Teachers, schools need tools to help students be successful

By Woody Burton

School is finally out for the summer, and many local seniors are celebrating the final chapter of high school. Congratulations to the students who have completed their high school careers. Your hard work has finally paid off, and our community is incredibly proud of your accomplishments.

While you’ve put in a great deal of hard work and dedication, I know you had a tremendous support system in your teachers and schools.

One of my main priorities as a state lawmaker is to help provide students, educators and schools the resources and tools necessary to be successful. During the recently completed legislative session, I supported a two-year, balanced state budget and a variety of new laws that strengthen Indiana’s commitment to education.

One way we can promote student success is ensuring they are on the right track throughout their academic career. I supported a new policy replacing Indiana’s troubled ISTEP exam with a more efficient statewide assessment, ILEARN, which will better measure student growth toward Indiana’s college-and career-ready standards.

This new exam will be less disruptive to classroom learning as it will only be given during one testing window at the end of the school year. Additionally, students will have multiple pathways to choose from to meet Indiana’s graduation requirements.

Now, students will have opportunities to pursue a path that best fits their skill sets and aspirations, whether that be entering the workforce immediately after high school or receiving some form of postsecondary education.

When students are interested in the material they are studying, they are more engaged and ready to learn. Oftentimes, their interests cover a large variety of subjects. The General Assembly created a new law that will provide students access to specialty classes and business or trade certification programs not provided at their school.

Whether small, rural or urban, some schools may lack the necessary resources to provide advanced classes or trade programs in high-demand areas. Students will be able to enroll in a class to tailor their academic career to their future plans, regardless of where they attend school.

A great teacher is the single most important factor in a student’s success. Studies suggest that most new teachers believe having access to a mentor has the largest impact on developing their effectiveness as an educator.

To encourage those in their first and second year to remain in the classroom, policymakers established a mentorship program for new Hoosier teachers and administrators.

Our students hold the keys to our state’s bright future, and I am dedicated to supporting commonsense policies like these that help them grow and succeed. Good luck, graduates, in the next chapter of your lives!

If I can ever be a resource to you in the future, please contact me at 317-232-9648 or h58@iga.in.gov.

State Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland) represents a portion of Johnson County. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.