School News

News for Marion Community Schools

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Marion Community Schools is a Summer Food Service Program participant. Free breakfast and lunch is available to the public (to anyone 18 or younger) as follows:
  • Breakfast is served from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday at Frances Slocum Elementary through June 27 and Marion High School through July 25.
  • Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday at Frances Slocum Elementary through June 27 and Marion High School through July 25.
  • MCS summer session students are also provided free breakfast and lunch, but there are separate meal times for those students: 7:30 to 8 a.m. for breakfast, and 11 to 11:30 a.m. for lunch.
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News The Marion Community Schools Education Service Center will remain closed indefinitely as repairs continue in the wake of the fire in May.

At this time, we are awaiting the finalization of the insurance settlement.

MCS remains committed to monitoring and maintaining the property at 1240 S. Adams St. Electricity service has been restored, and the alarm system is up and running. If you have any concerns about the state of the property (such as litter or other maintenance or safety concerns), please call our Facilities Department at 674-6929.

The Superintendent’s Office, Human Resources Department, Communications Director, and Instruction and Curriculum Department remain temporarily housed at Marion High School, 750 W. 26th St. The Business Department, Special Services Department, and Food Services Department remain temporarily housed at Tucker Career and Technology Center, 107 S. Pennsylvania St. Click here for contact information.

MCS Board meetings will be held at Marion High School until further notice.
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Did you know that at Marion High School in the upcoming 2014-2015 school year, students can choose from 60 dual credit classes (worth nearly 200 college credits), as well as nearly a dozen AP courses that can earn additional college credit?

That means as an MHS Giant, you can earn COLLEGE credit before you graduate high school!

Dual credit classes entail college-level instruction, college-level coursework. You'll be more prepared to continue your education after high school, because you'll know what to expect, you'll know how to succeed.

>> MHS was recently featured in a Chronicle-Tribune article about college readiness and preparatory opportunities across the county. Click here to read more at

Not only does earning advanced college credit save you time (because you will already have some requirements for your degree fulfilled) and money (because it's far more expensive to "buy" those credits, by way of tuition fees, at the college level), but it also allows you to explore potential career paths before choosing a college major or other career / certification opportunities. That can save you even more time and money, because changing majors can many times delay degree completion.

Our dual credit opportunities span a wide range of topics, from advanced math and sciences; to foreign languages; to medical fields including nursing, physical therapy, and pharmacy; to engineering; to architecture, drafting, and construction; and many more!

It can put you a few steps ahead at college, or get you closer to a career certification.

It can help you find out what career path is the best fit for you.

Think about it: It's an opportunity you just can't pass up! Click here to take a look at the full list of classes.  
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Marion Community Schools is excited to announce that it has received a grant worth $1.7 million to fund improvement initiatives at McCulloch Junior High School.

The Indiana Department of Education awarded this 1003(g) school improvement grant, which directs federal funds to specific high-priority schools in the state to fund significant interventions. Seven schools were selected to implement school improvement grants in 2014-15, encompassing about $8 million in grant funds.

The list of high-priority schools is lengthy, the application process is rigorous, and the pool of available funds is limited, so MCS is thrilled to have earned a grant that will fuel continuing improvements at McCulloch Junior High School.

The grant will also grow established partnerships with Indiana Wesleyan University and STI Achievement Services, both of which have proven commitment to improvement at Marion Community Schools.

“The opportunities this grant will bring to our leaders, teachers, students, and families will have a direct impact on student achievement and teacher professional growth,” said Brenda McVicker, MCS Elementary Education Director and Title I administrator.

Here’s a look at some of what this grant will fund at McCulloch in the next three school years:

• A partnership with IWU that will provide mentorship for McCulloch leaders and graduate-level coursework for teachers.
• A partnership with STI that will provide personalized, professional, technological, data-driven instruction to education professionals, and will assist in planning and executing instructional change to improve student achievement.
• New staff positions: a behavioral specialist, a technology coach, a teacher specifically focused on at-risk students, and two educational assistants.
• Before- and after-school tutoring.

