GAIN’s Future: EVSC & Ten Adams Working Together
By Ann M. Ennis
MAY 23, 2023
(During the April 10 EVSC School Board meeting trustees voted to sign a contract with Ten Adams, a local, marketing and advertising firm, for website design. The EVSC will spend $250,000 from ESSER funding (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds) for the project supporting its trademarked GAIN framework)
The $250,000 Ten Adams EVSC contract and scope of work came about because EVSC leadership felt that existing online GAIN (Growth in Academics through Innovation and Neuroeducation) materials and messaging on the EVSC website are inadequate. The expanded partnership with Ten Adams will ensure the GAIN site becomes easily accessible and convenient for EVSC staff, according to EVSC Superintendent Dr. David Smith.
The Ten Adam’s website notes that the agency is “100% Hospital and Health-system focused.” It lists Core Capabilities as “services (that) are designed to help hospitals and health systems elevate their brand in the marketplace and be the catalyst that drives transformational revenue growth.” This leader in healthcare revenue growth and branding is a unanimous choice for EVSC trustees to assist with GAIN website improvements.
Because of previous work by Ten Adams with GAIN, Dr. Smith said there was no bid process or publicly documented evaluation of the vendor for this agreement.
Per the Indiana State Board of Accounts Schools & Township, school districts purchasing services are excepted from Indiana state code requiring competitive bids for services. If there are no goods or materials, and the contract is service only, then school districts are free to not seek bids and to simply follow their local purchasing policies. (note IC 5-22-6-1 and IC 5-22-6-2) EVSC Purchasing Policy 6320 indicates a vetting process for purchases of materials and goods above $150,000. Services — such as website, online portals, and messaging — are not clearly referenced for procedure and vetting in this purchasing policy.
This is not the first major neuroeducation contract for EVSC. One example, retired EVSC teacher (2022) Laura Ballard noted, is the EVSC contracts with Mass Insight, a research company that has provided data and brain science guidance, through multiple large contracts. Mass Insight has had EVSC contracts since 2012. “Are we going to start doing the same for GAIN to Ten Adams?” she asked.
The amount being paid to Ten Adams seems to be open to interpretation. The Scope of Work quotes from $160,000 to $180,000, but the Aril 10 vote was to expend $250,000 — a $70,000 difference.
In the end, the goal of EVSC and a major reason for the project remains improving curriculum maps, as per the April 13 Trustees meeting and other discussions. Currently, many feel that EVSC’s official curriculum maps are cumbersome and largely resourced school-by-school. Curriculum maps are lesson plans written by a single source, in this case EVSC curriculum administrators in partnership with classroom educators. They are online and help access education support materials in the absence of textbooks. Online resources are rapidly replacing textbooks in many K-12 education systems throughout the nation.
This website, among other things, will certainly improve EVSC curriculum maps.
Ballard said that in her tenure with EVSC, she found that “GAIN is not at all a waste of time,” but there remains a common opinion for many that it is just another acronym. “There is data that comes from GAIN that is useful, but it is up to the teacher to filter through and implement it,” she said. “And oftentimes GAIN feels like another program being thrown at teachers.
Documents discussed in this series are viewable through https://go.boarddocs.com/in/evsc/Board.nsf/Public
Select “Meetings” on the upper right graybar; then under “Featured” on left select “2023”; select “April 10, 2023”; “View Agenda”; at Agenda Item 5.06 select the Attachment Icon. This will provide the two .pdf documents.
The City-County Observer posted this article without bias or editing.