Special Education

Grant to help IPS

Ball State is teaming up with the Indiana Humanities Council (IHC) to help teachers in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) strengthen curriculum and apply new technologies in classrooms, which will ultimately improve student learning.

Evidence-based Professional and Instructional Change (EPIC) is a $700,000 project funded in part by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE). Faculty members from Teachers College and the College of Sciences and Humanities will design and facilitate the professional development program for up to 80 teachers at IPS schools during the two-year project.

EPIC's faculty will provide activities that will focus on helping teachers develop curriculum that meets Indiana's educational standards by clearly defining learning goals for students, developing student assessment strategies and creating effective and engaging learning activities, said Peggy Rice, assistant professor of English.

"We want to help teachers refine their curriculum by focusing on the big picture of student learning," she said.

Rice will direct the project with Matthew Stuve, associate professor of educational technology. Others contributing to the project include Diane Bottomley, associate professor of elementary education, and Kenan Metzger, assistant professor of English, with John Keller and James Rodman from IHC.

EPIC faculty will provide the resources teachers need to learn more about curriculum design models, assessment practices and technology. Among these resources are rGrade, an assessment engine developed at Ball State, and smartDESKTOP, an interactive Web site produced by IHC. These tools will help teachers advance their assessment methods as well as share new classroom lessons and ideas with teachers across the state.

The initiative fits in perfectly with the strategic mission of Teachers College of helping schools with its outreach initiatives and award-winning assessment programs, said Roy Weaver, dean of Teachers College.

"Through other partnerships, Teachers College has helped urban schools like Wayne Township's Rhodes Elementary in Indianapolis go from failing to Blue Ribbon," he said. "We are constantly looking to export our teaching and technology expertise to help schools throughout Indiana in any way we can."

(Note to editors: For more information, contact Peggy Rice or call 765-285-8580 or Matthew Stuve or call 765-285-7600.)