INPEA Update
October 2015

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October Message

Fall is in full swing across Indiana. The leaves are changing colors (time for a trip to Brown County), schools are taking Fall Break, temperatures
are dropping, football playoffs are starting, and YES, some of us are sitting through Interim Education Committee Hearings at the Indiana General Assembly.
Even though the General Assembly is formally in recess, work is being done behind-the-scenes in preparation for the legislative session to begin in January.
As always, advocacy will be important in the 2016 legislative session. It is critical that, when needed, the non-public school voice can be heard! Be a part of that VOICE! Stay tuned for dates of upcoming November Engagement Sessions. 
Choice Scholarship Rules Hearings

Dates and Sites Announced
It has been a long time in coming (for a variety of reasons), but the New Choice Scholarship Rules are now published for public comment. A copy of the rules can be found here.

The new voucher rules that will be open to public comment in late October and early November. As we reviewed the rules, we noticed a section that was particularly problematic. It was in section  512 IAC 4-1-3.2 Eligible school tuition and fees (see below). 

(e) Eligible schools must first apply all tuition and fee discounts and the eligible school's financial aid, including any need-based financial aid, that the eligible choice scholarship student, or a similarly situated non-eligible choice scholarship student, would have otherwise received absent a choice scholarship before determining the amount of tuition for purposes of the choice application.

This rule contradicts the prior interpretation of IDOE and INPEA. I immediately contacted our IDOE attorney for the Choice Program, and after reviewing it, he acknowledged it was an error. With the State rules process, it cannot be changed until after the public comment period. We will be addressing it during the public comment period; others can as well. We do not anticipate a problem with it being changed.  

There is another change for Choice Scholarship students who are dual enrolled. These students are enrolled in a choice school and also attend part of the day in vocational educational center. Less frequently, there are some special education students enrolled part of the day in a choice school and part of the day in a public school. The proposed rule would reduce the voucher dollar amount based on the percent of the day the student spends taking classes in the public school. This does not apply to special education services received off site.

Another area, which is not a change, does not allow schools to charge additional dollars in the voucher calculation amount for private schools providing special education programs/services for which they charge additionally.

And finally, there is new language that requires schools to provide to parents "immediately," a copy of their application and any correspondence received via the portal relative to their application. We have some concern that in some circumstances that this "immediate" timeline is unreasonable. 

We have received a number of emails from member schools regarding the needs based assistance issue. Although we do need to make comments on these relevant issues (especially the needs based issue), we anticipate little resistance in fixing this language concern. Our interpretation is still correct that discounts come off the top and needs based assistance can come off the bottom. Feel free to call or email us with questions at (317) 236-7329

Your Opportunity to be Heard
Three public hearings (North, Central and South) are scheduled to allow an opportunity to provide feedback or public comment about the proposed rules.

Hearings will be conducted:

October 30th from 10:00 am-12:00 pm ET at the Indiana Department of Education Offices (Riley Conference Room). 115 W Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.

November 2nd from 3:00 pm-5:00 pm CT at the Diocese of Evansville Catholic Center, 4 200 N Kentucky Ave., Evansville, IN 47711.

November 3rd from 4:00 pm-6:00 pm ET St. Joseph High School, 453 N Notre Dame Ave., South Bend, IN 46617 (Door A).  
If you are unable to attend a hearing and would like to make comment, you can do so online here.
Diploma Hearing


INPEA continues to engage in the state wide conversation on the proposed changes to Indiana's diploma requirements. We have met with Indiana Department of Education, Commission for Higher Education, and provided comment to the State Board of Education.


As you know, the proposed changes involve the addition of four credits (two in math, one in financial responsibility, and one in college and career planning). For schools with graduation requirements over and above the state requirements (e.g. faith based schools), these additional credits can have the potential of reducing options for students, especially higher level sciences, foreign languages, or fine arts. 


Our meetings with IDOE and CHE have been very positive, in which officials in both organizations were very open to alternative pathways to meet two of the credit requirements (i.e. financial responsibility and college and career planning).

The Indiana SBOE will have an additional meeting this month on the proposed diploma requirements on October 28th, 2015. The main reason for the meeting is to give the public the opportunity to share concerns with the proposed diploma changes. 

Dual Credit
The State of Indiana continues to wrestle with proposed changes by the Higher Learning Commission (regional accrediting body for colleges and universities) regarding minimum requirements for teachers to continue teaching dual credit courses. 

A task force has been reconvened to study strategic options to ensure that Indiana's Dual Credit Program is not significantly harmed.  INPEA has a seat on this task force.

This is not an Indiana specific issue. The HLC accrediting body accredits colleges and universities in 19 states. Thus, the solution will not be simple. If HLC will not change this accreditation standard (minimally a master's degree in the content area, or a master's degree in any area of education and 18 hours in the content area), the task force is exploring ways to make it easier to get the additional credit hours needed to meet the HLC requirement.

We will keep you posted. The current proposal would take effect in September 2017. 
Religious Liberty

Following the 2015 Indiana General Assembly legislative session, INPEA and the non-public school community are watching closely for any potential impact that religious liberty issues could have on faith based private schools. In anticipation of legislation that provides a categorical protection to LGBT individuals, it is important that schools have policies, contracts, and practices that protect their religious missions as it relates in particular to hiring and admissions. It is also important that we prepare for how we communicate and message on this issue.
INPEA is convening two committees (i.e. Religious Liberty and Communications) to develop strategies to assist member schools with these issues.
Stay Tuned! If you have comments or insights, feel free to email John at 
Non-Public Schools Across the Nation Exceed SAT Benchmarks

Recent data has shown that the overall average of SAT scores are at their lowest level in ten years. Though, the averages of religious and independent schools have exceeded the SAT benchmark score of 1550, and effectively raised the average for overall SAT performances across the nation. 

