BROOKVILLE – Glenda Ritz, state superintendent of public instruction, discussed some of the current issues facing education Nov. 13 at the Schilling Center, Brookville.
“Serving students in the classroom is so important to me,” she said, after receiving a standing ovation from attendees, who were mostly area educators.
“The vision of my administration is ‘Imagining the Possibilities. Making them Happen’ .... (and) the Department of Education’s mission is to build an education system of equity and high quality focused on student-centered accountability.”
In order to create equitable and high-quality opportunities for all students, she created the Outreach Division of School Improvement. “I have 13 coordinators throughout Indiana .... They had 12 very extensive days of training.
“My outreach people needed to know where to find resources for students, so United Way was one of our partners. People in this organization are good at matching people with resources .... It takes community support to make sure kids get what they need.”
She discussed the Hoosier Family of Readers, which is “making sure kids know they should be reading outside of school. Literacy is so important, and we empowered many organizations statewide to help. All the YMCAs included reading activities for their summer camps and groups like Boys & Girls Clubs of America also focused on reading.
“It’s amazing the number of tutoring groups that work with children. Not too long ago, a National Guard soldier walked into my office. He was part of a group that was working with third-graders in Fort Wayne. He was wondering if he could incorporate that in other areas of the state. Now we have soldiers working in 30 more schools, 60 total, through the Books and Boots program, where they come into classrooms and work with little ones to make sure they’re reading.”
Ritz said, “Whether a student is leaving high school to get employment or attend a two- or four-year college, they need the same level of proficiency, but kids also need to see relevancy to their education .... Kids these days are taking 40 credits and don’t have a pathway.