Olthoff: New laws supporting students, schools now in effect

Posted by: Jessica Bruder  | Wednesday, August 15, 2018

STATEHOUSE (Aug. 15, 2018) — With students and educators heading back to the classroom, State Rep. Julie Olthoff (R-Crown Point) said many new laws impact local school districts.

“Legislators worked hard this past session to provide new ways to help our teachers and students,” Olthoff said. “As new technology emerges and safety concerns become more prominent, it is important educators are equipped with the tools they need for success.”

Olthoff said other new education laws ensure students, educators and schools have the tools and resources needed to be successful: 

  • Improving Employability Skills – A new law ensures schools include courses on employability skills or soft skills, like following directions and showing up on time, to help better prepare students for the workforce. Olthoff said strengthening time management and problem-solving skills will make students more employable and prepared for life after high school. (Senate Enrolled Act 297)

  • Increasing Computer Skills – A new law ensures all K-12 public schools offer computer science classes. According to Olthoff, these skills are in high demand and critical to filling current and future job openings. The Next Level Computer Science Grant Program will help local schools train teachers to instruct the courses. (SEA 172)

  • Protecting Student Athletes – A new law establishes a certified coaching education course on how to prevent and respond to heat-related medical issues. School and intramural sports coaches for students in grades 5-12 will undergo training to recognize, prevent and respond to signs of heat exhaustion. (House Enrolled Act 1024)

  • Supporting Foster Youth – A new law tasks the Department of Education, the Department of Child Services and the State Board of Education with preparing an annual report on the educational outcomes of students in foster care. Nationally, 56 percent of children in foster care graduate from high school, and only 3 percent graduate from college. The state is working to develop tools to help foster care students succeed. (HEA 1314)

  • Prioritizing STEM Education – A new law creates an optional elementary school teacher content area license, aiming to build a stronger math and science foundation in elementary school students. Educators with a passion to teach STEM subjects will be able to actively engage young students and prepare them for high-level courses in their academic careers. (HEA 1399)

  • Preventing Suicide Deaths – A new law Olthoff sponsored works to decrease suicide rates by updating awareness programs for educators, health care providers and emergency medical technicians. Already required to receive at least two hours of training on suicide awareness and prevention, this law specifies this annual training must be recommended by the Indiana Suicide Prevention Network Advisory Council. (SEA 230)

Visit iga.in.gov to learn more about these and other state laws that recently went into effect.

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State Rep. Julie Olthoff represents House District 19,
which includes a portion of Lake and Porter counties.

A high-resolution photo of Olthoff can be found here.