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March 1, 2013

Prepped for ISTEP

Students begin testing Monday

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — As they put pencils down to paper, students across the state will work to bring up ISTEP+ scores for their school districts as the testing season begins Monday.

From third through eighth grade, state testing will assess schools in four different subject areas, two of which they’re held accountable for by the Indiana Department of Education — English/language arts and math.

Districts in Floyd and Clark counties had their own victories and challenges last year, but officials said they all hope to see increased scores this time around.

West Clark

The destruction left after last year’s tornado kept students at Henryville Elementary and Junior/Senior High School from taking ISTEP+. John Reed, assistant superintendent for West Clark Community Schools, said as with everything in Henryville, this year’s test results will produce a new normal for the schools.

“The students have been through an awful lot,” Reed said. “Last year, they were thrust into an entirely different environment, a different schedule [in the temporary schools]. It’s just a kind of ‘who knows’ how they’re going to react academically to all that that happened.”

He said there are still students who are displaced from their homes and trying to adjust after last year’s losses, but he still has high hopes for them in Henryville and across the district.

“The teachers are very aware of the situation and they have been putting as much extra preparation into it as they possibly can,” Reed said. “They’ve been working together in coming up with the best instructional presentations possible.”

He said on top of the time teachers have taken to get students ready, they’ve also exercised more collaboration with each other to get on the same page with student progress.

Though he said he thinks scores will increase, they’ll have to wait and see what actually happens.

“I’m really anticipating that we do quite well,” Reed said, “but again, time will tell.”

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Erin Klein, a nationally-recognized education blogger and Tom Murray, State and District Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Director for the Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, D.C., speak to a group of educators at Jeffersonville High School on Monday. They were just a couple of the big-name education personalities at the second annual Greater Clark Connected Conference.

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