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Ritz announces programs to aid veterans in state

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz rolled out two veterans announcements Monday – a new literacy partnership with the Indiana National Guard and an incentive program designed to attract veterans to Indiana classrooms.

The first – Boots for Books – will give Indiana National Guard soldiers the opportunity to work with students in 30 schools and 30 after-school programs across Indiana to ensure that students are reading by third grade.

Through efforts to build a culture of readers in Indiana through the Hoosier Family of Readers initiative, the Indiana National Guard has joined more than 263 literacy partners, Ritz said.

Ritz made stops in Fort Wayne and South Bend on Monday to publicize the programs.

She also announced she is working with Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, to draft legislation for the 2014 legislative session to launch a new veterans-to-teacher scholarship program called Second Service.

The new incentive program would expand the existing Combat to Classroom program that funds two- and four-year scholarships, and translate military training and experience into college credits that will assist Indiana veterans in earning a degree in K-12 education from universities in Indiana.

Participants in the program would be required to teach in an Indiana school for at least one year.

“I want to ensure that the men and women who have served our country as airmen, Marines, sailors and soldiers have an opportunity to serve our state, and ultimately, our nation, as educators,” Ritz said.

She said veterans have the skills, experiences and work ethic needed to manage a classroom.

“They deserve an opportunity to serve our community, and I hope the Second Service incentive program will attract veterans to help educate our next generation of Hoosiers,” Ritz said.

nkelly@jg.net

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