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Great Public Schools Criteria for Indiana

Great Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.
Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Indiana.

Readiness to Learn

Full-day Kindergarten. State Policy: A definition of the minimum number of hours for full-day kindergarten is not specified in Indiana state statutes. Districts are not required to offer full-day kindergarten and children are not required to attend. Indiana provides the same funding for both full-day and half-day kindergarten programs.
(Education Commission of the States [ECS] Kindergarten Database, 2007)

Quality Conditions

Class Size. Legal Basis: IND. CODE § 21-1-1-30. Enacted 1981. Amended 1999. The statute's objective is to have between 15-18 students per class. Current Average Elementary School Class Size: 21.4

Parental Involvement

Even Start Program

Purpose. The purpose of Even Start family literacy programs is to support family-centered educational programming as a part of broader community and/or school reform efforts. Family-centered education equally emphasizes literacy training for parents, assisting children in reaching their full potential as learners, and helping parents become full partners in the education of their children, recognizing the interrelatedness of all components in effecting lasting change.

Eligible Applicants. To qualify for an Even Start grant, an "eligible applicant" must be a partnership between one or more local educational agencies (LEAs) and one or more (1) nonprofit community-based organizations; (2) public agencies other than LEAs; (3) institutions of higher education; or (4) public or private nonprofit organizations of demonstrated quality other than LEAs.

Funding. Successful applicants will be approved for four-year funding cycles, subject to satisfactory progress. In the first year of a new program, federal Even Start funds will support 90 percent of the program costs; in each succeeding year of the four-year grant cycle, the Even Start funds will decrease by 10 percent. Programs that have completed the first four-year grant cycle may apply for a second four-year cycle beginning with 50 percent Even Start funding. Programs that have received eight years of funding and every four years thereafter are eligible to apply for additional four-year funding cycles with 35 percent federal funding.

Eligible Families. To be eligible for participation in an Even Start program, a family must have at least one eligible parent and at least one eligible child participating together in the full scope of the project. Projects are required to ensure that the eligible families selected for Even Start are those most-in-need of the full range of services offered. Eligible parents must have a child from birth through seven years of age and must either be (1) eligible for participation in adult basic education programs under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.; or (2) within the state’s compulsory school attendance age range (up to16 years of age in Indiana), so long as the LEA provides for the basic education component, as required by statute.


School funding systems must provide adequate, equitable and sustainable funding. Making taxes fair and eliminating inefficient and ineffective business subsidies are essential prerequisites to achieving adequacy, equity, and stability in school funding. ESEA programs should be fully funded at their authorized levels.

Indiana's school funding tax structure is hurt by tax giveaways to corporations.
Protecting Public Education From Tax Giveaways to Corporations (PDF, 62pp) (NEA, 2003)

NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps

The Indiana State Teachers Association plans to use its NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps to enact "model" legislation to eliminate and prevent achievement gaps, and change collective bargaining agreements in affiliates that are negatively impacted by school accountability mandates. They plan to organize an education coalition to plan joint advocacy and legislative initiatives, and meet monthly with the superintendent of public instruction. They will also create an Indiana Education Research and Legal Advocacy Consortium to support legislative, policy, and legal initiatives.

Recruitment and Retention

The state of Indiana has policies in place to address the critical shortage of minority teachers. Programs are also in place to provide new teachers with an internship and mentor support. In addition the state has established a process for employees to receive service credit for out of state service.

Minority Teachers: The minority teacher or special education services scholarship fund, as it pertains to minorities, was established to encourage and promote qualified minority individuals to pursue a career in teaching. The state also offers the Minority Teacher Scholarship to address the critical shortage of minority teachers in the state.
IC 20-12-21.7-5 and 20-12-21.7-9.
State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI) Programs

Induction Policies: Each beginning teacher must participate in a beginning teacher internship program for at least two semesters, along with being assigned a mentor teacher.
515 IAC 1-5-3 (p. 84) 
The state has plans for a new program the Indiana Mentoring and Assessment Program (IMAP) over the next few years, with the first group beginning in the fall of 2003.
DOE Induction, Assessment and Continuing Education

Maximum Class Size Policies: The average pupil/teacher ratio for a single school shall not exceed 30/1. Pupil/teacher ratios shall be figured on a full time equivalency basis only on regular classroom teachers assigned to instruction.
515 IAC 6.1-4-1

Classroom Discipline Policies: Student supervision and the desirable behavior of students in carrying out school purposes are the responsibility of a school corporation and the students of a school corporation. In all matters relating to the discipline and conduct of students, school corporation personnel stand in the relation of parents to the students of the school corporation and have the right to take any disciplinary action necessary to promote student conduct that conforms to an orderly and effective educational system.
IC 20-33-8-8 and 20-33-8-9

Use of Time in School Day: Each governing body and its administrators shall arrange each teacher's daily working schedule to provide at least 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a period free of duties.
IC 20-28-10-19

Other Statewide Retention-Related Policies: Each teacher may have at least two days each year with pay for personal business or the conduct of personal or civic affairs.
IC 20-28-9-14

Requirements for Tenure: An individual who serves under contract as a teacher in a public school corporation for at least five successive years and at any time enters into a teacher's contract for further service with the school corporation becomes, by entering into the contract, a permanent teacher of the school corporation.
IC 20-28-6-8
Article 29, particularly Chapter 6, deals with Collective Bargaining. IC 20-29

Rights of Tenure: An indefinite contract with a permanent teacher may be canceled only for one or more of the reasons listed within the state guidelines. 
IC 20-28-7-1
IC 20-28-5-8(c)

State Retirement Policies: If a governing body of a school corporation agrees to a retirement, savings or severance pay plan with a teacher, the benefits may be paid to the eligible teacher, designated beneficiary, or teacher's estate.
IC 20-28-9-19
IC 5-10-1.1-1 (2)  
550 IAC Article 2—Indiana State Teachers' Retirement Fund

Teacher Recognition Programs or Policies: Each year, the Indiana Department of Education conducts the Indiana Teacher of the Year program to recognize outstanding classroom teachers from across the state.
DOE Teacher of the Year
IC 20-20-4  
Milken Educator Awards

Sabbatical Policies: A school corporation may grant a teacher a leave of absence not to exceed one year for a sabbatical. The teacher has the right to return to a teaching position for which the teacher is certified or otherwise qualified under the rules of the state board.
IC 20-28-10-1

Pension Portability Policies: Policies exist for credit service to be received for service outside of the state of Indiana.
515 IAC 2-5-10 and 2-5-11
IC 5-10.4-4

License Reciprocity with Other States: The state of Indiana joined the Interstate Agreement of Qualifications of Educational Personnel.
IC 20-38

Certification/Licensure of Educators from Outside the State: If a teacher who is a graduate of an accredited institution outside Indiana does not meet certain technical requirements for a license, the teacher may be granted a particular type of license and a reasonable amount of time to fulfill the requirements of the license granted.
515 IAC 20-28-5-5
515 IAC 1-2-7