No Negative Impact Found as Result of ISTEP + Interruptions

Indiana Department of Education
INDIANAPOLIS – In response to widespread problems associated with CTB McGraw-Hill’s administration of the high-stakes ISTEP+ this spring, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz hired Dr. Richard Hill of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment to review the results.  A copy of Dr. Hill’s report, as well as an interactive map that details the frequency of interruptions statewide and by school corporation is below.
Among other things, the report shows the following:
  • Because of the efforts of teachers, administrators, students and parents, as well as the swift and decisive actions taken by Superintendent Ritz, the average negative statewide impact on scores was not measurable.  However, this does not mitigate the effect the interruptions had on students, parents and teachers throughout Indiana.
  • At this time, the exact impact of interruptions at the individual, classroom and teacher level cannot be ascertained.
“First, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of Indiana students, parents, teachers, administrators and the employees of the Department of Education,” said Superintendent Ritz.  Because of their dedication and hard work, the impact of these interruptions was limited.  However, let me be clear, the problems with the ISTEP+ contractor were absolutely unacceptable.  Every student deserves the opportunity to take a fair and uninterrupted assessment.
“I have spent the last several months talking with Hoosiers about the impact these interruptions had in the classroom.  Although Dr. Hill’s report found that the statewide average score was not affected by the interruptions, there is no doubt that thousands of Hoosier students were affected.  As Dr. Hill stated in his report, ‘We cannot know definitively how students would have scored this spring if the interruptions had not happened.’ Because of this, I have given local schools the flexibility they need to minimize the effect these tests have on various matters, such as teacher evaluation and compensation.  I have also instructed CTB McGraw-Hill to conduct enhanced stress and load testing to ensure that their servers are fully prepared for next year’s test and ensure that this never happens again.”
The Department of Education is conducting an ongoing negotiation regarding settlement with CTB McGraw-Hill.  Next steps for the Department include processing student reports to be available online to parents and students, and calculating A-F accountability results.
An interactive map showing the ISTEP+ interruptions by school corporation can be found by clicking here:
The full report from Dr. Hill can be found here:
Hill Report.pdf
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Webinar Tuesday on Environmental Injustice in NW IN

Hoosier Environmental Council
(INDIANAPOLIS, IN)- The Hoosier Environmental Council is hosting a free online workshop  to consider issues of environmental injustice, particularly those confronted by communities in northwest Indiana. Scheduled for Tuesday, July 30, 2013 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. (EST), HEC’s webinar will examine the very harmful effects of environmental injustice on northwest Indiana’s low-income and minority communities, its root causes, and present potential strategies for addressing this long-standing and critical issue.
“Low-income and minority populations often face disproportionate burdens of environmental pollution and related health risks in this country,” said Kim Ferarro, staff attorney and director of water policy for the Hoosier Environmental Council. “Such is the case for the low-income, minority communities in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago where residents have, for decades, been exposed to a host of pollutants from an incredible concentration of industrial sources – all packed into a small 80 square-mile area.”   These three communities are home to 52 CERCLA/Superfund sites, 423 hazardous waste sites, more than 460 underground storage tanks (USTs), three wastewater treatment works, and 15 combined sewer overflows (CSOs).
As a result, these disadvantaged residents breathe air that is, in some areas, several times the national average in toxicity, and they drink, swim and fish in waters that annually bear 11 billion gallons of raw untreated sewage, and 2 million pounds of developmental, reproductive and cancer-causing toxins. Not surprisingly, these environmental factors play a role in higher-than-average levels of respiratory illnesses and cancers. “With more than 30% of the area's population under the age of 18, the consequences of these environmental risks extend beyond health impacts to affect factors such as school performance and, therefore, the formation of a long-term, productive labor force. As a matter of fundamental fairness, human decency and social equity, it is time for us to take action and help empower these communities to achieve environmental justice. And, addressing these long-term injustices is very much in keeping with the Governor’s own vision of making Indiana number one in quality of life.” Ferraro said.
The webinar, which is free for participants, will include speakers Kim Ferraro (mentioned above), with availability by HEC’s executive director Jesse Kharbanda and Tim Maloney, HEC’s senior policy director to comment on environmental injustice in other parts of the state . To register, click on the following link:
This webinar is sponsored through grants from the John S. and James L.Knight Fund, a fund of Legacy Foundation, promoting informed and engaged communities, and, the Lake County Community Fund, a fund of Legacy Foundation, inspiring you to give where you live.
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About Hoosier Environmental Council:
Founded in 1983, the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) is the largest statewide environmental policy organization in Indiana. HEC aims to foster solutions that simultaneously improve environmental quality and economic well-being. Visit for more information. You can also follow HEC on Twitter: @hec_ed, or like us on Facebook:

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Commuters Would Like 'Quiet Car' Option

Newly-released early results from a recent survey of South Shore passengers show nearly 80-percent would like “quiet cars” available during rush hour... cars where cellphone usage, for instance, would be kept to a minimum. More than 60-percent said they are in favor of allowing bicycles on the train. Just over 45-hundred completed surveys were returned from riders. Busiest boarding point of the work week during morning rush according to the survey – East Chicago.

