This week, students in grades 3-8 will begin the ISTEP+ testing process. The ISTEP+ test has been revised to comply with the new Indiana state standards. The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) issued guidance to schools regarding the administration of the test. The test has been shortened by 3 hours and 5 minutes for all students throughout the state. In addition, the IDOE provided guidance to schools regarding the administration of the Social Studies portion of the ISTEP+ test. Schools will not be administering the 30-minute Social Studies sessions during Part I of the ISTEP+ test in grades 5 and 7.
Although ISTEP+ should not be the only factor in determining school effectiveness, it is a key determining factor under our state’s current accountability model in showing our stakeholders the quality of education we provide to our students. Our staff has been committed this school year to making sure all of our students are prepared for the assessment through building their foundational skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. We have utilized our IMPACT period to focus on two primary skill areas: reading and behavior. In Greater Clark, we understand the importance of standards mastery; however, we also understand that those standards cannot be mastered when students cannot read with a high level of competency and/or cannot learn because of an inability to behave in an appropriate and reasonable manner. Students in the district read every day, write every day, and publish every quarter. In this accountability era, sometimes it is easy to forget the value of building students of strong character. Although educators strive to develop students who excel both academically and behaviorally, in Greater Clark, we believe the top priority is to develop students of strong character. Our PRIDE (Persistence, Respectfulness, Initiative, Dependability, and Efficiency) initiative is taught to students in all grade levels and reinforced/recognized daily.
Success on the ISTEP+ assessment is also dependent on parent support. During the process, it is critical that parents ensure students get the proper amount of rest and nutrition. I greatly appreciate our parents for everything they do on a daily basis to help our students succeed. Greater Clark’s Nutrition Services provider, ARAMARK, will offer free breakfast to students in grades K-8 during ISTEP+ testing. We are grateful for their partnership and it shows everyone associated with our students is fully committed to their success. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s principal.
-Dr. Andrew Melin, Superintendent