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Education policy priorities listed

November 29, 2017 GMT

Student learning tops the list of strategic policy priorities Indiana’s top educator outlined Tuesday for 2018.

That : along with other objectives : didn’t surprise Josh Wenning, executive director of the Region 8 Education Service Center. With offices in Fort Wayne, the cooperative supports public, private and parochial schools in 15 northeast counties.

“I would be disappointed if any educational institution didn’t have that listed as their primary goal,” he said.

The Indiana Department of Education priorities were shaped by meetings with hundreds of educators, parents and community members over the last 11 months, said Jennifer McCormick, state superintendent of public instruction.

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She and her staff will work with state lawmakers to implement the objectives.

“The foundation of these policies is to create a rich, innovative and immersive educational environment that challenges our students to be successful lifelong learners,” she said in a statement.

″... The bounty of information shared is at the heart of our desire to ensure our children not just succeed, but achieve their full potential.”

Multiple goals are associated with each priority.

Under student learning, specifics include modernizing career technical education courses; implementing the state’s STEM plan to increase science, technology, engineering and math opportunities; and advocating for revised diploma requirements while building upon career exploration and advanced college and career readiness resources.

Julie Hollingsworth, Fort Wayne Community Schools board president, hadn’t reviewed the priorities by early Tuesday afternoon but advised people : especially parents : to pay attention to the proposed graduation rules.

They include requiring students demonstrate workforce skills and college readiness.

The State Board of Education could consider the issue as early as December. The legislature would also have to make changes in law to implement the program that would affect current seventh-graders.

“I think schools are going to have a big job ahead of them educating parents,” Hollingsworth said.

School improvement and operational effectiveness round out the state’s education priorities.

The former addresses Indiana’s accountability system, opportunities for teacher leadership development and flexibility in teacher licensing, among other topics.

Prioritizing operational effectiveness should excite schools because it’s about providing support to districts, Wenning said. Highlights include flexibility for fiscally distressed schools and creating a standard for data practices.

“As evidenced in districts across the state,” McCormick said, “focused support is an essential tool in building and maintaining highly successful students, taught by highly effective educators, supported by successful schools in engaged communities.”

Visit www.doe.in.gov/2018strategicpriorities for more information.

asloboda@jg.net

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