Public schools fell 88 points below the benchmark score of a combined 1550 score, with averages of 489 in reading, 475 in writing, and 498 in math. Totaling to a 1462 combined score. 

Religious schools exceeded the benchmark by 46 points, giving them an average of a 1596 combined score, with 533 in reading, 527 in writing, and 536 in math.  

Independent schools scored 99 points above the SAT benchmark with an average score of 1649. On average students received a 532 in reading, 538 in writing, and 579 in math. 
The SAT benchmark score was created to determine college readiness. "According to the College Board, a benchmark score of 1550 is 'associated with a 65 percent probability of obtaining a first-year GPA of B- or higher at a  four-year college.'"  

In Indiana, the average score was 1490, 60 points short of the SAT benchmark score. For public schools the average score was a 1459, with a 491 in reading, 495 in math, and 473 in writing. 

Religious schools in Indiana had an average score of 1576, which exceeded the benchmark score by 26 points. They scored 530 in reading, 531 in math, and 515 in writing. 

Indiana Independent schools also scored above the benchmark, with 177 points over the average, giving them an overall score of  1707. They score 570 in reading, 577 in math, and 560 in writing. 

Information provided by CAPE and The College Board .
School Improvement Plans

The State of Indiana is considering the use of a standardized school improvement plan template. The IDOE has proposed the use of Advance Ed's Assist Platform for that template. There has been conflicting interpretations as to the applicability of this proposed requirement for accredited non-public schools. In addition, there is considerable push back from the public sector.

Freeway schools have never been required to submit an improvement plan to the State. The last we heard, that hasn't changed. It is also unclear if traditionally state accredited non-public schools have to use the template, or simply have to submit a plan in any format. It also unclear for a non-public school that is not Advance Ed accredited, whether the State will pay for the use of the Assist Platform. Finally, at a meeting recently with Advance Ed, we learned that Advance Ed will be moving away from the Assist Platform in the next year or so to a new platform called E Prove.

All in all, lots of confusion! We'll keep you posted!  
INPEA Annual Dues Collection

Please watch for 2015-16 dues statements! It is your contributions and support of INPEA through your dues that covers the majority of INPEA operations. Remember your dues are based on prior year enrollment. 

Dues Amounts

$1.00 for PreK

$3.15 for K-12

INPEA Annual Data Survey

Please don't forget the 2015-16 Data Survey! By completing the survey you provide INPEA with vital information to help us serve you better! 

INPEA Job Opportunity

INPEA is growing! We are currently in search of a Part-Time Office Coordinator. 

Position Description: The Office Coordinator will support the Executive Director in all Association office operations. The OC will manage all office operations including data base management, payables and receivables, board record keeping, donor data base management, phone support and other office organization and reporting functions.

Qualifications: The successful candidate must have excellent organizational and communication skills as well as a knowledge of and commitment to non-public school education. Experience with all Microsoft Office Products is required, while experience in Quickbooks is strongly preferred. An ability and interest in mastering new technology applications will be key to the candidate's success. A bachelor's degree and previous experience in office management, is preferred but not required. 

Office Coordinator will work Monday-Thursday 9:00 AM- 2:00 PM. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Application Deadline is Oct. 30th, 2015.

To apply, e-mail a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references by the application deadline above. To view this posting online, go here.
Attn: John Elcesser, Executive Director
Professional Development Opportunities 

St. Pius X Leader in Me Program
St. Pius X is hosting a Leadership Day on November 12th, 2015 from 8:30-11:30 AM ET. St. Pius X Leadership Day will exhibit the Leader in Me Program. For an informational brochure or to register, go  here

Global Exploration for Educators Organization
Founded in 2007, Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has sent over 1300 teachers abroad on adventurous travel programs. 
With GEEO educators can earn professional development credits while seeing the world. GEEO's trips are seven to twenty-one days in length and are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. In addition to amazing tour leaders, many of the programs are accompanied by university faculty that are experts on the destination. GEEO also provides teachers educational materials and the structure to help them bring their experiences into the classroom. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and university educators, administrators, retired educators, as well as educators' guests.
Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found here . GEEO can be reached seven days a week, toll-free at  1-877-600-0105  between 9:00 AM-9:00 PM EST.
Many thanks to our INPEA Business Partners!

Catapult Learning
Contact Person: Pat Lacognata,

Contact Person: Laura Zapp,

DAST Consulting
Contact Person: David Sexauer,

Contact Person: Steven Allspaw,

VoWac Publishing Company
Contact Person: John Pfeifer,

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Contact Person: John Hurley, 
Stay connected!


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Follow John on Twitter for live updates from the legislature or state board.


Would you like to advertise for jobs in your schools on our website? Is your school making news and you would like to share it with the INPEA Community? Please send news to Andrea Zimmerman at   

Thanks for your support!

John Elcesser
Executive Director
Indiana Non-Public Education Association

With support from

Andrea Zimmerman
Office and Communications Coordinator
Indiana Non-Public Education Association