Nine Indiana schools and school corporations were recognized by Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett in his Statehouse office this morning. Using new data from the Indiana Growth Model, these schools and corporations were selected for this honor because a large percentage of their students achieved high academic growth in both Mathematics and English/Language Arts during the 2009-2010 school year.

“For the first time ever, we have the ability to do more than just recognize high test scores; the Growth Model allows us to identify schools making the largest gains in student learning,” Bennett said. “No matter a child’s gifts and limitations—no matter what they know upon entering a classroom—we want to distinguish and praise those educators who meet students where they are and push them to reach their highest academic potential over the course of the school year. These nine schools and districts are filled with educators achieving that goal, and they are excellent role models for schools around the state.”

The Indiana Growth Model measures how much students learn in each content area over the course of a year. Here’s how it works: Students are grouped with peers who achieve the same scale score on the Mathematics or English/Language Arts portions of the ISTEP+ examination. Once the Growth Model has at least two years of ISTEP+ data, students’ growth is measured by comparing their advancement on the ISTEP to the advancement of other students in their peer group. For each student, the Growth Model projects a student growth percentile, which is labeled as low, typical or high growth.

Along with Gary’s 21st Century Charter School, eight other schools and school corporations honored today are some of the state’s leaders in helping students achieve high academic growth. Representatives (school leaders, teachers and students) from each school highlighted the best practices that led to such success. Principal Angela West’s educators have also embraced data-driven instruction and use assessments to inform lesson planning on a daily basis. She also credits a staff that goes above and beyond with extra time and attention, after school tutoring and more.

“The Growth Model is a tool for the entire community. Educators and administrators should use it to guide instruction and intervention. Parents should use it to advocate for their child’s education, and the general public should use it to hold their neighborhood schools accountable,” Bennett said. “The Growth Model is a game-changer, and it will be the foundation for many of our educational initiatives in the 2011 legislative session.”

Dr. Bennett hosted a press conference to honor these schools and presented certificates of achievement to representatives from each.

The DOE’s website (http://www.doe.in.gov/news/2010/11-November/growth.html )shows four lists, based on preliminary attendance data for the 2009-10 school year, featuring other notable high-growth schools and corporations across the state. Two list the top 25 high-growth school corporations for Mathematics and English/Language Arts. Two more name the top high-growth school in each county in Mathematics and English/Language Arts. Schools with fewer than ten students have been omitted from the lists to protect students’ privacy.