CELL honored for teacher quality program

National Institute for Excellence in Teaching

National Institute for Excellence in Teaching photo

NIET Chairman and TAP Founder Lowell Milken (left) presents a TAP Award of Distinction to CELL Executive Director David Dresslar (far right) and Indiana TAP Director Jennifer Oliver on Friday in Los Angeles.

Indiana TAP system now touches 1,500 teachers, 25,000 students

The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis is among just three recipients nationwide of this year’s TAP Award of Distinction, which honors organizations for their dedication and commitment to advancing the effectiveness of educators.

CELL Executive Director David Dresslar and TAP Director Jennifer Oliver accepted the award Friday before more than 1,200 educators and policy leaders at the 14th National TAP Conference in Los Angeles.

TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement is America’s leading comprehensive educator effectiveness model that aligns career advancement, professional development, educator evaluation and performance-based compensation. For more than a decade, TAP has worked to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement in high-need urban, rural and suburban schools and districts across the country. It is managed and supported by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET).

TAP in Indiana is administered by CELL as a partnership among NIET, CELL and the Indiana Department of Education. Launched in the 2011-2012 school year, it now impacts 1,500 teachers and 25,000 students.

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In the news: CELL and Sports Marketing



Dr. David Dresslar, executive director of UIndy’s Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, penned an opinion column published in Sunday’s Indianapolis Star on the controversial topic of school vouchers.

Dresslar was invited to write the piece after being interviewed for a recent story on the topic, which noted that vouchers increasingly are being used by families that don’t fit the intended profile for the program. In his column, which can be read here, he says vouchers benefit only a small percentage of Indiana students and distract from more pressing education issues.

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Dr. Larry DeGaris, director of the academic Sports Marketing program in UIndy’s School of Business, has been interviewed on several topics recently by local and national media:

  • CNN asked him to weigh in on the business value of Super Bowl corporate sponsorships. Watch that clip here.
  • WISH-TV was curious how Indianapolis compared to other cities vying to host future Super Bowls. Watch that clip here.
  • Fox News asked about the long-term viability of online gambling. Read that report here.

CELL to host statewide ed-reform conference

More than 500 education, business and community leaders will gather next month in Indianapolis for the state’s premier annual conference on education reform, organized by the University of Indianapolis’ Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning with support from the Lilly Foundation.

CELL buttonThe ninth annual Indiana’s Future conference will take place Nov. 12-13 at the Wyndham Indianapolis West.

Under the theme “Turning Challenges into Opportunities,” the event will feature more than 50 sessions addressing a wide range of issues, including college readiness, education technology, education and workforce innovation, project-based learning and policy updates.

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CELL staffer honored for community work

UIndy staff member and alumna Wendi Middleton was honored recently for her off-duty work supporting incarcerated women and their children.



A project coordinator for UIndy’s Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, Middleton was one of three recipients of this year’s “Angel of Grace” awards from the Sisters of St. Benedict of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove. She is the founder and executive director of Angel’s Wings Inc., a nonprofit volunteer organization that describes its mission as “promoting family preservation by providing alternative residential placement for children of offenders, fostering mentor relationships with pregnant offenders, and assisting female ex-offenders in the successful reintegration into the community.”

Middleton holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Applied Sociology from UIndy, and she worked previously as a transition coordinator with Prison Fellowship Ministries and the Indiana Department of Correction.

She points out that the UIndy community has been very supportive of Angel’s Wings over the years.

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In the news: Marketing and CELL



Why do Christmas sales pop up earlier each year? Because they make sense for both retailers and shoppers, says Dr. Deidre Pettinga, assistant professor of marketing in UIndy’s School of Business.

As she told WISH-TV in an interview earlier this week, the so-called “holiday creep” not only helps stores boost their numbers, it can actually help shoppers save money by spreading their gift purchases over a longer period of time and avoiding too much reliance on credit.

“They can take advantage of these generous layaway policies and then pay down and pay off their purchases before the holiday,” Dr. Pettinga said.

Watch or read the full story here.

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Dr. Janet Boyle, assistant director of UIndy’s Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, was interviewed by the CNHI newspaper chain about IREAD-3, Indiana’s reading proficiency test for third-graders.

