Dec 2019 IAPSS Newsletter

Posted on January 2, 2020

IAPSS Fall Regional Meetings Highlights

It was another great year working together for student success. Below are several topics discussed in this year’s Fall Regional Meeting.


  • During the 2018-2019 school year, 11 percent of Indiana students met the definition for being chronically absent.
  • Indiana schools are encouraged to make chronic absence a priority and identify contributing factors in your school by collaborating with families, health and social service agencies, city and county government and local school safety commissions.
  • Check out the new tool kit on the IDOE Attendance Resources page
Missing School for Any Reason Put the Student at Risk


  • This test is also known as the Naturalization Test.
  • The link for the civics test may be found at IDOE’s Civics Education website or by following this link directly.
  • Civics test is issued during a government course.  All students are required to take the test.
  • Civics test is not required to be graded.
  • IDOE is not collecting data linked to civics tests.
  • IDOE encourages all schools to motivate students to actively participate in the voting process


  • Implementation of law under way!
  • Resource guide published in July: compendium of all resources related to the law
  • Parent resource documents available in multiple languages on IDOE Dyslexia site
  • Professional awareness course available via Moodle ( Over 700 educators completed course so far!



  • Bottom 5% of Title 1 Schools
  • HS with <67% graduation rate
  • Federal designation based on score unrelated to state A-F designation


Complete a CNA/SIP based on federal requirements (Moodle template) for school
Complete climate/culture survey facilitated by Panorama


  • Student groups with an N size of 20+ (in any indicator) performing at or below the CSI calculation.


  • Complete a CNA/SIP based on federal requirements (Moodle template) for that student group


  • The Homelessness in Education Report released in August 2019 confirmed the impact of homelessness on the educational outcomes of identified homeless students in Indiana
    • On average, attendance rates are around 2-3 points lower for homeless students compared to non-homeless students across academic years
    • Twice as many homeless students received disciplinary action compared to non-homeless students, especially for violent/aggressive incidents  
    • Graduation rates (specifically students graduating with Core 40 or Honors diplomas) are substantially lower for homeless students compared to non-homeless students
    • ISTEP+ / ILEARN pass rates were 20-30% lower for this student population compared to statewide averages
    • In response to this report, the IDOE collaborated with various stakeholders to develop a Homelessness Remediation Plan
    • Addresses areas of concern such as attendance, discipline, graduation
    • Deliver to the SBOE in August 2019
    • Additional circumstances surrounding homelessness were examined
    • Over 70% of homeless students are impacted directly by trauma including physical/sexual abuse, family violence and drug/alcohol abuse
    • Student populations that are at an extremely elevated risk of becoming homeless include LGBTQ, teen parents, and students unable to earn a diploma
    • Homeless students are suspended and expelled at twice the rate of their peers
    • 2019 Homelessness Remediation Plan Goals
    • Restructure McKinney-Vento grant to incentivize collaboration and prioritize high-impact activities
    • Increased support for county wide / regional collaboration among homeless education liaisons and community-based service providers
    • Broaden and intensify services and supports offered to students at high risk of homelessness
    • Provide targeted professional development resources for various school personnel emphasizing collaboration and supportive/inclusive school culture
    • Provide tools that support LEAs in the decision-making process in regard to school selection, transportation and enrollment procedures
    • Develop or acquire an electronic system that will track and maintain individualized student eligibility, goal setting. service delivery, and transportation plans
    • Enact positive discipline practices to decrease suspension and expulsion rates

Superintendent Q&A with Dr. Don Lifto

Superintendent Q&A: Dr. Don Lifto

Former superintendent Dr. Don Lifto discusses leading and consulting school referendum campaigns, based on vast experience. 

Dr. Lifto knows everything there is to know regarding school tax elections. He knows so much, in fact, that he’s actually written two books. His most recent, School Tax Elections: Planning for Success in the New Normal, looks at all aspects of school bond and levy campaigns point-by-point.

Lifto’s decades-long career has focused on school referendums. Since 1992, he’s presented at more than two dozen conferences, including national conferences for the School Superintendents Association (AASA), the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO), and the National School Boards Association (NSBA). His work has been published over 20 times in national education journals, and he had consulted dozens of districts before becoming director at Baker Tilly, a leading advisory, tax, and assurance firm. Prior to consulting, Lifto began earning his experience with bond and levy referendums as an educator. For 25 years, he served as a superintendent in rural, suburban, and intermediate Minnesota districts.

Dr. Lifto sat down with us to discuss changes in school tax elections, and to provide basic advice for school districts, including controversial bond election strategies.