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State Department Of Education Releases Important Updates
Updated January 24, 2017 6:32 AM | Filed under: Education
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - State Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Indiana Department of Education Dr. Jennifer McCormick released important updates in several areas.


In the area of Assessment, we want to share news of two new hires, Dr. Charity Flores and Wes Bruce. Dr. Charity Flores has been named as the Director of Assessment; she begins in February.

Dr. Flores spent most of her career supporting assessment development from content and management perspectives. Most recently, she was the Deputy Director of Content for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium following her time with McGraw Hill Education. She served as Assistant Director of Assessment and served in other roles at the Indiana Department of Education from 2006-2012. She began her career as a classroom teacher for Indianapolis Public Schools and Crawfordsville Community School Corporation. She completed her graduate studies at Ball State University in Educational Administration and Supervision. She resides with her family in Lawrence Township in Indianapolis.

Returning to the DOE (1999-2013), Wes Bruce will be contracting with the Department as the Assessment and Accountability expert. He serves as an educational consultant and has advised Illinois, New York, and Oklahoma with their assessment and accountability needs. Bruce serves on the Minnesota TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) and TAC for the Alternate English Language Learning Assessment (ALTELLA). During his previous tenure at the DOE, Bruce worked as Director of Assessment as well as Assistant Superintendent.

School Improvement

We are committed to providing support to our schools. IDOE's Office of School Improvement will continue to support Indiana's lowest achieving schools during the short term. If you were previously scheduled for an Outreach visit and would still like for DOE to come to your school during this interim period, please contact Teresa Brown, Director of School Improvement, to reschedule a visit. You may contact her at (link sends e-mail).

Planning for the long-term school improvement system is proceeding at multiple levels. Under the leadership of Patrick McAlister, former director of Teach Plus, the Department will reconvene stakeholder groups to gather input and rethink the design of Indiana's school improvement plan under ESSA.

To further inform the selection of evidenced-based strategies, we have asked specialists from organizations such as American Institute for Research's Great Lakes Comprehensive Center to research the various ways other states have supported districts in improvement and to ascertain the effectiveness of that support.

Your feedback, along with evidence of proven strategies, will guide our decision-making for supporting Indiana's schools in the highest levels of improvement status. We know that our newly-designed system will be differentiated based on need, and it is our intent to offer schools in improvement status with a menu of options for supporting those needs.


The Office of School Accountability has taken over the duties formerly performed by the Office of School Accreditation. Please send any questions regarding Accreditation to

Information for the 2017 Summer School Program is now available. Visit for details regarding eligible reimbursable programs, required reporting, financial provisions, and other helpful guidance for school corporations.

Important Reminder: Membership Count Date is February 1, 2017.


The Office of eLearning's Digital Learning Grant application period has opened. This grant supports public school corporations ready to launch thoughtful 1:1 implementation plans, as well as corporations that have assessed their current 1:1 implementation and are prepared to take next steps.

NESP and Title III Reallocations are due by February 3, 2017. Instructions, allocations, and amendment forms can be found on the Title III and NESP (English learners) Learning Connection Community under Files and Bookmarks. Then open the folders for the applicable grant. Click here to access this page. Reach out to Cole Dietrich ( with any questions. Information and deadlines for the

Early Intervention Grant are now available. Visit

Attendance & Absences

This memorandum is a reminder to report to the Indiana Department of Education's Chief State Attendance Officer and to your local health department absences greater than 20% (511 IAC 1-2-2). The reporting requirement is by individual school, not corporation.

The report can be completed and submitted electronically to the IDOE by visiting You are not required to report absences greater than 20% on days immediately before or after a school vacation day.

Additionally, if you are considering closing a school, for any health related reason, schools are encouraged to complete the "School Closure Consideration Form". This form will automatically be sent to the Director of School Accreditation and the Program Coordinator for Student Health Services who will be able to assist you with your decision.

Please contact Catherine Danyluk, Chief State Attendance Officer at 317/232-9150,, or Jolene Bracale, Program Coordinator for Student Health Services at 317/232-0541, if you need additional information.

