Indiana Department of Education to Provide Strategic Literacy and STEM Support to Indiana Schools

INDIANAPOLIS – At today’s State Board of Education (SBOE) meeting, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced that it is working to provide Indiana schools with extra support in literacy and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction. 

“Literacy and STEM skills are foundational to our students’ future learning,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Data shows that the roadmap of opportunity is endless for students who are literate by the end of third grade – and that the future looks very different for our students who are struggling to read. That’s why we must be intentional with skill development for our students. We know that inquiry- and problem-based learning in STEM courses help students build skills they will use no matter whether their next steps lead them to enrollment, employment or enlistment leading to service.”

This support for Indiana schools includes a focus on literacy and STEM coaching for educators, as well as support for collegiate teacher preparation programs and enhanced literacy and STEM resources through the Indiana Learning Lab.

To support educators as they provide earlier interventions to help students learn to read, IDOE has also offered all Indiana schools the opportunity to administer the IREAD-3 assessment to students in grade two – ultimately leading to higher rates of literacy and reduced testing requirements for students in grade three. From this data, participating schools will have the opportunity to use an on-track measure to strategically provide students with appropriate reading intervention and remediation. The assessment window for IREAD-3 is currently open, with second grade students at nearly 400 schools across the state now voluntarily taking IREAD-3. More information on IREAD-3 as an early literacy indicator can be found here.

Research from Yale University reinforces the need to ensure students are proficient readers by grade three. Students who are poor readers at the end of third grade are likely to experience literacy challenges throughout their life. The research shows that these students are less likely to graduate on time or may never receive their high school diploma.

IDOE’s support in literacy and STEM initiatives includes:

K-12 STEM and Science of Reading Coaching: 
Over the next two years, IDOE will partner with Indiana schools to deploy literacy and STEM coaches to provide guidance, support and professional development for educators as they implement research-based curriculum. In the first year, the initiative will focus its resources on 100 schools that opt in to participate where historical data indicates students need the most assistance in literacy and STEM, along with schools most impacted academically by COVID-19 learning disruptions. Additional schools may also opt in to receive the same training and resources over the next two years.

To support literacy instruction, this coaching will provide consistent, job-embedded support to teachers in kindergarten through second grade based on the Science of Reading, a compilation of scientific research on reading, reading development and reading instruction. For STEM, it will provide teachers in grades four through eight with guidance on inquiry- and problem-based learning, as well as engineering design and modeling in mathematics and science.

Training for this first round of coaching will begin this summer, with implementation of the coaching model beginning in fall 2022.

Supporting Indiana’s Future Educators:
To support Science of Reading-based literacy instruction and inquiry-based STEM instruction, IDOE will also work with Indiana’s college-level teacher preparation programs to encourage a data-driven approach to literacy and STEM instruction. This proactive approach will ensure that all teacher candidates receive clear instruction and gain the tools they need to successfully implement the Science of Reading and inquiry-based STEM fundamentals before entering an Indiana classroom. 

Quality Professional Development for Educators:
IDOE will also provide all Indiana educators with access to resources designed to help them implement and apply the principles of the Science of Reading framework and inquiry-based STEM learning through the Indiana Learning Lab, as well as other professional development opportunities. 

“These student-centered initiatives will support our educators as they teach students to read and build essential skills, including critical thinking, creativity, innovation and teamwork,” said Jenner. “It’s encouraging to see the enthusiasm statewide among educators and community partners for this important work. We know that in order to continue improving for our students, we must urgently lean-in and ensure every student graduates high school with the knowledge and skills to pursue their future pathway.” 

More information about Indiana’s Priorities for Early Literacy is available here, and information about Indiana’s Priorities for STEM Education is available here. The presentation from today’s SBOE meeting is available here

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

Check Also

Consumer Alert: Products Recalled in November

Attorney General Todd Rokita is alerting Hoosiers this holiday season of important consumer protection concerns …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *