[December 14, 2015] The Indiana Department of Education announced that two Indiana schools have been named National Title I Distinguished Schools.  Francis W. Parker School 56 in Indianapolis Public Schools was honored as a National Title I Distinguished School for Exceptional Student Performance for a Title I school.  Additionally, Valley Grove Elementary School in Anderson Community School Corporation was honored as a National Title I Distinguished School for Closing the Achievement Gap.
 
Every day, I see great teaching and learning happening across our Hoosier state. I am honored to recognize the exceptional work of these two Hoosier schools.  I applaud the students and educators at Francis W Parker School and Valley Grove Elementary.  I know that they will continue to serve their communities, and our state, very well. To learn more, please read the attached press release.
 
I’m very happy to announce to you that President Obama signed into Law the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) the new ESEA Reauthorization Law that replaces “No Child Left Behind Act”(NCLB) and ESEA Flexibility Waivers. As we get more information and rules from our partners and from U.S. ED, we will make sure it gets passed on to the appropriate sections and divisions to be implemented.  Our NCLB Waiver is still in effect until August 1, 2016, which means we still need to be doing our due diligence in making sure we stay in compliance. Attached are some of the highlights of ESSA. 
 
Last week the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Recruitment and Retention of Excellent Educators held their last meeting. Their proposals include establishing a mentoring program for beginning teachers, more local control of teacher evaluation and compensation, identifying and funding professional development for educators and administrators, and recruiting and retaining a diverse teacher workforce. I will work with state legislators, the State Board of Education and other stakeholders to develop legislation, update State Board rules and make changes to Departmental policies.
 
Additional information about the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Recruitment and Retention of Excellent Educators can be found here: www.doe.in.gov/blueribbon  
 
Finally, I know many of you area aware of a recent report in the Indianapolis Star regarding CTB’s scoring of the 2015 ISTEP+. The Department has requested additional detailed information from CTB about ISTEP+ scoring.  I remain committed to ensuring that every student receives proper credit for their performance on the ISTEP+.  As we receive additional information from CTB, I will make sure to keep you informed.  
 
Have a great week!     
Sincerely, 
Glenda Ritz, Superintendent of Public Instruction
 
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