Butler graduate students develop resource for school leaders to reference as they plan to reopen

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INDIANAPOLIS — There are still many unknowns as schools prepare to reopen this fall. To help with the difficult process, there’s a graduate program at Butler University that’s hoping to give school leaders a one stop shop for insight on those tough decisions.

“It is the most complex and uncertain thing that we have ever dealt with in education,” said Superintendent Jeff Butts of MSD of Wayne Township.

His district started looking at multiple scenarios for the fall semester back as early as April.

“As much has changed over the last ten weeks, I think we’re going to see the same amount of change over the next nine and quite frankly people are tired,” Butts added.

He’s welcoming all of the help he can get it and Denver Wade and Nawla Williams are two students that are part of a team to do just that.

“What a better experience than for us to help guide people through this,” said Wade.

Williams added, “It speaks a lot to how hard and how much work has gone into providing equal opportunities for all students in indiana.”

Wade and Williams are part of the Experimental Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP) at Butler University. A group of graduate students, who are aspiring school leaders, are leading the research.

“We were able to work with people who have their boots on the ground, the people who actually know what works and what doesn’t work,” said Williams.

The students are meeting with local education experts to develop a document that all districts can benefit from as they make their reopening plans.

“Operations and logistics, to curriculum and remediation, to the model that schools may have to use with technology, to actual needs for technology, to education equity,” Wade explained.

The research will be available to schools across the state. It’s a project Deb Lecklider, the Director of the program says is meant to do what teachers to best.

“Just as I am so proud of my students at Butler University, our students are also proud of their students and so anything we can do to support them and make it easier as they transition, because it’s going to be hard; it’s going to be really difficult to go back to school,” said Lecklider, “Think about the importance of a document that you have at your finger prints, resources, research, things that are constantly changing and we know the document needs to be fluid.”

Helping determine what the new normal looks like in the classroom and the steps it will take to make it happen.

“We can go back to a better and more improved normal and I am so excited for that,” said Wade.

The experts the students are speaking with range from the Education Advisor to Governor Eric Holcomb, to the Indiana Urban Schools Association and the Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association.

The program will be publishing their work by the end of June for school leaders to reference.

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