Executive Director’s March 2018 Report

Posted on March 20, 2018

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IAPSS was fortunate to have over 85 school district leaders attending the AASA National Conference on Education in Nashville TN in mid-February. This is the largest contingent IAPSS has had attending the National Conference in a number of years. Perhaps part of the draw was to support and celebrate Indiana’s very first National Superintendent of the Year finalist, Dr. Wendy Robinson, Superintendent, Fort Wayne Community Schools. It appeared all 85 attendees were in the audience when the finalist were announced. IAPSS congratulates, Dr. Dave Shuler, Illinois superintendent, as the National Superintendent of the Year.

IAPSS also wants to thank American Fidelity for hosting a dinner to recognize and celebrate the IAPSS President, Dr. Jeff Butts and our SOY, Dr. Wendy Robinson. Hosted in a typical Nashville music house, our Indiana group had a great time listening to music and networking.

IAPSS also thanks Education Networks of America (ENA) for hosting the Indiana breakfast at the conference. We learned about new tools to use with tracking the use of software in our classrooms from ENA. We heard an update on the proposed Graduation Pathways from Dr. Jeff Butts, and we learned about a new research project from Dr. Phil Downs, Superintendent, SW Allen County Schools, that actually calculates the amount of voucher dollars being drained from all Indiana School districts. IAPSS will share more on this important research at a later time.

The Indiana General Assembly is winding down. Like most sessions, we have things to thank the legislators for and things for which we scratch our heads. We now have the ability for students to use sun screen in school legislated into law. Whew, glad they got that done. Legislation was developed to restore funding for a spike in enrollment that was unanticipated. Thank them for that. We have legislation that will track ups and downs in school district finances and put districts on the bad list, I mean watch list, to be dealt with by the distressed unit appeals board. We also have school boards being eliminated in two school districts and for the first time in Indiana history, we have a school district being taken over by a university. Where did that come from? I have learned never to be surprised by what comes out of the legislative process. So, I think it is time to go buy a cold beer on Sunday to quench my thirst after this session, also a first in Indiana thanks to legislative action and the quick action by our Governor to get this important legislation signed into law.

We are also awaiting the deliberation of the State Board of Education (SBOE) to determine the final steps of the Graduation pathways and Indiana’s new school accountability plans. Note: both plans add meaningless and time-consuming testing and are not consistent with one of the top ten ESSA plans in the United States. HMMMMM.

Spring is just around the corner. Let’s look for brighter days ahead. To all Indiana school district leaders, thank you for your leadership and support of Indiana’s public schools and the children we serve.