CONNERSVILLE – As schools strive to cope with the impact of COVID-19, they are exploring innovative ways to meet the needs of students.
“We have the opportunity to lead in Indiana,” Secretary of State for Education Katie Jenner said recently at a panel discussion at the East Central Educational Service Center in Connersville. As she noted that “kids are more than just a data point, and we know that as educators,” the room filled with educational leaders from school districts in eastern Indiana erupted into applause. .
“How could we get out of our own way and break down these barriers?” She asked. “The only way is for Kindergarten to Grade 12 and higher education to sit at the table together.”
ECESC created the platform for this conversation at its recent event by bringing together Jenner with Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, Sue Ellspermann, former Lieutenant Governor and President of Ivy Tech Community College, Jason Callahan, assistant secretary of Student Pathways and Opportunities at IDOE, leaders of 27 school districts in Eastern Indiana and several community partners.
“The only way to do this job is to partner up all of us,” said Ellspermann. “We can’t team up enough, and that’s how we’re all going to win.”
Listed grant partners include IU East, Ball State, Ivy Tech, Bowen Center, and Fayette County EDG. New community partners continue to join and the ECESC is looking to add more by helping 29 of its member schools overcome these barriers through the funded $ 3.5 million Student Learning Recovery Grant. by Bill 1008.
“The real value of this grant is the strong collaboration and networking system,” said Katie Lash, Executive Director of ECESC. “We will be in your districts with you to ensure that we bring tools and resources that match priorities specific to our region and build the capacity of our schools in East Central Indiana.”
One of the greatest needs of education is human labor to support student learning, which each of the major grant partners provides in one form or another. Merisotis addressed the need to “think critically, reason ethically, interact interpersonally and serve others with empathy” in our schools by sharing her vision from her most recent book, Human Work at the era of intelligent machines.
“These rural communities are at the heart of what we should be focusing on for long-term transition opportunities,” Merisotis said. “We need to do a better job of working together regionally and statewide to learn from others. “
The evening focused on the grant’s shared vision to support K-12 schools in their most important work. Districts will have the opportunity to create goals specific to their students and local communities as the collaboration will continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the students most affected by the pandemic.
“The synergy in the room was so invigorating at the Gala. School districts, higher education, and community partners all shared a common goal of student learning and meaningful work. The sum is much greater than its parts. Greensburg Community Schools are thrilled to be part of the ECESC-led Student Learning Restoration Grant, ”said Tammy Williams, Director of Education and Programs, Greensburg Community Schools.
Lisa Baudendistel, Principal of Laurel Elementary School, added, “The Franklin County Community School Society is honored to be a part of Grant 1008. We look forward to working with our community partners to positively impact our students. ! The commitment of the many professionals of our region was manifested through the enormous participation in the Gala.