support for the development of Comprehensive Needs Assessment and School Improvement Plans, and the upcoming Teacher Leaders Bootcamp, we are building capacity using the 5Essentials Framework. The 5Essentials Framework is based on decades of research out of the University of Chicago which includes the five essential factors needed for school improvement. These factors are Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, Supportive Environment, and Ambitious Instruction. Researchers found that schools strong in three or more of these five factors are ten times more likely to experience substantial gains in student learning over time than schools weak in three or more of these five factors. A low score in even just one of these measures reduces likelihood of improvement to less than ten percent. Based on this research, the school improvement team has tailored its efforts to serve all Indiana schools and we are here and ready to serve and support you. Reach out and let us know how your IDOE can support you.


Comprehensive Needs Assessments and School Improvement Plans (CNA-SIP) are due October 11. 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


On the Road...

By: Kelley Grate, School Improvement Specialist

During the month of June, the SI team had the opportunity to conduct summer PD for the teachers in Michigan City Community Schools. We spent two productive days working with all levels, K-12, on Depth of Knowledge and Student Engagement. These educators were passionate and engaged while honing their craft!

The SI team also made a two-day stop in Gary to present at their Leadership Institute. Principals came together to be trained on identifying high-priority standards, unpacking standards, creating common formative assessments, multi-tirered systems of support, social emotional learning for the whole child, and universal design for learning. We'd like to thank Courtney Hott and Sarah Larrison for partnering with out team to bring this training to the leaders of Gary Community Schools. They are a fabulous group of leaders who were excited to learn!

Reading Recommendations

Ambitious Instruction

By: Diane Vielee, School Improvement Specialist

Homework...to assign or not, that is the question! Marzano’s fourth strategy, Homework and Practice, will be an interesting discussion, because it is such a hot topic in education these days. It is important to highlight that while Marzano does recommend utilizing homework, he does not recommended that homework be assigned just for the sake of assigning homework. When homework is assigned and utilized correctly, it can lead to a 28 percentile gain. Guidelines for homework that are listed below.

  • Homework should be assigned as an opportunity to extend students’ learning outside the classroom, and it should be based on the relevant grade level.

  • Homework should have a purpose that is relevant to the students.

  • All homework assignments should receive timely and meaningful feedback.

It is also critical to remember:

  • that a homework policy should be established with a specific schedule and time parameters that all parties (school and home) understand and abide by.

  • that teachers vary their feedback to maximize its effectiveness.

  • That educators focus homework and meaningful practice on the more difficult concepts.

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.

Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices

By: Tarrell Berry, School Improvement Specialist

The Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission announces the Micheal Pace Educators Grant. This grant was created to provide the funds for teachers to take their students on educational field trips around the state to learn more about Native Americans. There are 25 grants each worth $250. To be considered for this grant, the following requirements must be met:

· Field trips must be to a location with the state of Indiana

· The excursion must have a connection to the approved Indiana education curriculum.

· Applicants must complete and return the accompanying field trip grant after-action report within 30 days of the excursion.

· Priority will be given to schools that have not received this grant within last year.

The Deadline to apply is the 15th of each month

Applications can be found here https://www.in.gov/inaiac/

Shifting School Culture to Spark Rapid Improvement

By: Diane Vielee, School Improvement Specialist

The Center on School Turnaround has identified four levers for dramatic change to rapidly improve schools, one of which is "culture shift." This resource focuses on that specific lever by describing what it means to shift a school's culture, why it is essential for rapid school improvement, and how to establish and sustain a school culture that fosters student learning and success. Check out this valuable tool here.

Opportunities for Leaders

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School Improvement Conference

Office of School Improvement Conference September 5, 2019

The Office of School Improvement is excited to announce its inaugural School Improvement Conference for all schools across Indiana on September 5! Gerry Brooks, popular speaker and principal, will be the keynote. The Office of School Improvement Team will be hosting 27 breakout sessions. Culturally-Responsive Teaching, MTSS, Depth of Knowledge...Getting to the Heart of Rigor, The New Indiana World Languages and How to Conduct a Root Cause Analysis are a few of the topics that will be covered throughout the day. The day will begin at 7:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. We are eager to extend the invitation to Indiana educators and administrators to join us in this free conference! Registration will be limited to the first 600 applicants.
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.

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, and @sarah_rush1 for the latest from the SI team

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