Navigating Indiana’s Literacy Training Requirement for Educators – Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather | Indiana Traffic

(INDIANA CAPITAL CHRONICLE) — In response to widespread pushback from Hoosier educators, state officials have issued new guidance — with more “flexibility” — on a new literacy licensure requirement that was adopted by the General Assembly earlier this year.

But questions persist for many teachers, and some remain opposed to the new professional development mandate altogether.

Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner said in a letter to teachers on Friday that their input has prompted the state’s education department to adjust and add training options. Some educators have additionally been exempted from the license requirements, as long as they aren’t teaching literacy to students past fifth grade.

“I’m grateful for the collective effort to balance the urgent need to overcome Indiana’s literacy crisis with our shared desire to increase flexibility for educators,” Jenner said in her weekly education newsletter.

The Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) applauded Jenner for “acknowledging the extensive requirements of the new literacy endorsement” and said the updated guidance “is a testament to the importance of educator advocacy.”

The state’s largest teachers union — along with dozens of its members — spent more than four hours before the State Board of Education earlier this month, criticizing the “unfair” and “overwhelming” 80-hour training. Many pleaded for more options to be made available for teachers to complete the professional development course — or that it be removed as a requirement altogether.

Jenner and other state education officials have repeatedly maintained that the requirement cannot be eliminated altogether, given that it’s a statutory requirement from lawmakers.

“The adjustments to these requirements reflect the voices and concerns of educators across Indiana,” ISTA president Keith Gambill said in a statement, adding that the union “will continue to advocate for further changes and increased flexibility.”

What’s required of teachers

The training requirement requires all Pre-K to Grade 6 and special education teachers to complete 80 hours of professional development on science of reading concepts and pass a written exam. Teachers won’t be able to renew their license without doing so.

State lawmakers approved the literacy training requirement during the 2024 legislative session as part of an effort to reverse lagging literacy scores among Hoosier students.

Indiana’s reading scores have been on the decline for more than a decade. According to data from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), in 2023, one in five Hoosier third graders lacked foundational reading skills.

Under the law, teachers renewing their licenses after July 1, 2027 must have earned an “Early Literacy Endorsement.” They can do so through Keys to Literacy, a free third-party professional development program, through 2025. Teachers are eligible for a $1,200 stipend for the 80-hour Keys to Literacy training, and the state is covering the cost of the PRAXIS exam.

New teachers will need the endorsement next summer if they are receiving their license for the first time.

Teachers encouraged state officials that many of the free training courses are already full, however, leaving only a few other options for which teachers must pay for out of pocket.

Jenner said earlier this month that 12,000 teachers signed up for the Keys to Literacy training in three weeks. Following rounds of earlier concerns, IDOE announced May 8 that the state is adding cohorts.

Additional sessions were added for spring and summer, increasing the total number of cohorts from 12 to 64 — each with approximately 200 educators. More cohorts are also open for both Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 “in response to the early demand,” according to IDOE.

Still, some teachers said they’re concerned funding will run out before they complete the course.

IDOE officials said the Keys to Literacy training — and the adjoining stipend — will be available to any educator who completes the literacy endorsement through June 2025. The $1,200 is part of Indiana’s investment of more than $170 million into literacy, supported in part by grants from the Lilly Endowment.

Jenner said she and other officials will “absolutely continue to advocate for sustained funding for free teacher literacy training” when the General Assembly convenes in January to build the 2025-2027 budget.

Jenner’s Friday update included other changes meant to help teachers access the training, too.

The IDOE will allow the full 80 hours of required professional development to be completed asynchronously starting July 1. Efforts are also underway to expand the list of approved training options, and teachers who have already registered but wish to instead participate in the new option will be able to do so, Jenner said.

Additionally, teachers with a PK-6 “parent license” who do not currently teach PK-5 literacy will no longer be required to earn the early literacy endorsement, which ISTA representatives said will offer “significant relief to educators focused on other content areas. ”

An educator who holds a PK-6 parent license but teaches in a content area that does not involve literacy instruction for PK-5 students will not be required to earn the early literacy endorsement, according to IDOE. If the educator taught PK-5 literacy later on, they would still be required to earn endorsements in order to renew their license, though.

Jenner also acknowledged concerns about the PRAXIS exam and said IDOE is committed to “exploring other potential ways to provide a consistent, quality measure that ensures we are best implementing the science of reading practices.”

