The Hechinger Report has partnered with The Indianapolis Star to examine what Indiana’s push to improve teacher effectiveness means for classrooms across the state.



Indiana ponders new measuring stick for student teachers

By Stephanie Wang

Kneeling on the classroom floor, student teacher Adam Samuels helps second-graders count Goldfish crackers and paper clips. Sure, this lesson quizzes the students on their math skills — but it’s also a test of Samuels’ ability to teach.

Indiana University, Bloomington (Photo by Justin Kern)

Indiana universities rethink student teaching

By Sarah Butrymowicz

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — On her last day of student teaching, Kirsten Smock was trying to guide her first-graders at West Terrace Elementary School through a lesson about fractions. She put up a picture of a circle divided in thirds, with one piece shaded green, and prompted students to describe the image. She wanted students to […]

Katie Bonfiglio, a 9th grade English Teacher at Arlington High School is part of a nationwide push underway to dramatically improve teacher training and evaluation through recording classes, then reviewing critiquing the footage. Arlington uses video routinely in teacher training and evaluation. Here she teaches her (Michelle Pemberton/The Star)

Teachers on screen: Video could be key tool

By Scott Elliott

For Marcus Robinson, the CEO of EdPower, videotaping teachers started out as just a way to solve a nagging student-teacher classroom conflict. EdPower runs two charter schools and last summer began managing Arlington after the state took the school over from Indianapolis Public Schools, citing six years of low test scores.

Student growth: Teachers must show proof

By Sarah Butrymowicz

Lesa Worthington, a third-grade teacher at Greensburg Elementary School, keeps a green folder on her desk for paperwork from her evaluation. It holds student data, information about the student learning objectives she had to set and painstakingly detailed notes from the five observations by her principal this year. By late April, the folder was stuffed. […]

Glenda Ritz thanks supporters for coming to her reception. The newly-elected Superintendent of Indiana Department of Public Education surprised students, staff and visitors at Crooked Creek Elementary School, Tuesday, November 27, 2012, by being sworn into office in front of them during an assembly. Ritz who beat Tony Bennett in the election earlier this month, was certified in the position as of noon today. Kelly Wilkinson / The Star

Indiana’s new education chief is changing the game on teacher evaluation

By Scott Elliott and Sarah Butrymowicz

When former Gov. Mitch Daniels and then State Superintendent for Public Instruction Tony Bennett pushed a massive overhaul of teacher evaluation through the legislature in 2011, the promise was a bold new system that would reward the best teachers, weed out the worst and for the first time tie pay raises to student test scores. […]

Questions abound as districts shift to merit pay for teachers

By Scott Elliott and Sarah Butrymowicz

If your child’s teacher seems a little bit on edge this year, it might not be your imagination. Education reforms now going into effect in Indiana, and similar ones sweeping the nation, are targeting something many Americans consider to be strictly off-limits: their paychecks. The laws passed in 2011 and being implemented over the next […]

Indiana to revamp its certification exam for principals

By Sarah Butrymowicz and Scott Elliott

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is poised to dramatically overhaul the way it determines whether educators are qualified to become principals. Starting in the fall of 2013, Indiana will abandon its mostly multiple-choice test for the administrator license required to become a principal or vice principal. Instead, the new test will feature “real practical, applicable scenarios—case-study kinds of […]

Indiana seeks to reform teacher training

By Sarah Butrymowicz

INDIANAPOLIS — Armed with clipboard and pencil, John Somers, an associate professor of teacher education, watches over a group of sixth-graders and two teachers-in-training at an Indianapolis elementary school. “A small concert hall has 98 seats and seven rows,” one aspiring teacher from the University of Indianapolis tells the children. “How many seats are there […]

Consulting Teacher Jennifer Hudson Roberts of Anderson Community Schools meets with teacher Shalimar Foster.

Using teachers to evaluate teachers

By Scott Elliott and Sarah Butrymowicz

INDIANAPOLIS — Any number of educators—principals, personnel directors, superintendents—can be called upon to evaluate teachers. But one school district in Indiana, Anderson, has decided that another group has perhaps the best expertise to judge quality teaching: other teachers. This type of peer review is catching on nationally but is rare in Indiana. That might soon change. […]

Raymond Park Intermediate Academy Principal Ryan Russell sits in on the fifth-grade classroom of Jen Hess for a three- to five-minute "walk through" evaluation of her class.

Indiana overhauls how it evaluates teachers

By Scott Elliott and Sarah Butrymowicz

INDIANAPOLIS — Reform: There is perhaps no idea more embraced in education circles nationally—and especially here. Indiana is in the midst of a massive education reform effort that includes the creation of vouchers, increasing the number of charter schools and adopting a new system to hold schools accountable. For the first time, that includes taking control of […]