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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, September 05, 2017 9:50 pm

EACS board questions improvement plans

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

The school improvement plans for East Allen County Schools left board members Tuesday questioning buildings' 2017-18 goals.

The Indiana Department of Education requires EACS to annually submit the plans by Sept. 15.

Although the board ultimately approved the plans, Secretary Chris Baker was concerned about maintaining last year's targets.

"Have we not changed our goals at these schools?" he asked.

Summaries for many schools indicated they would continue with the 2016-17 benchmarks. Goals included gains in math and writing skills, reading comprehension, attendance and, among other areas, graduation rates.

Superintendent Marilyn Hissong said the members didn't have the whole picture.

"You only get the one-page summary here," she said.

School improvement plans generally total 20 to 30 pages, said Teresa Knoblauch, assistant superintendent of elementary education.

Deborah Watson, assistant superintendent of secondary education, said the plans might include new strategies or interventions.

"We're all interested in the bar being raised," President Bob Nelson said.

In other news, the board discussed renewing a memorandum of understanding with ABC Construction Preparatory Academy, which lets students explore the construction industry.

"It's awesome, very hands-on," Watson said.

EACS pays $750 per student.

There are 28 students in the program, she said, adding the lack of transportation to the ABC training center prevents some from participating. The district tried to brainstorm ways to improve the situation last year, she said, but none panned out.

Board members said transportation must be considered as EACS develops its vocational school planned for the existing New Haven Intermediate School.

The vocational school will be addressed at next week's board retreat, Nelson said.