Executive Director Notes

This year, schools and districts are faced with new challenges, prompting us to bring new ideas to our classrooms in order to meet every student’s needs. Teaching and learning require greater flexibility in how instruction can be delivered - our students depend on us to meet them where they are, every day.

In response to this urgent need for innovation, NWIESC has partnered with the Modern Classrooms Project to provide sponsorship for educators in our region. Interested educators will be enrolled in the Modern Classrooms Virtual Mentorship Program and learn to implement a research-backed blended, self-paced, mastery-based instructional model built to support classrooms with a high diversity of academic and social-emotional needs. This instructional delivery model can be used with any curriculum, grade level, content area, or classroom type (in person, remote, and blended learning included). Check out this short video to see the model in action. 

Educators who participate will be able to:
  • Spend more time building relationships with students
  • Differentiate in classes with a wide range of academic and social-emotional needs 
  • Ensure continuous learning amidst frequent absences and quarantines
  • Limit added planning for substitutes and class coverage by leveraging instructional videos
  • Gain 30 PGPs upon completion
  • Receive 1:1 support from an Expert Mentor in their content area for 10 weeks as they learn an innovative instructional model

The program is largely asynchronous and is offered to Indiana educators during the following sessions:
  • January 10 - April 10, 2022
  • March 7 - June 5, 2022
  • Summer Institute (four-week intensive)
  • 3 cohorts offered May - August 2022

Educators of all grade levels and subject areas are encouraged to participate. If you would like to watch a 30-minute webinar on the program, click here.

Interested educators should complete this survey by December 3. Spots for this opportunity are filling rapidly; we encourage all interested educators to complete the survey as soon as possible.

Cooperative Purchasing


Copy Paper: Via the K12Indiana/Spendbridge online purchasing system, we have a bid in place with Central Michigan Paper (CMP) and pricing will be held until the current bid expires December 31, 2021

While on Spendbridge, you may also compare pricing using our state QPA contract via Office Depot.

Why call attention to current contracts?  Per Office Depot Strategic Management Department: “COVID cut paper usage initially by 50% and has settled by 30 % and created a surge of capacity conversions (companies getting out of paper and into pulp or packaging).  These conversions took out more capacity than the COVID decline in demand. The paper industry has been on a downward trend and is expected to continue to do so again beginning in 2023 or 2024 declining every year 2-4%. Because of this, no company is going to build a new paper plant so the squeeze on supply is not forecasted to ease any time soon.” 

Costs will likely increase after the current bid and QPA pricing expires. Members should take a strategic approach to paper purchasing without panic buying.  

If you would like to utilize one of the above contracts for purchasing and are unsure how to navigate the K12Indiana/Spendbridge site, reach out to our Cooperative Purchasing Director, Lisa Abell">Lisa Abell for assistance. We are here to help!!

Food Service

From left to right: Jennifer Herrold, Sara Williams, Lisa Abell, Kaylyn MacKillop, and Dr. Colleen Wruble.

ISNA Conference

Our team (above photo) recently spent three days attending the Indiana School Nutrition Conference (ISNA) enhancing our skills in school nutrition professional development. What does this mean to our members?  The information learned at this conference will be passed along via of our team to your school nutrition professionals.  We can assist with a vast array of school nutrition department needs:

  • Food Procurement
  • Equipment Procurement
  • State Board of Accounts Audits
  • Menu Planning
  • Food Safety Training
  • Wellness Policy
  • Administrative Reviews

and more.....

 Visit our website for more information.

Administrative Reviews
After a year hiatus, the administrative review process is back.  Your state field consultant should have already informed you if you are up for administrative review this school year.  Reviews begin as early as November.  Whether you are up for review this year or not, it's always a good time to review the operations of your food service department.
  • Do your planned menus meet all of the USDA component requirements?  Use the menu certification worksheet or another meal pattern tool.
  • Do all foods sold on the school campus during the school day outside of the reimbursable meal meet the Smart Snack RequirementsUse the Smart Snack Product Calculator to check that items meet the requirements.
  • Is your food safety plan up-to-date?  Each building should have it's own food safety plan.  It is a good idea to update this plan annually.
  • Has your wellness policy been evaluated in the last 3 years?  If not, it would be a great time to schedule a wellness committee meeting and evaluate that your policy meets the requirements.

Technology Integration

Automate GSuite Back up to keep your school safe!
Webinar attendees will learn more about how SysCloud enterprise-grade backup and the restore solutions to secure Gmail, Drive, Contacts, Calendar, and Sites so you can run your school with confidence.
Join us on the webinar December 2nd at 10am EST, to learn more. Click below to see more details & register!