What comes next?

Despite the updates, numerous Hoosier teachers said it’s unclear whether they must still complete the professional development training.

Lori Weaver, in Evansville, holds Pre-K-3 and K-12 special education licenses but currently teaches in a high school setting. Weaver said she wants to keep her credentials — but because she doesn’t teach literacy to younger students — she doesn’t feel she should have to complete the new endorsement.

“It’s relieving to see they’re listening and trying to make changes … because I don’t think (all teachers) should have to be wrapped up in this if it’s not relevant to what we’re directly responsible for teaching our students,” Weaver said. “But I still don’t have a guarantee that I don’t have to do (the training), so that stress is still there.”

In an example outlined in IDOE’s new guidance, an educator who currently teaches high school math — or another content area that is not literacy — and who does not plan to teach PK-5 literacy in the future, “will not be required to add the early literacy endorsement.”

To be exempt, IDOE officials said a “written assurance form” will be shared prior to July 1, 2027, when the early literacy endorsement requirement begins. The form will require a signature by district and school administrators confirming that the teacher is not currently teaching PK-5 literacy “and does not plan to do so in the future.”

“There are too few details about what that form will look like and what kinds of hoops I might have to jump through to get it approved,” said Haley Singer, a middle school special education teacher in Indianapolis.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Indiana teachers who’ve already signed up say they’re dropping the Keys to Literacy course as a protest of the training requirement. Others said they’re set to register and, for now, refuse to do so.

A half-dozen teachers who spoke to the Indiana Capital Chronicle — some of whom were not comfortable speaking publicly out of fear of retribution from school or district administrators — said they viewed the literacy endorsement as an “attack” on the state’s already qualified, but overworked, teachers.

They said, too, that the possibility of a $1,200 stipend does little to compensate educators for their personal time used for the training course.

“It’s the summer. “I should be with my kids, my family — not with my nose in my computer being re-taught the science of reading, which is not new to me or many other educators,” said Kyle Peterson, who teaches at an elementary school in the northeast Indiana. “We already have so much other professional development we’re required to complete … on top of all the education and coursework we have to pass just to get our license in the first place. … Yes, there is a literacy problem in Indiana. But why are we only pointing the finger at teachers?”

A global education network rich with opportunities

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The three Brighton Colleges in the UAE continue to celebrate their rich and authentic connections with Brighton College in the UK bringing numerous benefits to pupils, staff and parents. These connections encompass various aspects from sharing the same ethos and values ​​and curriculum, to regular quality assurance visits, professional development opportunities, university support and guidance, portability between the colleges, an illustrious alumni network, inter-college competitions and parent engagement.

Annual College Peer Review

Most recently Brighton College UK and the three Brighton College UAE schools established an annual peer school review to further enhance the already strong partnership and governance that exists between the three schools. The annual review brought together school leaders and experts from Brighton College UK, Brighton College UAE as well as Bloom Education; with the one aim to continue to drive the delivery of an outstanding education integrated with the Brighton College values ​​and ways of working.

Future Careers and University Guidance

Brighton College offers a university support and guidance program for all pupils, ensuring that they graduate to leading universities across the world. The UAE schools recently welcomed a visit from Richard Worrollo, Director of Global Futures at Brighton College International, who gave a talk on the ‘Current University Landscape’ for those seeking inspiration and insight about the world of universities.

In addition, Brighton College Dubai school launched an Oxbridge Group to help prepare pupils for the application process, while Sixth Form pupils from the UAE are given the opportunity to experience valuable guidance from the university counselor in the UK during the annual visit to the home school .

Professional Alumni Network

The Brighton College Connect Alumni Network plays a vital role in nurturing a strong sense of community amongst its past and current pupils, providing graduates with invaluable access to a vast network of connections worldwide. Comprising Old Brightonians, the network offers assistance to graduates in various areas such as with internship opportunities, interview practice, career guidance and mentorship. By utilizing the trusted environment of Brighton College, Brighton College Connect empowers Old Brightonians to re-connect with former classmates and expand their professional network.

Inter-college Competitions

To foster healthy competition and academic growth among the pupils, the Brighton Colleges host a range of international competitions including, Young Musician of the Year, Leonardo Creative Competition for budding artists, and a science competition.

Global Parent Community

Brighton College also offers various opportunities for global parent involvement through webinars to keep parents informed and engaged and the Brighton Society, a social network specifically designed for parents to network and be part of a community. Additionally, the Brighton Lecture Series webinar provides a platform for intellectual growth and discussion.

