East Central Educational Service Center launches grant with gala | Local News

CONNERSVILLE — As schools grapple with the impact of COVID-19, they are exploring innovative ways to meet student needs.

“We have an opportunity to lead in Indiana,” Secretary of Education Katie Jenner said during a panel discussion at the East Central Educational Service Center in Connersville recently. As she noted that “kids are more than just a data point, and we know that as educators,” the room full of education leaders from school districts across eastern Indiana erupted in applause. .

“How could we get out of our own way and break down those barriers? she asked. “The only way is for K-12 and higher education to sit together at the table.”

ECESC created the platform for this conversation at its recent event by bringing Jenner together 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 to IDOE, leaders from 27 eastern Indiana school districts, and several community partners.

“The only way to make this work is if we all partner together,” Ellspermann said. “We can’t partner 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 ECESC is looking to add more by helping 29 of its member schools overcome these barriers as part of the $3.5 million Learning Recovery Grant. of students funded by House 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 by your side to ensure that we bring tools and resources that align with our region-specific priorities and build capacity in our East Central Indiana schools.”

One of the greatest needs in 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 his insight from his latest book, Human Work in the Age of Smart 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 collaborating regionally and statewide to learn from each other.”

The evening focused on the grant’s shared vision of supporting 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 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 far greater than its parts. Greensburg Community Schools is thrilled to be part of the ECESC-led Student Learning Recovery Scholarship,” said Tammy Williams, Director of Instruction and Curriculum, Greensburg Community Schools .

Lisa Baudendistel, Principal of Laurel Elementary School, added, “The Franklin County Community School Corporation is honored to be part of Grant 1008. We look forward to working with our community partners to make a positive impact on our students! The commitment of the many professionals in our region was demonstrated by the enormous attendance at the gala.

Information provided

Janice G. Ball