Pathways to eliminate ISTEP+ requirement for Class of ‘23 and on, Harmas says


Principal Tom Harmas works at his desk. Harmas said he has recently been developing the Pathways graduation program, new teacher evaluations and teacher professional leave days.

Carson TerBush

With the introduction of the new graduation pathways program, Principal Tom Harmas said the previously required ISTEP+ tests will no longer be needed for graduation for students currently in eighth grade and below. In addition to coordinating Pathways, Harmas said he is currently working on allocating funds for teachers’ professional leave days and on developing a new teacher evaluation system.

Harmas said updating to Pathways, though it is not a big change for current CHS students right now, is resulting in significant administrative work behind the scenes. Specifically, he said keeping records of each student’s service-based learning requirements will be a challenge.

“Say you worked at McDonald’s. Now I have to have a form that will have to say all the hours you worked at McDonald’s and then have your McDonald’s person sign off that that’s true,” Harmas said. “We’re keeping records for 5,000 kids, so when you do that now it becomes a logistical nightmare. From the outside we’ll look like a duck: we’ll be floating across the water and everything will look fine, but underneath we’ll be paddling really hard to get all the logistical pieces.”

Harmas said he is also determining which teachers will receive professional leave days (days teachers can leave school to attend a professionally relevant event, such as a conference or extra activities like DECA or marching band competitions). While the actual cost of these events are paid for by parent groups or club members, Harmas said the school’s budget must cover the cost of substitute teachers while the teacher is not at school, resulting in a school-wide limit of 150 professional days.

“With 320 staff members, we have more than 150 requests and needs; for example, DECA,” Harmas said. “We have about 50 more days than we can afford to have. We have to figure out where that (money) is going to come from.”

Harmas said he is in the early stages of developing a new evaluation system for both teachers and administrators.

“There have been no decisions made or anything at this point. For administrators; for the principals, we are testing out a new goal-oriented type of thing instead of just the checklist type of (evaluation) that we have right now,” Harmas said. “(The goal is) to make it more meaningful. and real-world instead of boxes and just checking those boxes off.”

On the student side, student body president Tim Metken said student government members have changed Care to Share from helping Indianapolis families to exclusively helping Carmel families who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

“Sometimes (people) will be like, ‘Oh, these students aren’t in Carmel, are they really struggling? But there is a demographic of families that struggle in Carmel, and that’s where these gifts will be going to,” Metken said. By Carson TerBush