GOSHEN — Goshen High School Principal Cathy DeMeyer announced to the Goshen Community Schools Board of Trustees that the high school plans to implement an early college program.
Students will be able to earn more than 15 transferable college credits, with some students enrolling in their freshman year of college as a junior and skipping nearly all prerequisite classes, the board learned at its Tuesday meeting.
Indianapolis University’s Center for Excellence and Leadership (CELL) has launched an Urban College Acceleration Network and has partnered with many schools including Goshen High School, Concord High School, Fairfield High School , Northridge High School, Northwood High School as collaborators in the preliminary stages. Jimtown High School is currently in the phases of pursuing approval, while Elkhart Area Career Center and Elkhart High School boast of being the only schools in the county with CELL approval.
Approved as a partner school, GHS will have a mentor school already in the program to guide them through implementation as well as funding to support the program.
DeMeyer said that while any student can pursue a dual credit or early college program, CELL targets students “who may not have realized they have college opportunities available to them.” She said the program will target those who receive a free or reduced lunch, or who are first-generation college students but are capable of academic rigor.
Indiana is, on average, 10% below other states when it comes to students attending college. There has also been a significant decrease since 2010. In 2020, only 53% of high school students went to college, compared to a national average of 63% according to the Indiana College Equity Report 2021. Goshen High School does not keep records of students who graduate, DeMeyer said, but only about 20 percent of students at the school earn college credit before graduation, compared to a state average of more than 60 percent.
“Our students deserve to have the same opportunities their counterparts get in local schools,” she said.
Staffing is a significant challenge for the program. About a dozen teachers currently have master’s degrees and can teach the classes, but the district also plans to create pathways for teachers to earn the necessary degrees and be certified to teach early college programming as well.
DeMeyer hopes to develop a foundational program that would allow early college attendees to go straight into college as a junior, eliminating the first two years of college and the debt that comes with it. They are also considering dual credits in pathway programs already available in high school.
For more information about CELL, visit cell.uindy.edu.
New math curriculum
Teachers at Goshen Junior High are working with the administration to adopt a new math curriculum that they hope will help students from all walks of life. Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Tracey Noe, met with the Goshen School Board of Trustees to discuss a program they liked and ask for her trial to continue.
Last spring, all the seventh and eighth grade math teachers met with Noe to find the next math curriculum. They used the Indiana Department of Education’s Mathematics Textbook Assessment Tool to examine three different math resources covering rigor and balance, process standards, math teaching practices effective, equity and other tools. The program that the teachers preferred was Desmos.
Desmos is a primarily online platform. Since the IREAD assessment already enables the Desmos calculator, the program mimics what students see on standardized tests, which Noe said is a big plus for teachers.
It also allows them to use a variety of approaches to arrive at the correct answer.
“With the students that we have, these culturally different strategies become really important, that we honor where they are, maybe their education spent in whatever country they come from, is all integrated in their way to think and solve problems,” Noe said. “This culturally appropriate teaching becomes a key element in the success of these students from diverse backgrounds.”
It also had a feedback platform that allows students to give each other anonymous feedback with the usernames of well-known mathematicians and computer experts, Noe explained.
The program also encourages students to write about math. Curriculum and assessment provider Amplify acquired Desmos in May 2022. At the time, the school’s junior high teachers were already using a free condensed version of Desmos. In addition to the Desmos online platform, the acquisition by Amplify allows the district to also receive paper documents.
For now, teachers have been using a free trial version of the full resource since spring using notebooks to track their work, but it’s ending at the end of October. Noe said she’s seen the program in action and was happy with the interactions using the resource, despite the teachers not yet being trained in Desmos.
Teachers want to continue the trial as a pilot program until the end of the school year, but it will no longer be free. If fully adopted, teachers would be professionally trained.
•The board also approved the posting of the budget for the following year. It includes an education fund of $40,517,274, an operating fund of $16,275,646, an operating referendum of $4,658,816, debt service of $10,278,394, exempt capital of the referendum debt of $5,435,000 and a rain fund of $1,000,000. A public hearing is scheduled for September 27 at 6 p.m.
•More students passed the IREAD after summer remediation. After summer school, a total of 75.8% of third-grade students in the district had passed. The result still puts them just below the state average, however, about 35% of sophomores allowed to take the IREAD passed. Deputy Superintendent Alan Metcalfe explained that generally students who have to retake the IREAD in year four pass it, and those who don’t have a good reason like being an English learner or having a developmental delay that gives them a IEP.
• The board recognized GCS staff who have achieved English language learning certification, including Angelica Chavez, Rachel Zentz, Aaron Gardner, Amy Fisher, Amy Kratzer, Angela Bjorkland, Colleen Weldy, Emily Shenk, Hannah Bachman, Josh Snyder, Kaylee Shepherd, Kristy Moberg, Megan Krug, Meghan Rheinheimer, Rebecca Gardner, Ruth Metcalfe and Sonya Imus.