TeachPlus

These 20 new Teach Plus fellows will use their classroom experience to help shape education policy

PHOTO: Provided by Teach Plus
The 2017-18 Teaching Policy Fellows for Teach Plus Indianapolis.

For the first several years of his career as a teacher, Nick Brewer was focused on his classroom. When education policy changes came along, he thought about what it would mean for his class.

“I would think … how do I live with whatever change this is — good or evil,” he said.

But a couple of years ago, the middle school teacher from Washington Township started studying to be an administrator, and he began to think about the broader impact of policy choices.

Now, Brewer is looking to have a hand in education policy as one of 20 new fellows for Teach Plus Indianapolis. Teach Plus is part of a national organization that trains teachers to advocate for policy, and it has been working with educators in Indianapolis since 2009. In the past, fellows have pushed for new teacher evaluation models in Indianapolis Public Schools and for a common enrollment system for public and charter schools.

“A lot of times education policy kind of gets dictated to us,” said Brewer. “Teach Plus was a very attractive opportunity to become a participant in the policy, as opposed to just passive.”

Brewer comes from a family of educators, but when he started college he did not intend to become a teacher. He had seen how hard and time-consuming the job was, he said.

“What I hadn’t seen was the relationships you form with kids, how enjoyable it is to teach something and have someone really learn it,” he said. “I didn’t feel the positives of teaching until I really got into the classroom.”

“I really want people to know,” Brewer continued, “teaching is an awesome profession to have.”

Here is the full list of 2017-18 Teach Plus Indianapolis Teaching Policy Fellows:

Idalmi Acosta, Harshman Magnet Middle School

Nicholas Brewer, Westlane Middle School

Mariah Cawthorne, Westland Middle School

Emily Chestnut, William McKinley School 39

Olivia Corya, KIPP Indy College Prep

Melody Coryell, Shortridge High School

Phoebe Duvall, Paramount School of Excellence

Nathan Evans, Avondale Meadows Academy

Shivani Goyal, Clarence Farrington Elementary School 61

Pennie Gregory, George Washington Community School

Shon Harris, Avondale Meadows Academy

Kayla Marshall, Paramount School of Excellence

Stephanie Mizen, Cold Spring Magnet School

RonNella Moore, The Excel Center-Meadows

Nichole Moore, North Madison Elementary School

Matthew Perkins, H.L. Harshman Magnet Middle School

Susan Scroggins, Herron High School

Katherine Speer, KIPP Indy College Prep Middle

Sarah TeKolste, Emmerich Manual High School

Haley Wing, James Whitcomb Riley School 43

Nevermind

Colorado’s biggest universities were left off a report on which high schools set up their graduates for college success

PHOTO: Seth McConnell, The Denver Post

A Plus Colorado, an advocacy group that uses research to push for higher student achievement, has withdrawn a report that cast a dim light on the college prospects of most Colorado high school graduates. The report was based on flawed data from the Colorado Department of Higher Education that excluded the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University, both well-regarded schools that are major destinations for students who stay in-state.

A Plus Colorado plans to reissue the report in a few months with correct data. Chalkbeat wrote a story based on the report, which we have removed because the new report may not support the premise of the original version.

That report had found that just 4 percent of Colorado high school graduates went on to enroll in one of the schools ranked among the nation’s top 150 universities and top 150 colleges as identified by U.S. News and World Report. The implication was that many high schools aren’t doing a great job at preparing their students for higher education.

The finding caught the eye of Superintendent Walt Cooper of Cheyenne Mountain School District in Colorado Springs because he knew his students had done much better than the report indicated. A Plus Colorado CEO Van Schoales credited Cooper for flagging the mistake.

In a statement posted to its website, A Plus Colorado apologized.

“A Plus Colorado deeply apologizes for the misinformation provided in our report and will reissue the report, A Seat at the Table: Colorado Students’ Access to Top Colleges, with the corrected matriculation data for all Colorado high schools and the 300 selective colleges and universities,” the statement said. “This is the first time that A Plus Colorado has had to reissue a report because of missing or inaccurate data. Accurate education data and analysis is the core value for A Plus Colorado.”

