State Superintendent sits down in the PNN studio for an Interview

On Thursday, March 22nd, State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick visited Penn High School, accompanied by PHM Superintendent Dr. Thacker and Penn Principal, Sean Galiher. She toured robotics as well as sat down with PNN reporter Abbie Hembrecht to discuss growth and action in Indiana schools.

Dr. McCormick discussed a new school safety academy coming to Indiana, one of the only states that offers more training and information to its educators. She discussed the importance of community and financial support as a way to keep schools safe in an open letter in the South Bend Tribune. “I have strongly encouraged [Indiana’s executive leaders] to address school safety. These actions must include passing policies which decrease risks, provide support social and emotional programs to address mental and behavioral health, and approve budgets that increase resources.”

3rd-8th graders took their final ISTEP test this school year, but sophomores will continue for another 2 years. The widely disliked test was extended to avoid a “filler test” to take its place as its successor, ILEARN, finishes. ILEARN will replace ISTEP, promising a computer-based faster, smoother program for students. The Indiana Department of Education updated their website on the matter, as well.  “ILEARN measures student achievement and growth according to Indiana Academic Standard,” states  “ILEARN is the summative accountability assessment for Indiana students in grades 3-8 and assesses English/Language Arts (Grades 3-8), Math (Grades 3-8), Science (Grades 4 and 6), and Social Studies (Grade 5)”.

In more recent news, Ball State University dropped their charter school in South Bend (Xavier Charter School of Excellence) as a result of receiving a failing grade. Dr. McCormick put forth her input on how she believes other Indiana charter schools are doing and what they can do to improve themselves.

“I’m a firm believer in growth,” says McCormick, “…so whether you’re an elementary student or middle school or high school there’s always room for growth. As a student, even as an adult, you want growth. And so we were fighting for growth.”