The story, appearing in newspapers throughout the state, notes a growing achievement gap that is leaving behind many students, especially those who live in poverty or don’t speak English as their first language. Boyle said the deficiency is arising at a crucial time in the students’ development, when reading becomes the foundation of all other academic success.

“By the fourth grade, the curriculum expands to include science, social studies and other subjects where learning content becomes important,” she said.

Read the full story here.

CELL announces education/workforce grants

Funds totaling more than $450,000 will support partnerships around the state

The Indiana Education Workforce Innovation Network has awarded eight regional partnership grants totaling more than $450,000 in a drive to align high school, college, and career and technical education programs with specific employment opportunities around the state.

A joint venture of Indiana’s Education Roundtable and the University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, EWIN was formed in 2012 with support from Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Joyce Foundation.

CELL buttonWith the ultimate aim of increasing Hoosiers’ educational attainment and eliminating barriers to workforce development, EWIN supports regional education-business partnerships in developing new models of technical education; strengthening math programs to reduce the need for remediation; and promoting dual-credit courses that allow high school students to earn transferable college credits in academic and technical subjects.

“The task of aligning curriculum with job opportunities will require a statewide network of educators, policymakers and interested citizens,” said Todd Hurst, CELL’s director of education and workforce innovation. “We’re pleased to be working in each of these regions to build that network, which can then collaborate with other state and local agencies to develop new solutions for Indiana’s students.”

The regional groups receiving EWIN’s first round of grants are:

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In the news: UIndy and Project-Based Learning

Deb Sachs, director of UIndy’s Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship program, is a key source for a U.S. News & World Report story about Project-Based Learning.



PBL, a key concept in the teaching fellowship program, is an inquiry-driven approach to classroom instruction that presents students with complex, real-world challenges and supports them in developing solutions through group collaboration, reflecting the type of learning and problem solving that adults face in their careers.

Sachs tells the publication that PBL initially may seem daunting to teachers and students, but the results are rewarding if they collaborate and stay flexible.

“Like anything new, you’re going to get better at it the more you do it,” she says. “The first project you do will probably need significant revision, and that’s okay.”

Read the story here.

CELL buttonCoincidentally, this week UIndy’s Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning is again cohosting the annual PBL Institute for educators. Most of the four-day event’s 200 participants are from Indiana, but some hail from other states and nations. Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz addressed the group Monday.

More info on the institute is here.

CELL endorses four Early College High Schools

With Center Grove, Connersville, East Chicago, Lawrenceburg,
seven Indiana high schools now offer innovative prep program

Four Indiana high schools have received formal endorsements of their Early College programs, which allow students to earn up to two years of college credit while pursuing high school diplomas.

CELLReceiving the three-year endorsements are Center Grove High School near Greenwood, Connersville Senior High School, East Chicago Central High School and Lawrenceburg High School. The endorsements were awarded this month by the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning at the University of Indianapolis, the organization selected by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to certify Early College programs.

Most Indiana high schools offer dual-credit courses that can give students a head start on college, CELL Assistant Director Janet Boyle said, but so far only a few have met the criteria established in the state for a true Early College program.

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Opinion: CELL director on Common Core



David Dresslar, executive director of UIndy’s Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, was invited to to write an opinion column for the latest Indianapolis Business Journal about Indiana’s debate over Common Core education standards.

“Controversy over education policy is normal and healthy for the Indiana General Assembly, but this session’s pointless rancor over Common Core State Standards has only hindered progress in teaching our children and building our communities,” he wrote.

IBJ subscribers can read the full item here.

VIDEO: Education leaders speak at CELL event

What do Gov. Mike Pence and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz have to say about improving education in Indiana?

See for yourself in videos just posted by UIndy’s Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning. On Jan. 25, CELL and the Indiana Education Roundtable hosted the inaugural summit of the state’s new Education-Workforce Innovation Network. Funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Joyce Foundation, the network aims to better align secondary and postsecondary education with specific growth industries and business opportunities in each region of the state. More information is available at http://iewin.org.

According to news accounts here and here, Pence and Ritz seemed to agree more than they differ.

The videos are posted here:
Mike Pence
Glenda Ritz
Brian Bosworth, founder and president, FutureWorks
Mark Gerstle, VP and CAO, Cummins Inc.


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