exCELLence Newsletter
August 2014
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Politics over Policy: Indiana's Abandonment of the Common Core

Commentary from our Executive Director, David Dresslar 
ollow him on twitter @ddresslar

Now that the dust has settled, it might be appropriate to do a post-mortem on Indiana's decision to drop the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in favor of adopting new state standards.

 First, a little history. National educational standards were first called for by President Dwight Eisenhower and have been associated with conservative political thought ever since. The concept is based on the goal of improving U. S. educational outcomes by having a better idea of how America's education system is working through comparing student performance among the states. In fact, this need has increased as the U.S. has increasingly become a part of the global economy.

Ultimately, the nation's governors and chief state school officers agreed to develop the CCSS that were adopted in 2010. Although the federal government had not played a role in their development, then-President George W. Bush also supported the CCSS. In fact at the time, Common Core was seen as one of the most bipartisan education efforts in our nation's history with almost all state governors, both Republican and Democrat, supporting the implementation of these new standards.


Indiana TAPâ„¢ Schools See Model's Impact on
ISTEP Scores

Many of the Indiana schools that have implemented TAP: the System for Teacher and Student Advancement, showed positive improvements in ISTEP scores for the 2013-2014 school year. TAP is a nationally-renowned, comprehensive school improvement model that is currently being used by 45 schools across the state at all grade levels. 26 of the 38 (68.4%) elementary and middle TAP schools earned higher pass rates for the ELA portion of ISTEP compared to the year before. Dr. David Dresslar, Executive Director of CELL, stated that “This overall growth in ISTEP scores in TAP schools around the state is yet another indicator that when a school staff works hard to emphasize effective instructional strategies, it results in increased student performance.”


Co-curricular Programs Survey
$250 Participation Award!


Eligible Central Indiana Counties:

Marion       Morgan
Hamilton      Johnson
Boone       Shelby
Hendricks      Hancock

CELL is conducting a study commissioned by Lilly Endowment Inc. to learn more about the use of co-curricular programs by K-12 central Indiana schools. By collecting your thoughts on co-curricular programming, we hope to identify types of programs that are most beneficial for students and convenient for teachers and school leaders.

If your school is located in one of the above counties, don't miss out on your chance to receive a $250 participation award for your school to use on co-curricular programs! The central Indiana schools with the most participation will be awarded.

Encourage teachers and administrators in your school to participate in our survey now:




In partnership with the Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), CELL has brought together a group of private colleges and universities to offer STEM courses and workshops for K-12 teachers, including graduate courses that can lead to dual credit certification.

Teachers have the opportunity to take courses and workshops free of charge, earn credits or PGPs, and receive a $400 completion award for each course or workshop successfully finished.

The following courses are still accepting Applications for Fall 2014:

Forensic Entomology - Saint Joseph's College
STEM Meets Project-Based Learning - Indiana Tech

Learn more at!

Spring 2015 courses will be announced in the coming months. 
Early College High School New Schools Workshop
September 8-9, 2014
Indianapolis, IN
Contact Janet Boyle [] for more information. 

Postsecondary Pathways: Connecting Education to Careers for Student Success - Lafayette, IN
September 23

More Information

Postsecondary Pathways: Connecting Education to Careers for Student Success - Odon, IN
October 2
More Information


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