The Brighton Colleges in the UAE remain dedicated to enhancing their already strong ties with Brighton College UK to enrich the educational experience for its pupils and to nurture a vibrant and inclusive community. Through these connections, pupils, staff and parents continue to benefit from a truly global educational network.

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About Brighton College Dubai

Brighton College Dubai is a co-educational independent school that offers a distinctively British education to pupils aged from three to 18 years old. As the sister school of Brighton College UK, Brighton College Dubai has strong and tangible links to England’s ‘School of the Decade’, as named in the Sunday Times Parent Power League Table 2020.

Since launching its purpose-built campus in Al Barsha South in 2018 the College has been crowned by Schools Compared Top School Awards as ‘Best New School in the UAE 2018-2024’, while Which School Advisor credits the College for delivering “quite possibly the most outstanding early year’s practice in the UAE”. In addition, the College was recently graded as ‘Very Good’ by the KHDA and achieved ‘Outstanding’ in all areas of a recent British Schools Overseas report and has also celebrated outstanding GCSE and A-Level results. Talk Education describes the College as “One of the most desirable schools in the city”.

Brighton College Dubai is operated by Bloom Education, a Bloom Holding subsidiary, and delivers the highest standard British curriculum in the UAE, as well as inspiring pupils to appreciate and value local heritage and cultural diversity. As well as Brighton College Dubai, Bloom Education operates a Brighton College campus in Al Ain, rated Outstanding by ADEK and another in Abu Dhabi, renowned for its outstanding GCSE and A Level results.

For more information please visit: https://www.brightoncollegedubai.ae/

About Brighton College Al Ain

In 2016, Brighton College Al Ain achieved the esteemed ‘Outstanding’ rating from ADEK, becoming one of only five schools in the Emirate to do so, and the first in Al Ain. This commitment to excellence persisted, as the school maintained the ‘Outstanding’ rating in 2018 and once more during its most recent inspection in 2023, solidifying its distinction as the sole school in Al Ain to attain this prestigious rating.

Located in Zakher, the purpose-built 28-acre campus features state-of-the-art educational facilities, including a 450-seat auditorium, an IAFF-accredited athletics track, a 25-meter swimming pool, all-weather football pitches, and cutting-edge science and ICT labs. Aligned with the standards upheld by Brighton College UK (voted England’s School of the decade by the Sunday Times) and other Brighton Colleges worldwide, the campus underscores the school’s dedication to providing an exceptional level of education.

With a diverse student body consisting of Emirati and expatriate pupils from around the world, they offer a vibrant and challenging learning environment alongside a distinct British independent school ethos for students aged 3 to 18 years old. Brighton College Al Ain nurtures talents, skills, and character and provides a rich extra-curricular program that complements academic studies.

Operated by Bloom Education, Brighton College Al Ain is consistently ranked as one of the top-performing schools for academic results in the UAE, college pupils secure offers at leading universities around the world pursuing further studies in fields including Medicine, Law, Engineering, Finance , English and the Sciences.

Bloom Education, a Bloom Holding subsidiary, delivers the highest standards of a British curriculum education in the UAE and is committed to inspiring its pupils to appreciate and value local heritage and cultural diversity.

https://www.brightoncollegealain.ae/

About Brighton College Abu Dhabi

Brighton College Abu Dhabi is rated ‘Very Good’ by ADEK and stands as one of the top British-curriculum schools in the Middle East, catering to pupils aged 3 to 18 years old. Operated by Bloom Education, the school consistently delivers exceptional academic results, offers a wide array of co-curricular activities, provides outstanding pastoral care and fosters a strong sense of community at its core.

Recognized as one of the ‘Top 10’ private schools in the Middle East in the 2024 Spear’s Schools Index in partnership with Thuso, Brighton College Abu Dhabi is part of the renowned Brighton College family of Schools and serves as the sister school to England’s ‘School of the Decade’ (The Sunday Times).

Pupils at Brighton College Abu Dhabi experience a vibrant and demanding learning environment, underpinned by a distinct British independent school ethos that mirrors the values ​​and dynamic culture of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.

Situated in a purpose-built campus adjacent to Khalifa Park, the school features state-of-the-art facilities and is staffed by highly experienced and talented academic and support staff, maintaining the exceptional standard of education upheld by other Brighton Colleges worldwide.

