As the newly elected President of the IPS Board of Commissioners that oversees this district, I want to take a minute to address the drop in 2014-2015 ISTEP scores that recently were released. I understand that our families and teachers may be disappointed.
 
That’s why I want to take an opportunity to make sure everyone understands that this Board takes accountability very seriously, but these scores are a look back, not a look forward. This was a new test using new standards, and it was widely expected that scores across the state would go down in the first year.
 
Accountability is far more than one set of test scores: It’s a commitment to student achievement that we share with those in our schools each day, and it played a strong role in the strategic plan we crafted and adopted last year.
 
Our schools track student achievement every day in our classrooms. Our teachers have a number of assessments available to them, and they are using those tools to find out where our students are excelling and where they need help.
 
Even as our ISTEP scores decreased in the 2014-2015 school year, we are seeing signs of improvement in other assessments. Our tenth-grade English scores are on the rise, and our graduation rate is heading in the right direction with fewer students relying on waivers.
 
We are taking action in schools that have chronically failed to live up to our expectations. We are making our schools safer with disciplinary policies that keep our kids in the classroom, and we’re extremely proud that 90 percent of our students last year developed a postsecondary education plan that focuses on what they will do after the graduate.
 
More than anything, I want our families to know that we now have an accountability system in place for ourselves and our schools. The strategic plan we adopted last year is a guidepost for future successes, and we will use it to set goals and gauge our progress moving forward.
 
We hope our families and teachers understand that the most recent set of ISTEP scores does not reflect the hard work we know is happening every day in our classrooms to help our students prepare for success after graduation. If you have any questions about ISTEP or anything else happening in our district, please contact me at sullivma@myips.org. I look forward to serving our schools and families.