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Lanesville seeks approval for ‘Flex Pilot’ school time

Building on its already successful Virtual Learning days for inclement weather, Lanesville Community School Corp. is attempting to get approval from the state to hold ‘Flex Pilot’ learning time in which a grade or multiple grades could have an e-learning day at home (or at school if they need to access the Internet) while staff is at school having professional development about technology.
‘One of the things kids have said is they are tired of professional development taking teachers out of the classroom,’ Supt. Steve Morris said.
Morris said that, in order for the corporation to have flex learning time, permission must be granted from the Office of eLearning through the Indiana Dept. of Education.
Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, the IDOE launched the Flex Pilot Program. During the 2013-14 school year, six school corporations (Zionsville Community Schools, M S D Wabash County Schools, Noblesville Schools, Porter Township School Corp., Maconaquah School Corp. and Attica Consolidated School Corp. were part of the program.
To be considered for the Flex Pilot, a district must complete an online application by May 27 that offers the following:
A plan for utilizing digital learning that innovatively alters the traditional school day.
The ability to provide online learning opportunities that meet the varying needs of their students and include contact with teachers.
Accommodations for students with special needs.
The availability of breakfast and lunch for students needing that option.
At-school alternatives for any student unable to remain at home and transportation to school, if needed.
A plan for all staff during the Flex times/days.
Proposals are then reviewed for thoughtfulness and strength of rationale for the requested flexibility. As part of the review process, members of the IDOE Office of eLearning meet with the district to further discuss the implementation of the program, which is separate from the Virtual Learning option for inclement weather.
‘It’s an interesting program,’ Lanesville school trustee Denzil McKim said. ‘I could see benefits. It could be the wave of the future.’
‘We could do one grade, or do ninth through 12th grade, or do sixth through ninth grade,’ Morris said. ‘It would be our choice.’
Keeping with the technology theme, Morris told the board that its Digital Learning grant was only for this year, so the corporation’s digital learning coach, Allison Schalk, who is paid through the grant, would need to be paid out of the General Fund in the future.
In another matter, Morris congratulated senior Jon Will, who was selected as Mr. Harrison County for 2016.
The board approved intersession contracts for Leeann Geswein, Aafke Garlock, Christina Ordner, Audrey Brown, Emily Cottle, Pam Tobbe and Bethany Miller. The board also approved to pay bus drivers David Schmelz and Anna Stockhoff for intersession and approved Mikel Miller as a volunteer assistant softball coach.
The resignation of assistant treasurer Tina Walther also was approved by the board, as was maternity leave for teacher Pam Tobbe.
Morris noted that seventh-grader Bradley Outland won the school’s National Geography Bee, with Natalia Clare as runner-up.
Also, last month, Lanesville was highlighted by the IDOE through its Promising Practices initiative. Some 200 programs across the state focused on ensuring all students have access to a high-quality education.
Promising Practices is a new recognition program sponsored by DOE that highlights specific strategies of schools and corporations.
‘Lanesville was recognized in the first group for our corporation walk-through process,’ Morris said.
‘Everywhere I go, I see great teaching and learning happening in Hoosier schools,’ Glenda Ritz, Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, said. ‘It is imperative that our schools and educators continue to develop innovative and inclusive educational programs to ensure that every student receives an education of the highest quality. That is why I am excited to announce the Promising Practices initiative to recognize schools that are implementing outstanding educational programs to support the success of all students.’
Identified programs will be student-centered and will focus on positively impacting students though innovative programming and activities that provide a high-quality learning environment and experience. In addition to publicly recognizing selected schools, each practice will be shared throughout the state as an example of best practices that are having a positive impact on Hoosier students.
To celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial this year, the Promising Practices program will recognize 200 K-12 educational programs in the state before Dec. 31. Each month the IDOE will announce selected programs based on a review of the schools’ program and input from experts who work with the schools.
The first 10 Promising Practices are:
Lanesville Community Schools ‘ Differentiated Staff Walkthroughs
Noblesville East Middle School ‘ Professional Learning Communities
Merrillville Community School Corporation ‘ Freshman Academy and Mentoring
Discovery Middle School ‘ Student Centered Instruction through Student Led Conferences
Southwest Dubois/Huntingburg Elementary ‘ Collaboration for Success
North Salem Elementary School ‘ Excellence for All
Ben Davis University High School ‘ Early College High School Model
Westwood Elementary School ‘ Data Driven Instruction
Portage High School ‘ Math/ELA Looping
Northside Elementary School ‘ Formative Assessment Data Use