Security & Safety

Several educators from around the state have contacted DOE about the purchase and implementation of door barricade systems during lockdowns. Many of these systems may violate fire code and may be unusable in your school after purchase. Please contact your local Fire Marshal before purchasing a barricade device.


Reminder: The requirements for transportation of pre-school students begin on January 1, 2018. We strongly encourage you to begin working on policies and procedures to meet this mandate from the General Assembly. Click here for information.

On January 1, 2018, per Indiana school bus specifications rules covered in 575 IAC 1-5.5-11, all pre-school riders will be required to be transported in an appropriate child safety restraint system (yellow highlight). If you have not already started looking at putting the policies and procedures in place to meet this mandate, we recommend that you begin as soon as possible.

575 IAC 1-5.5-11 Special requirements
Sec. 11. (a) Any passenger seat that has a child safety seat or restraint system attached to it must:
(1) have a reinforced frame; and
(2) meet the requirements of FMVSS 208, 209, and 210.
(b) The seat behind a seat that has a child restraint system that is secured using a portable seat mount (for example, cam wrap belt used for a safety vest, Star seat, ProTech seat) must be kept empty or occupied by a child who is also in a child safety restraint system.
(c) All child safety seats or restraint systems used in a school bus must be secured to a bus seat in a manner prescribed and approved by the manufacturer and must meet safety specifications as follows:
(1) A child below the grade of kindergarten must be transported in a child safety restraint system that meets all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards beginning January 1, 2018.
(2) For any child below the grade of kindergarten, the use of a lap belt alone is not appropriate.
(d) Lap boards attached to wheelchairs or to adaptive equipment shall be removed and secured separately during transport.
(e) All respiratory related equipment, such as oxygen, aspirators, and ventilators, must be securely mounted or fastened to a wheelchair, bus seat, bus floor, or to the bus wall below the window line during transit.
(f) Tanks of compressed oxygen transported in a school bus may be no larger than twenty-two (22) cubic feet.
(g) Any liquid oxygen container transported in a school bus may be no larger than thirty-eight (38) cubic feet.
(h) Oxygen tanks must have valves and regulators that are protected against breakage. Tanks must be secured to avoid exposure to intense heat, flames, sparks, or friction.
(i) A bus transporting any oxygen container must display a warning statement formatted in block-style letters not less than two (2) inches and not more than four (4) inches in height and in a color that contrasts with the color of its background that reads "OXYGEN IN USE". The statement may be formatted in decal, paint, or magnetic material and be located:
(1) in the service door entrance on the face of the riser;
(2) on the underneath side of a wheelchair platform; and
(3) on the ceiling above the window section of a passenger's seating position.
Please be aware of specific points related to the specification above:
1. A lap belt alone is not an appropriate child safety restraint system
2. If you will be using restraint system that are secured through the use of a portable seat mount that wraps around the top of the seat be aware of the effect of double loading. Double loading is roughly described as follows:
a. When you use any kind of attachment method that wraps around the top of the seat, when there is a crash that attachment strap will pull the seat forward and if you have unrestrained children in the seat behind they also sliding forward to hit the same seat that is being pulled forward - in other words double loading that seat; that could cause the seat to fail. So you need to have any children sitting behind a seat using that cam wrap belt type of attachment they must be restrained or the seat must be empty. Additionally if you have children restrained in the second using that same attachment system then the kids in the 3rd seat must be restrained or that seat must be empty; and this continues on until you no longer have double loading happening. The difference with an integrated seat or the lap/shoulder belt is that are attached to the bottom frame of the seat and are pulling from the floor attachment so those children in the next would not be double loading since they would be pushing the top frame of the seat.
b. Does that mean adults can sit in that seat unsecured? No one can sit in seat unsecured that is behind a seat with child in an appropriate child restraint systems that is secured using a portable seat mounting system. I hope this clarification helps with any confusion.
3. Here is a link to the NHTSA site on child restraint systems (link is external) that you may find to be a useful reference for what would be an appropriate child restraint system.
For additional information or questions, please contact Michael LaRocco, Director of the Office of School Transportation for the Indiana Department of Education, 317-232-0891.

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