“The partnership with IWU is a highlight of the grant. This community partnership will bring McCulloch teachers and leaders together with professors from the School of Educational Leadership at IWU,” McVicker said. “And MCS has an existing relationship with STI that has a proven track record in increasing student performance at Marion High School. We are looking forward to continuing to develop that relationship at McCulloch. Whenever you can bring in partners that have a vested interest in your community, everyone benefits from the relationship.”

The grant proposal was written with sustainability at top of mind, and with long-term change as its focus.

“In order to achieve this type of change, collaboration must take place at every level, with every level,” McVicker said. “It will be essential to bridge the gap between teacher performance and student achievement. MCS will use the grant as a catalyst to bring long-term, transformational change to McCulloch Junior High.”

Marion Community Schools believes the improvements at McCulloch aided by this grant will define transformational change on many levels, from the culture, to the staff, to the community, to the relational bridge between student learning and staff performance. The ongoing partnerships with IWU and STI will be key components of that transformation.

“The School of Educational Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University congratulates Marion Community Schools on receiving a three-year school improvement grant for McCulloch Junior High School. Indiana Wesleyan University looks forward to providing technical assistance in the areas of culturally responsive teaching and leadership mentoring that will best support teachers, administrators, parents, and students in a transformative process that recognizes positive change is often the direct outgrowth of healthy relational bounds within the culture of a school,” said Dr. Brad Oliver, associate professor of education at IWU. “In our opinion, the partnership model included in Marion’s school improvement grant has the potential to be a national model for school reform.”

One of the required elements of the state DOE’s Transformation Model, which is the improvement strategy MCS has proposed to use at McCulloch, is to promote the use of data to inform and differentiate instruction. The partnership with STI is integral in this effort.

“STI Achievement Services is excited to work in collaboration with the administration and educators of Marion schools to implement a plan of action for school improvement at McCulloch Junior High,” said Davis Brock, senior director for educational innovation at STI. “STI Achievement Services recognizes the unique needs of districts and individual schools, and works to improve academic learning not only for every student, but also for teachers, administrators and the community at-large. The STI team is committed to a collaborative partnership that will provide the McCulloch Junior High School community with the support and professional services that have helped Marion High School and other Indiana districts take their students to a higher level of academic success. The STI team is honored to be part of the Marion Community Schools family and is excited to embark on this new opportunity to continue our work with Marion Community Schools students, teachers, and administrators.”

Another element of the Transformation Model is new leadership at the school involved. At McCulloch, Marion High School alumna Jennifer Donald is returning home to take the lead at the school.

Donald most recently served as assistant principal at Haywood Middle School in Brownsville, Tenn. She has previously served in various leadership and administrative roles at the secondary level, and she also has a background in literacy instruction. She is set to start at McCulloch on June 16.

“The school improvement grant for McCulloch Junior High is going to be a tremendous component toward the success of our scholars. I am excited about opportunities that are going to be made available through these funds to jump start a comprehensive program that will offer instructional supports for our performance coaches, academic initiatives for our scholars, and a means to keep our parents and community involved in the academic growth of our school,” Donald said. “Most important, I am impressed with the built-in supports that will ensure sustainability beyond the three-year grant.”

Marion Community Schools is grateful for this school improvement grant and is confident that it will help propel McCulloch Junior High School to great things and help provide a bright future for our students.

"We are thankful for the tremendous opportunity this grant provides us to make better happen for our students, staff and school community of McCulloch Junior High, and we are excited about continuing our educational consultant partnership with STI and engaging an important community partner in Indiana Wesleyan University,” Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. "Our purpose is to develop the type of healthy relationships, culture, and professional focus that transforms lives, schools, and community. Giant things are in store for McCulloch Junior High and Marion Community Schools!"
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Grant County has been named one of 18 finalists under consideration for the state’s pre-K pilot program, to be launched in 2015.

