Rise & Shine: Indiana schools chief Jennifer McCormick encourages educators to speak up

Welcome back to Monday.

I spent a morning last week calling child care providers in Marshall County to ask about the interest they’re seeing for On My Way Pre-K. While child care directors were largely excited about the opportunity, several said it’s been slow to catch on — which was disappointing for one who had open pre-K spots, and others who had made sure they met the requirements for the state voucher program.

What will it take for pre-K to catch on in more rural parts of Indiana? I could almost hear shrugs on the other end of the phone. Time, they said. Read on about the leftover funds for On My Way Pre-K in my story below. And catch Dylan’s story on the upcoming decision on the state takeover schools in IPS.

— Stephanie Wang, bureau chief

Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.

PRE-K: Indiana expects to leave about $6 million in state funding for pre-Kindergarten untouched this year due to a slower-than-hoped expansion. Chalkbeat

WHAT’S NEXT?: Seven years after Indiana seized control of four failing schools from the Indianapolis Public Schools district, state officials must now decide the fate of three of those campuses. Chalkbeat

ACTION: “We don’t need rhetoric. We need action,” state schools chief Jennifer McCormick told educators in northwest Indiana. NWI

SCHOLARSHIPS: A Perry Meridian student who experienced homelessness, the loss of a parent, and the drug addiction of another parent was recognized with a college scholarship. IndyStar

PRAYERS: An Indiana superintendent is being criticized for a letter asking local churches to pray for the school district. AP

LAWSUIT: A lawsuit claims that Portage schools failed to protect female students from sexual abuse by an assistant coach who is facing sexual misconduct charges. NWI

DIPLOMAS: How the Excel Center helped a refugee from Syria rebuild his life in Indianapolis. RTV6

CHOICE: A Gary teen wins a national school choice contest for his video about how his private school gave him the chance to “bounce back” from falling behind in school. NWI

FIRED: Brown County Schools terminated a substitute teacher and coach who wore blackface in a photo posted online, after he declined the district’s offer to let him return to work under certain conditions. Fox59, RTV6, WISH, WTHR

OUTREACH: A Lawrence Township school opens a food pantry for students. Fox59