Brighton College Abu Dhabi equips its pupils with the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve excellent GCSE and A-Level results, ensuring that its alumni secure placements at leading universities across the globe. The Class of 2023 held over 100 offers from Russell Group Universities and went on to study at universities including Exeter, Manchester, UCL, Leeds, Durham and King’s College London. Beyond the UK pupils attend prestigious institutions including Berkley, Dartmouth, UCLA, Purdue, University of Toronto, University of Geneva and Rome University of the Arts.

The school’s consecutive recognition as the ‘British School of the Year’ by LUXLife Private Education Awards in both 2022 and 2023 underscores its ongoing success.

Bloom Education, a Bloom Holding subsidiary, delivers the highest standards of a British curriculum education in the UAE and is committed to inspiring its pupils to appreciate and value local heritage and cultural diversity.

https://www.brightoncollege.ae/

About Bloom Education

Bloom Education supports the development of future generations through partnerships with world-class international education brands, owns brand schools and nurseries, and the operations of UAE Charter Schools and New Generation Schools.

A pioneer in the Middle East education sector for more than 10 years, Bloom Education has introduced and operated leading American, English and International Baccalaureate curriculum education brands in the UAE market and has provided exceptional educational experiences and opportunities to more than 16,000 students. The partner of choice for international school brand Brighton College, Bloom Education has been entrusted to deliver and sustain the highest international standards locally and has been selected by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) to operate the Abu Dhabi Charter Schools program. Bloom Education has also been chosen by Emirates Schools Establishment (ESE) to operate schools in the Northern Emirates, as part of the ‘Ajyal’ (new ‘generation’) school initiative.

With a keen focus on providing the best educational opportunities to help craft better futures for the youth of the UAE, Bloom Education launched its first ‘own-brand’ premium IB school, Bloom World Academy, in Dubai in August 2022. The school has introduced many firsts in the UAE, such as Learning Achievement Passports (LAP), individual learning pathways and the later start time of 9am, allowing for students’ learning to be in balance with family life. Bloom Education’s opportunity-rich environments allow it to nurture its community of students so they can reach their highest potential – intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally and their success is reflected in the high quality of their graduates who continue their studies at leading universities around the world, including the Ivy league and Russell Group.

As the population grows and the world becomes more competitive, Bloom Education’s focus continues to be on discovering the world’s best education brands and to provide stellar alternatives to move abroad for a world-class education.
For more information, please visit https://www.bloomeducation.com/

GCSE: AI added to ‘outdated’ computer science content

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) must be taught under proposed changes to the “outdated” computer science GCSE, the government has said.

Under the changes published today and open to consultation, the Department for Education also suggests that visual programming languages ​​can be used to meet programming requirements.

The study of computer science will also be “better represented” as an academic discipline.

The DfE expects that the proposed updates to the GCSE will be first taught in 2026.

Technology has ‘moved on’

The changes “respond to recent advances in technology” to ensure students acquire skills that are “most relevant to further study or employment in computing and a broad range of other disciplines”, the DfE has said.

The consultation states: “The current computer science GCSE subject content was published by the Department for Education in January 2015, and since that time digital technology has moved on, meaning that some content is outdated.”

Key changes to the subject content include “the opportunity for visual programming languages ​​to be used in meeting the programming requirements” and a clarification confirming that “AI must be considered within the teaching of the impacts of digital technologies”, the DfE added.

The consultation was launched today and will close on the 21 July 2024.

The proposals come amid increased concerns around the use of AI by students placing a “significant burden” on teachers.

The proposed changes have been published after the British Computer Society convened a review group of subject experts – requested by the DfE – to ensure the GCSE “would remain relevant to digital technology, both now and in the foreseeable future, given the rapid pace of change ”.

Proposed changes also include “greater transparency of the underlying programming knowledge and skills students need to learn” and a content restructure “to aid its coherence and flow”.

With the proposed changes around the inclusion of visual programming languages, the DfE has said it “will be for awarding organizations to decide if they wish to offer the GCSE in a textual or visual language, or both”.

Exam board OCR announced in December that it plans to offer the first fully digitally-assessed GCSE in computer science for students starting their course in 2025 if it receives regulatory approval from Ofqual.

Meanwhile, AQA announced it would delay the rollout of its digital languages ​​exams earlier this year.

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