Since this spring, shortly after plans for the pre-K pilot program were announced, Marion Community Schools, along with several other agencies in the county, have been working to show that Grant County should be one of the five counties chosen as part of the pilot program.

“Our community came together to start to plan for this at the early stages,” MCS Director of Elementary Education Brenda McVicker said after the 18 finalist counties were announced. “It’s exciting to know that our community as a whole has been noticed.”

Among the other agencies and people that have been active participants in the advisory council aiming to bring the pilot program to Grant County are:
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Westminster Preschool
  • Carey Services
  • Head Start
  • United Way
  • Family Service Society
  • Marion city officials
  • Grant County Economic Growth Council
  • Marion Public Libary
  • St. Martin Community Center
  • Allen Temple AME Church
  • various community representatives
According to the state, the pilot program will provide funding for pre-kindergarten for low income 4-year-olds in five counties, with services delivered via public schools, accredited private schools, and providers who have achieved Level 3 or Level 4 in Paths to QUALITY™, Indiana’s voluntary child care quality rating and improvement system.

Under the current pilot program proposal, funding would go to families who meet income eligibility guidelines. The families would then be able to choose from the eligible providers in their county. Those funds from the state will supply only a portion of the budget for a pre-K program, however, so matching funds would be needed at the local level.

According to the FSSA, there are an estimated 17,000 eligible 4-year-olds in the 18 finalist counties who are not currently receiving early learning services. The 18 counties announced June 4 by the state as finalists are:
  • Allen
  • Bartholomew
  • Delaware
  • Elkhart
  • Grant
  • Howard
  • Jackson
  • Kosciusko
  • Lake
  • Lawrence
  • Madison
  • Marion
  • Noble
  • St. Joseph
  • Tippecanoe
  • Vanderburgh
  • Vigo
  • Wayne
“We’re on track and working to design a program that will be successful and will help the children who participate in it be successful as well,” Debra Minot, secretary of the state Family and Social Services Administration, said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with the counties to assess their readiness and implement a strong program.”

Regardless of the outcome of the continuing selection process, McVicker said Grant County children will benefit from the conversation and cooperation that has been sparked by the effort to bring the pilot program here.

“The early learning coalition and advisory council will continue to work to ensure that every child in Grant County has the opportunity to attend a high-quality preschool prior to entering kindergarten,” she said. “It’s not as important where they go. It’s that they go, and that the program is high-quality.”

The next step for the committee is to provide the state with a written Statement of County Readiness addressing certain readiness measures, including the county's ability to assist with meeting the financial match, participation of current and new providers, community and family engagement, and county readiness for early launch in January 2015.

The advisory council will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 12, at Marion Public Library, to view the FSSA webinar further explaining the application and selection process. Anyone interested is welcome to attend the meeting.

The Statement of County Readiness is due June 30, and the five pilot counties are to be announced the following month. The launch of the pilot program is currently planned in fall 2015.

“Regardless of the outcome,” McVicker said, “this has been a positive process. We are all working together to meet the needs of the children of Grant County. The cooperative effort has been refreshing, and Grant County has been recognized at the state level as a community that is working together. But we also know that Grant County is ready for a pre-K pilot program, and we will continue to work toward making Grant County one of the five counties chosen.”

In addition, Marion Community Schools has already expanded opportunities for young learners in the city. Little Giants Preschool will open in the 2014-15 school year. Classes are half-day and start Aug. 11 in a new preschool wing on the campus of Justice Intermediate School, 720 N. Miller Ave.

Every classroom at Little Giants Preschool will be led by a teacher licensed in early childhood education, paired with a highly qualified teaching assistant, and the program is tuition-free. Enrollment eligibility is based on academic need. All children who will be 3 or 4 years old next school year can apply.

“Early literacy skills provide an essential foundation for lifelong learning,” MCS Elementary Education Director Brenda McVicker said. “A high-quality preschool program — like Little Giants Preschool — gives children a jump start, so that they can become successful students.”