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ND Adopts Backpack Ban for FB Games


The University of Notre Dame has adopted a new ban on backpacks and other items at the football stadium on game days. Beginning with the season-opener Saturday August 31 fans will be prohibited from bringing large bags such as backpacks, duffel bags and totes into the stadium [see photo provided]. Smaller bags, such as purses, will be allowed but will be inspected by trained security personnel, along with blankets, coats, ponchos and other similar items.
“Our top priority is safety, and we believe that in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and other incidents through the years, this new policy is the prudent course of action,” said Michael Seamon, associate vice president for campus safety and director of game day operations. “We know our fans will adapt quickly to the policy, and we appreciate their cooperation in helping to make Notre Dame Stadium as safe as possible.”
Seamon said his hope is that fans would not bring bags of any kind into the stadium, and he added that the addition of specially trained inspectors will ensure that any delays at the gates will be kept to a minimum.

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Calumet Ave in Valpo Reopens

Valparaiso Police say Calumet Avenue has reopened.  The road was closed in both directions from Vale Park Road north to the Cumberland Crossing stoplight for about two hours today after police say a gas line was hit shortly before 9am in the construction area of the Five-Points Intersection where the new roundabout is being built.

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Lyme Disease Cases in Porter Co

The Porter County Health Department says there have been a dozen cases of Lyme Disease confirmed or suspected this year, with six open cases still under investigation. Last year, the department said there were fifteen cases reported and confirmed in Porter County. Health officials are advising residents to take precautions against ticks and tick-transmitted diseases.
Here's a link to the county health department's website for more info on preventing tick bites:

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Wings of Freedom Tour to Valpo

three planes
B-17, B-24 and P-51 in formation [Photo provided]
The Wings of Freedom Tour is headed to the Region.  Three of America's most famous World War Two aircraft –the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, and North American P-51 Mustang-- are scheduled to be at the Porter County Regional Airport today thru Wednesday ((July 29 to July 31)). They leave Valparaiso for Kankakee, Illinois, Wednesday afternoon.
More info:
The Wings of Freedom Tour of the WWII Vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator and North American P-51 Mustang Announce Unique Display in Valparaiso at Porter County Regional Airport from July 29 to July 31.
Who: The Collings Foundation, a 501c3 Non-Profit Educational Foundation based in Stow, MA.
What: The Wings of Freedom Tour featuring the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator and North American P-51 Mustang, three of America’s most famous WWII aircraft.
When: July 29-July 31. 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM July 29; 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM July 30; and 9:00AM to 12:00 PM July 31.
Where: Porter County Regional Airport, 4207 Murvihill Road, Valparaiso, IN.
Why: To honor the veterans of WWII, to educate the nation about the history and impact WWII had on our country, and to assure that the memory of those who gave their life for their country will never be forgotten. Northwest Indiana WWII Veterans are encouraged to attend and share their stories with visitors.
How: All three aircraft are available for walkthrough tours for $12 for Adults and $6 for Children 12 and under. WWII Veterans are admitted for free. Flights are available aboard the aircraft for a tax-deductible donation. B-17 and B-24 flights are $425 per person for a half hour. "Stick-time" aboard the P-51 is $2200 for a half hour and $3200 for a full hour. Pilot’s license not required. For more information or to schedule a ride call 800-568-8924
Food & Beverages will be available from EAA 104 and there will be a Classic Car Show.

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UPDATE: Cal Ave Closed V Pk Rd to Cumberland

UPDATE: 920a – Valparaiso Police say Calumet Avenue is now closed in both directions from Vale Park Road north to the stoplight at Cumberland Crossing, after a gas line was hit this morning in the area of the Five Points Intersection where the new roundabout is being built.    Motorists can now go as far north as Vale Park Rd.

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Gas Line Hit, Calumet Ave Closed

850am CDT-- Valparaiso Police say a gas line was hit a few minutes ago in the construction area of the Five Points Intersection where the new roundabout is being built.  Calumet Avenue is shut down in both directions from Carrsbrooke Drive north to the Cumberland Crossing stoplight.  Also, there is no access to Calumet Avenue via Vale Park Road in either direction. Valparaiso Police anticipate Calumet Avenue will be closed for at least a couple of hours.

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Boy Rescued at Mt Baldy Home

Nathanand parents WinCE
Two weeks to the day after being swallowed up at a twelve-story tall sand dune in northwest Indiana, six-year-old Nathan Woessner was able to go home. It was Friday July 12, when the Sterling, Illinois, boy was buried under eleven-feet of sand for more than three hours. Rescuers believe an air pocket helped save his life. Originally listed in critical condition, doctors say he improved rapidly. He was transferred out of University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital last Tuesday, and left the rehab facility at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago this past Friday. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore says Mount Baldy in Michigan City remains closed until further notice, and the closure also includes the parking lot, trails and beach area.
[Photo/University of Chicago Medicine, Tom Papandria]

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