Diocesan schools honored for reading proficiency 

Principals and teachers in the diocese were recognized at the Indiana statehouse for their schools meeting or exceeding a 95% pass rate on IREAD assessment.

By John Rohlf

The Message Assistant Editor 

A dozen schools in the Diocese of Evansville were among the over 200 Indiana schools to receive recognition for their success on the most recent IREAD assessment. 

Twelve Catholic schools in the Diocese of Evansville were recognized for scoring 95% or higher on the 2023 Indiana Reading and Determination (IREAD) assessment, which is given to third graders at Indiana schools. The schools who reached the 95% threshold were invited to a ceremony at the Indiana statehouse to be recognized by the Indiana Secretary of Education for reaching the threshold.

The diocese’s schools to reach the 95% threshold are Flaget Elementary School, Vincennes; Good Shepherd School, Evansville; Holy Cross School, Fort Branch; Holy Rosary School, Evansville; Holy Trinity School, Jasper; Resurrection School, Evansville; Saint John the Baptist School, Newburgh; St. Wendel School, St. Wendel; Sts. Peter and Paul School, Haubstadt; St. Benedict Cathedral School, Evansville; St. Bernard School, Rockport; and St. Philip School, Posey County. 

“I'm so proud of our students and teachers for their outstanding work,” Diocesan Schools Superintendent Michelle Priar said. “Our diocese places a high priority on literacy proficiency, and these schools are a testament to the effort being made to reach this goal.”

St. Wendel Principal Hallie Scheu and St. Bernard Principal Ryan Nowak were among the educators to represent their respective schools at the state house. Scheu said it was “a privilege to represent St. Wendel at the state house” during the event.

Nowak said it was an honor to be recognized at the Reading Achievement Celebration.  

 “It truly is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our teachers and support staff,” Nowak said.  

Nowak said in recent years, their kindergarten through third grade teachers have used data to assist in the formation of guided reading centers. He said these centers help teachers differentiate and individualize plans to meet the reading needs of all students. 

“We appreciate the continued partnership with Marian Educational Outreach who assisted with several grants to help launch and sustain this guided reading program,” Nowak said. “I'm very proud of our teachers, students, and school community!”

Flaget Elementary School was also one of the several diocesan schools to be honored after reaching the 95% threshold on the IREAD assessment. Principal Samantha McClure credited the Pre-Kindergarten through second grade teachers for setting the foundation for their students to become confident readers by third grade. McClure said the school’s third grade teachers, resource teachers and parents worked together to create a boot camp to help the students prepare for their first state assessment. This allows students to create and work towards individual and classroom goals throughout the school year. 

McClure also thinks the school’s decision to opt into the optional IREAD assessment in second grade helps prepare the third grade students for the assessment. 

“It allows students to take the assessment in a lower stakes environment and gives us another data point to identify how to help our students succeed,” McClure said. 

McClure also credited the strong support from families who take extra steps at home to read with students. She said this teamwork is key to the school’s success. 

Sts. Peter and Paul Principal Megan Howington credited the standard of learning set by the students, staff and families at Sts. Peter and Paul through “a rigorous curriculum, accountability and hard work.” 

Several diocesan principals attributed the success to the work of school staff in helping prepare students for the IREAD assessment. Resurrection Principal Theresa Berendes and Good Shepherd Principal Kristen Girten also credited the students and parents for their work to reach the 95% benchmark. 

It is truly a joint effort between teachers, parents and students that begins in the early grades,” Girten said. “When any of our students at Good Shepherd do well on state standardized testing, it is celebrated by the whole community because it takes the whole community, working together, to ensure student success.”  


Holy Trinity East Campus Principal Jon Temple credited their early elementary teachers who “develop a solid foundation of reading skills in their students.”

The IREAD assessment was developed in accordance with state legislation, according to the Indiana Department of Education website. The assessment is designed to measure foundational reading skills based on Indiana Academic Standards through third grade. The intent is to ensure each student receives the appropriate reading remediation based on the testing data and their individual learning needs. 

As a state, Indiana’s goal is for 95% of students throughout the state to be proficient by 2027. 

“Mastering foundational literacy skills by the end of third grade is vital to achieving our goal that 95% of Hoosier students are reading proficiently by 2027,” Governor Eric Holcomb said in the press release. “Across our state, educators, families and communities are linking arms to help more students read, and it is important that we celebrate this impactful work.”