Professional Development


As Director of Professional Learning, I strive to connect the dots between our curriculum, instruction, and assessment supports and the priority strands set forth by Dr. Jenner and the team at the IDOE. Current resources are organized below by the identified strands:

  • Creating Connection – Relevance, Engagement, & Relationships
  • Bouncing Back Higher – Teacher Clarity & Instructional Strategies
  • Assessing for Learning – Standards Driven, Student-Centered

Creating Connection – Relevance, Engagement, & Relationships.
 1. Study Councils for those involved with curriculum, instruction, and assessment
      a. NWIESC Curriculum Study Council 2021-22
      b. NIESC Curriculum Study Council 2021-22
Bouncing Back Higher – Teacher Clarity & Instructional Strategies
1.  Textbook Adoption Caravan 2022 - Schedule and RSVP Link
3.  English Language Learners:
      a. Monthly ELL News
      b. EL Leadership Meeting - October 13, 2021
      c. ELL TOR CERTIFICATION – NIESC - Certification for September 2022 requirements
4.  Instructional Coaching Workshop Instructional Coaching Workshop Opportunity
5.  Keep Indiana Learning https://keepindianalearning.org/
6.  Indiana Learning Lab https://inlearninglab.com/dashboard
Assessing for Learning – Standards Driven, Student-Centered
1. SAT: New Federal Accountability Exam
      a. New: SAT for Superintendents - SAT Overview Video (Grewe/Ten Minutes)
      b. New: SAT for Superintendents- SAT Overview Slideshow
      c. Indiana's Transition to the SAT from IDOE
      d. SAT Guidance from IDOE
      e. Digital SAT FAQ from IDOE
      f SAT Video Overview from IDOE
      c.Quantile Framework for Mathematics Video - 90-minute video from MetaMetrics
3.  A to F Grades and New GPS Dashboard
~Dr. Michelle Grewe, Director of Professional Learning, mgrewe@niesc.k12.in.us

Member Spotlight

Dr. Sharon Johnson Shirley
Dr. Sharon Johnson Shirley has worked for the Lake Ridge New Tech School Corporation for over 23 Years, and as Superintendent for over 14 years.  Her positions in the corporation have included: Principal, Curriculum Director, and Assistant Superintendent. She also taught in the Gary School District for 14 years. She shared that she would be remiss if she did not share the spotlight with Team Lake Ridge. She said, "Their efforts are the reason that I can be recognized today."
In the last year, as most schools, Lake Ridge worked hard to survive the Pandemic. They took matters into their own hands by hosting the first mass vaccination clinic on a school campus and were able to provide shots to over 2100 people. Governor Holcomb gave them a shout out at one of his meetings to let them know that the work to help save lives did not go unnoticed.  Dr. Johnson Shirley shared, "Our thought process at Lake Ridge was, if we became part of the solution, the sooner we could return our students back to school in person, safely."
Dr. Johnson Shirley is most proud of the work that her team completed virtually.  How many school districts can claim that they completed a new strategic plan during the pandemic?  Lake Ridge hosted parents, community, students and staff to make sure that it was all inclusive. They hosted multiple food distribution sites weekly throughout the community to feed their entire school community. They also spearheaded many other initiatives including: 
  • Utilizing their COVID relief funds to ensure that students thrived academically, socially, and emotionally.  
  • Creating a plan to improve air quality at their Schools with an HVAC renovation project.
  • Creating a plan to improve health, safety, and security with an entry redesign and restroom refurbishment project.
  • Installing touchless water bottle filling stations at all schools.
  • Adding additional nursing staff to assist in contact tracing.
  • Addressing student learning gaps by employing academic interventionists, behavior interventionist, and home school liaisons.
  • Providing additional professional development for teachers.
  • Addressing SEL issues raised by the pandemic by partnering with community originations to assist where needed.

What Dr. Johnson Shirley finds most rewarding about her job is that they provide a family atmosphere. Their motto is; we are one and we live by this creed.  We seek to find solutions to problems no matter how hard, and we never give up.

When asked about her future dreams, she shared, "My future dream is that we get equitable resources to provide a high quality education for all and give the staff all the tools they need to make it happen."

In her spare time, Dr. Johnson Shirley enjoys spending time with her husband, supporting her sorority initiatives, attending live plays, and reading.  Everyone knows her favorite pastime is shopping, even if she is not buying.