Attending the First Wayne St. United Methodist Church Back to School Prayer Breakfast Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, sponsored by the United Methodist Women was a real treat. There were tasty morsels, excellent music, and profound words of wisdom. Yet, that which was most enjoyable was hearing the enthusiastic words of Indian Village’s principal Kara Miller.
Although Principal Miller is somewhat new to FWCS, having only worked here since 2019, she isn’t new to the administrative arena. Miller who has her B.S. and M.A.E from Ball State University served 17years total as an administrator in Anderson and Muncie School Corporations prior to her FWCS appointment at Indian Village Elementary School.
Being a third generation educator who has taught over 35 years at the junior high, high school and university levels, I was especially anxious to talk to Miller to ascertain how she and her staff were addressing the protocols due to the pandemic as well as the tools she and her staff would be implementing to not only empower the students; but also to enhance learning and to improve student achievement.
Miller shared that during the 2020-2021 school year, Indian Village conducted its classes in-person, although there also had been virtual opportunities. Though there were a myriad of challenges due to the pandemic, Miller is extremely proud of her staff, and she espoused the atmosphere at Indian Village is fantastic! The staff has been very flexible, stepping up to ensure student success.
Because the staff and students adhered to the CDC guidelines and established safety protocols, there was no need to quarantine lots of students or staff.
Students ate in their assigned classrooms and remained with their classes during recess and restroom breaks. Still, this year Miller is hoping to also have the tape on the hall floors for social distance measures.
After reading the August 4, 2021, Indiana State Teachers Association’s article regarding a new state grant program designed to help Hoosier students, especially Black, Latino, English – language learners and those in poverty, I wanted to know how Indian Village is addressing the needs of those whose learning was most impacted by the pandemic since students lost an enormous amount of instructional time between March 2020 and the end of the last school year.
According to ISTA News, “Newly released test data showed that students saw significant losses in math and English, and experts expect that similar backslides have occurred in other subjects.”
In continuing my conversation with Miller, I came away with the feeling that those at Indian Village should not abandon all hope. Miller states that at Indian Village after examining the data, they are utilizing numerous strategies, involving the implementation of Fast Bridge – giving a beginning and mid year evaluation, using scope and sequence, and having teachers meet weekly to examine data and performance trends. In closing Miller indicated that Indian Village has skills groups, an interventionist, instructional coach, teaching assistants, two English-language learning teachers, and varied resources to enhance and improve student performance.
However, regarding student improvement Charity Flores, Indiana’s Chief Academic Officer has said, “It will need to be a comprehensive, multi-year response. The gas pedal will need to be down for a while.”
With that, one must not forget that it takes a village! So, throw down the gauntlet!