INdiana Systemic Thinking

February 16, 2008

Sue Ellen Reed: On Her Way Out?

Most of the major news outlets, as well as blogs around the state are reporting on comments made by Governor Mitch Daniels that he is apparently supporting candidate Tony Bennett for Indiana School Superintendent.  All this despite Sue Ellen Reed has held the position for four terms and has not made a decision about a fifth.  Here are some links about the comments and what they may possibly mean:

 Taking Down Words

Blue Indiana

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

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January 24, 2008

Black Marriage Amendment?

Not really, but I betcha that got your attention.  Now before you start sending the blogmeister hate mail, read this story over at the Indy Star.  Which makes more sense, the nonsense about the real marriage amendment currently going on over at the statehouse, or doing something to help a portion of our population that really, really needs it.  From the story:

About eight in 10 black children in Indiana are born to unwed parents — a start to life that sets them up for problems during adolescence and beyond, according to an Indiana Black Expo report.
Indiana’s black youths fare significantly worse than Hoosier youths in general across 18 indicators of well-being, such as graduation rates and poverty levels, and do worse than black youths in the U.S, according to the report being released Friday.
The explosion of births to unwed parents is driving many of the state’s social problems, such as increases in poverty and child abuse and the growing cost of public aid, said Bill Stanczykiewicz, president and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute.
He added that the problem is not exclusive to any one race.
Indiana’s out-of-wedlock birthrate is at an all-time high, with unwed mothers accounting for nearly 40 percent of all births, he said. Nationally, about 36 percent of all births are to unwed mothers.

January 23, 2008

FW Schools: Why Would We Need RN’s?

The Fort Wayne News Sentinel this morning is reporting a medication mix up in a Fort Wayne area school.  Read the excerpt below for more of the story, but isn’t this what happens when you cut school nurses out of schools?  Isn’t there some law, somewhere, that forbids the passing of meds by unregistered or uncertified professionals, other than family members?  If not, there should be.  By the way, neither if these medications are something you want to take if your not supposed to as they have are for serious disorders and have very serious side effects.

A 6-year-old child at Price Elementary School was given the wrong medication by a staff member last week, resulting in a trip to the hospital.

The child was supposed to be taking Adderall, a medication used to treat narcolepsy or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but was given two doses of Seroquel, or Saraquill as it was written in the police report, which is a medication to treat schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The incident occurred on Jan. 15, and the child was taken to St. Joseph Hospital by his mother for being “sick and sleepy,” according to a Fort Wayne Police Department report.

The Seroquel was another child’s medication. The child was said to be fine after treatment at the hospital, according to the report.

According to drugs.com, side effects of Seroquel are drowsiness, dizziness or decreased vision. Also, children who take this medication may “be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or actions.” The Web site reports there is a possible fatal reaction to the drug.

The Price staff member, who was not identified, may have been a secretary at the school, although a police report says the person was the school nurse. Fort Wayne Community Schools spokeswoman Krista Stockman said full-time nurses are not available in all schools, and secretaries are sometimes required to give a child a medication.

January 17, 2008

Huth Leaves CCHS

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has this really local piecetoday regarding Columbia City assistant principal, Jim Huth.  He is apparently leaving his current position to be the main dude at the Imagine MASTer Academy.  The Blogmeister has worked with Jim on a few cases and in other capacities over the years.  To say Jim is a “decent guy” is a massive understatement.  The Blogmeister wishes Jim well in his new role and knows he will do a great job.  However, this is the second announcement of a key person leaving CCHS (the first was principal Steve Doepker), since the appointment of new superintendent, Dr. Laura Huffman.  Coincidence, or is something going on there that they keep losing these key people?  Anyway, here is the story:

The assistant principal of Columbia City High School was tapped to be the principal of the charter school opening on Broadway this fall.

The Imagine MASTer Academy board Wednesday approved the hiring of Jim Huth as leader of Imagine Schools on Broadway, which will open in August at the former Emmaus Lutheran Church site. The school will be run by Imagine Schools, a charter school management company based in Arlington, Va., which also oversees Imagine MASTer Academy on Wells Street.

Huth was among 30 to 40 applicants for the position and one of four interviewed by a committee, said Jason Bryant, regional vice president for Imagine Schools.

“We all thought that this gentleman would be the man to do it for a variety of reasons,” Bryant said.

One of those reasons was Huth’s tie to the Broadway area, Bryant said. Huth grew up in that neighborhood, and his mother still lives there, he said. Bryant thinks the new school, set to serve kindergarten through fifth-grade students, will draw children from the neighborhood, and he thinks Huth’s connections will give the school more credibility.

Huth will begin his new job Feb. 5 at an annual salary of $80,000, Bryant said.

Huth, 45, said he’s interested in trying a new venture.

“It’s the right time in my life … to do something different,” Huth said.

Board members who sat in on Huth’s interviews and Imagine MASTer Academy Principal Guy Platter commended Huth during Wednesday’s meeting.

“He has a reputation of being a decent guy and treating people well,” Platter said.

The new charter school is projected to serve 550 students, and officials will begin enrolling Feb. 1 through March 31.

January 15, 2008

School Discipline

Think kicking kids out of school so they can bone up on Flintstone’s reruns is a good idea?  Take a look at this article from WTHR:

Indiana’s schools should come up with new ways to solve discipline issues instead of relying on strict rules that punish all students the same way, an Indiana University report says.

The university’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy said recently that many schools use rules like zero tolerance policies or one-day suspensions that may not change student behavior.

“We’re all reinforced by different things, and we’re all punished by different things,” said Sandy Washburn, one of the authors of the CEEP report.

Disciplinary issues are statistically worse in Indiana than elsewhere, the report found. During the 2005-06 school year, there were 6,324 expulsions and 313,322 suspensions in Indiana, according to the Department of Education. More than 600 schools that year reported a rate of 10 or more suspensions per 100 students.

IU researchers suggested a three-tiered system called Schoolwide Positive Behavior Supports. The system includes schoolwide initiatives, group interventions for those with common disciplinary problems and individual interventions.

Some Indiana schools are already using the model and have had good results so far, the researchers said.

Sam Elder, a member of the Vanderburgh County Taxpayers Association, said the rates of suspension and expulsion in the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp. are too high.

“The last couple of years it has inched up, and the worst problems we have are at our high schools,” Elder said.

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