Beth Bean, the chief research and strategy officer for the Department of Higher Education, took responsibility for the mistake and said measures are being put in place to prevent this from happening again.

“We try to share data with external advocacy groups because the information they put out is good, and we don’t have the manpower,” she said. “Obviously we want it to be accurate.”

All sides of the education debate depend on data to make their case, and when there are mistakes in the numbers, there can be ripple effects. In 2016, Padres y Jovenes Unidos had to walk back a report that seemed to show a spike in out-of-school suspensions after years of declines. In that case, the school districts had reported bad information to the state.

Here’s what happened with A Seat at the Table, according to A Plus Colorado and Bean:

A Plus Colorado submitted a data request to the Colorado Department of Higher Education for matriculation data for a list of 300 colleges and universities for the classes of 2009 to 2015. Due to a data cross-walking error, the underlying data provided by the Colorado Department of Higher Education did not include data from the full list of these colleges and universities, including University of Colorado — Boulder and Colorado State University, leading to a significant discrepancy in the reported and actual matriculation data.

While A Plus Colorado validated the overall matriculation rate at each school, the data provided by the Colorado Department of Higher Education was aggregated across the requested list of colleges. As such, A Plus Colorado was unable to validate whether specific higher education institutions were missing from the data set. The Colorado Department of Higher Education has since improved their validation process for future data sharing and reporting.

Bean said validation processes are being developed for one-off data requests like those made by A Plus Colorado. Such measures have been in place for years for the reports the department generates for the state legislature, and Bean said this incident shouldn’t cause any doubt or question on the accuracy of reports on, for example, remedial education or concurrent enrollment.

“We stand behind having solid data,” she said. “We’ve been doing those for years, and the code has been validated. We’re now building that into our external data reports.”

Future of Schools

These 29 Indianapolis administrators could lose their jobs

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy

Indianapolis Public Schools has identified dozens of principals, deans and other administrators who could lose their jobs at the end of the year, many because of the decision to close high schools.

As the district pursues plans to close three of its seven high schools, the superintendent recommended that the board cancel the contracts of 29 administrators effective July 1.

The list of administrators includes two high school principals and several assistant principals and deans whose contracts could be canceled because of the high school closing plan. Several high school athletic directors could also have their contracts canceled because the district is changing the job description and requirements for those positions, according to IPS spokesperson Carrie Cline Black.

They were all invited to apply to other open positions in the district, but the district is canceling their contracts because state law requires districts to notify certain administrators by March 1 if their contracts will not be renewed, according to Black.

The recommendation, which is included in the district’s monthly personnel report, is not entirely surprising, since the district anticipated having fewer administrators once it consolidates campuses. But the district had not previously revealed which staff members could lose their positions.

This is just the latest sign of the upheaval caused by the high school closings. Hundreds of high school teachers were required to reapply for their jobs, and students were required to select new high school programs for next year.

Here is the full list of staffers the superintendent recommended canceling contracts for:

Arlington High School

  • Debra Barlowe, dean
  • Arthur Dumas, dean
  • David Tuttle, assistant principal
  • Debra Ward, assistant principal
  • Danny Wilson, athletic director

Arsenal Technical High School

  • Anne Deckard, dean
  • Sheldon Floyd, assistant principal
  • Steven Glenn, dean
  • Thomas Starnes, athletic director
  • Roslyn Stradford, assistant principal
  • Lisa Williams, dean

Broad Ripple High School

  • John Edge, assistant principal
  • Robert Moses, interim assistant principal
  • Rachel Norwood, magnet coordinator
  • Vickie Winslow, dean

Crispus Attucks High School

  • Kenneth Roseman, athletic director
  • Joshua Varno, athletic director

George Washington High School

  • Emily Butler, principal
  • Zachary Ervin, dean
  • Patrick Kennison, assistant principal
  • Charonda Woods, assistant principal

Northwest Community High School

  • Moshfilay Anderson, athletic director
  • Eileen Bell, assistant principal
  • Michelle Brittain-Watts, principal
  • Martha Lince, dean
  • Alan Smith, assistant principal
  • Albert Young, dean

Positive Supports Academy

  • Kevin Brown, dean

Shortridge High School

  • Kathy Langdon, athletic director