Appointments made to the panel tasked with replacing ISTEP 

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By Max Bomber

Senate President Pro Tem David Long and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz both announced their appointments to the ISTEP Review Panel.

A state law that passed this year ends ISTEP after the 2017 school year. The legislature has tasked a review panel with developing alternatives to ISTEP. The panel will be made of up 23 educational professionals, community leaders and legislators.

“I have said for years that Indiana needs to get away from the expensive, high-stakes, pass-fail mindset of ISTEP and instead, use an assessment that actually works for students, parents and teachers,” said Ritz in a statement. “Thanks to the federal passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, Indiana has the opportunity to design an assessment system that better meets the needs of Hoosiers.”

Long agreed that it’s was time for ISTEP to go and for the state to improve the test.

“Doing away with the problem-plagued ISTEP test was the right move for our schools,” said Long in a statement. “Now, we must focus on bringing together informed stakeholders to determine a better assessment solution to replace ISTEP. The people I’m appointing today have a wealth of knowledge and experience to contribute to this very important effort.”

Ritz and Long both serve on the panel and are required to appoint a teacher, principal, superintendent to the panel. Ritz also is required to appoint a member of the school employee organization and Long is required to appoint a business leader.

Ritz appointees:

  • Ayana Wilson-Coles, a third grade teacher at Eagle Creek Elementary School
  • Julie Kemp, Principal at Chrisney Elementary School
  • Wendy Robinson, Superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Callie Marksbary, Indiana State Teachers Association

Long appointees:

  • Jean Russell, 2016 Indiana Teacher of the Year
  • Steve Baker, Bluffton High School Principal
  • Kenneth Folks, East Allen County Schools Superintendent
  • Marilyn Moran-Townsend, Chairman and CEO, CVC Communications
  • Long said he was going to appoint Dr. Wendy Robinson to the panel, but Ritz already chose her, so instead he chose Dr. Kenneth Folks.

“So Northeast Indiana gets the benefit of having two school district leaders on the panel,” said Long in a statement.

Long said that the individuals chosen by him had decades of experience and he was thankful for them to step up.

The ISTEP review panel will meet over the summer and fall months and submit its recommendations to the governor and General Assembly by Dec. 1.

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