On Friday, members from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) visited Northview High School to discuss the changes with teachers and administration officials from around the Wabash Valley.
"I hope that we do this annually," Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said. "The intent is to come to you. I want our message to come to you unfiltered. We want you to hear it from us."
Bennett told the audience at the NHS Auditeria five initiatives would be discussed during the meeting, including: Common Core and Reading Framework, An Indiana Growth Model, Letter Grades for Schools, Changing the Way We Think About Evaluation and Licensing Information (for teachers).
IDOE officials Jeff Zaring, Stacey Hughes, Mindy Schlegel and Pat Mapes joined Bennett at the meeting.
Schlegel tackled the subject of the new Indiana Growth Model, which is based off the Colorado Model.
Bennett said there are two growth models at the national level, with the Tennessee Model being the other.
He said his predecessor, Suellen Reed, had looked into the modeling Indiana's after the Colorado Model before leaving office.
"We saw the need and put our foot on the accelerator," Bennett said, adding he felt the Colorado Model was the "best fit for the state."
Schlegel told the audience Friday the growth model will help measure year-to-year progress of students and will also provide percentages for future projected growth.
She added students will eventually be compared in "academic peer" groups with other students across the state.
Data from the 2009-10 school year will be released in a few weeks to help start the process.
In reference to the Common Core Standards, Hughes told the audience the state recently adopted anchor standards at the national level.
She said beginning June 11, schools statewide will also be required to submit a reading plan to IDOE. The plan will be implemented for the 2011-12 school year.
Zaring also discussed how the state would issue letter grades (A, B, C, D, and F) for schools beginning this year as opposed to the current definitions used, such as exemplary, etc.
"We must, as a state, act with fierce urgency," Bennett said, adding if Indiana doesn't, it may be "left behind."
"We have been here before," he added. "The issue of education reform is happening and it is happening fast."