School News

News for Marion Community Schools

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Schools throughout the district have holiday programs planned. In addition, there are several community events we think our MCS families may be interested in. Since schedules are so busy this time of year, we want to share plans early! (We will continue to add more links as information becomes available.)

Click the links below to see details from each school and/or event.

School events
Community events
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Marion Community Schools congratulates McCulloch Junior High School choir teacher Christina Huff on being named the Indiana Music Education Association’s Junior High Teacher of the Year.

IMEA gives this award each year to one educator at the elementary, middle school / junior high, high school, and college levels. The award signifies these educators have exemplified outstanding achievement in the field of music education, IMEA said.

Mrs. Huff will be honored at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne, at the start of the All-State Elementary and Middle School Honor Choir concert. Three Marion Community Schools students will be performing with the Honor Choir: Caleb Huff and Michelle Rasor, both sixth-graders at Justice Intermediate School, and Christian Vermilion, an eighth-grader at McCulloch Junior High School.

The impact that Mrs. Huff has had on McCulloch can be clearly seen in a variety of ways, from the number of students involved and engaged in the school’s choir program (more than 135 students this year); to the number of students selected for the Honor Choir (for five years in a row now) and the annual Circle the State with Song festival; to the school’s music program being recognized as one of the best in the state, having earned the Indiana State School Music Association’s Junior High / Middle School / Elementary Total Department All Music Award four years in a row — the only school in the state to do so!

Marion Community Schools is so proud of Mrs. Huff, and we are grateful to her for her work to provide Marion students excellent opportunities throughout the year!

There are several opportunities coming up to enjoy the talents of McCulloch Junior High School’s award-winning musicians, at our holiday concerts:
  • 7th grade choir: 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, in the MJHS auditorium
  • 8th grade choir: 6 p.m.Tuesday, Dec. 11, in the MJHS auditorium
  • 7th/8th grade band: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, in the MJHS gym
We hope to see you there to support these young performers!
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News The Marion High School Choir Boosters are taking orders for Marion High School spirit blankets, custom woven blankets designed exclusively for Marion fans, featuring the Giant, along with icons for many of sports and student groups.

Show off your Giant pride in a unique way with this high-quality, exclusive item! The blanket measures 50" x 70", is 100% cotton, and is made in the U.S. 

Orders will be taken until Nov. 30. Pickup will be Dec. 11 and 12. Proceeds benefit the MHS Choirs.

You can pay by check or cash to any choir student or booster member, or by credit / debit card by Paypal. See order form for details.

>> Click here for an order form

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Marion Community Schools is pleased that the hard work being done every day by our staff, students, and families has been recognized for excellent improvement by the Indiana Department of Education’s 2017-18 school grades.

For the first time since the start of ISTEP, no MCS elementary school will be placed in the bottom two categories of the state’s accountability labeling system. In fact, overall, our elementary school grades are the best they have been since the start of the state’s school accountability grades, with Riverview Elementary netting an “A”; Allen and Frances Slocum netting a “B”; and Kendall netting a "C". All of these are up from last year, with three of the four raising their grade by more than 15 points — due largely to the growth accomplished by our students.

“We focus on making sure every student is growing every year,” said MCS Education Director Michele Smith. “We are building a strong foundation at our elementary schools, with preschool through fourth grade. We work for breakthroughs every day, and our students are growing toward proficiency.”

At Riverview Elementary, which jumped from a “C” to an “A”, Principal Lendon Schwartz credited the students for setting goals and working to meet them.

"We are extremely proud of our Riverview students and teachers for their hard work and dedication in achieving the letter grade ‘A’!” Schwartz said. “All of our students are held to high academic expectations, and it pays off. We use data to drive our decisions and to create specific learning paths for each individual student. We also take the time to build authentic relationships and teach our students to be GIANT citizens. Our students made a goal last year that they didn't want Riverview's letter grade to be a ‘C’ anymore. We motivated them to push themselves to give their best — and that's what they did!”

The school is planning a special celebration on Nov. 28, to which last year’s Riverview fourth-graders (now at Justice in fifth grade) will be invited. More details will be provided from the school to students’ families.

At Frances Slocum Elementary, which jumped from a “D” to a “B”, Dr. Gwen Lavert, the school’s principal, emphasized her students’ strengths and potential.

“The Frances Slocum teachers and staff are very happy and excited about moving to a grade of ‘B’,” Lavert said. “This movement was based on the students’ strengths of being verbal, creative, expressive, analytical, resilient, and problem solvers. These are also the strengths that the teachers will continue to build on to move our students to achieving their targets this year.”

At Allen Elementary, which also jumped from a “D” to a “B”, Principal Anthony Williams noted the work is a team effort.

"We are all very proud of the hard work that our students and teachers exhibit daily at Allen Elementary,” Williams said. “It's the effort of an entire Allen community that allows us to see the success that is visible daily. We strive to keep growing toward achievement. Our continual focus on growing each student one at a time is the foundation to all of our students hopefully achieving their very best on state assessments, but more importantly life in general."

Kendall Elementary raised from a “D” to a “C”, and students and staff are working hard for continued success there!

Four schools exceeded 100 growth points, and the lowest growth points total was 75. Any growth total that exceeds 50 means that students’ growth rate is above the average rate across the state. Overall, Marion Community Schools is in the top 10 percent in the state in terms of growth.

Marion High School misses 'A' by fraction of a point

Marion High School remained a “B” based on the 2017-18 school year, but was only a fraction of a point away from an “A”.

“Every single student matters,” MHS Principal Keith Burke said. “Being that close to an 'A' comes down to just a couple students. Growth for every student is our mission, what we work for every day, because it’s not just about a test — we are setting our students up for success in life beyond high school, in college or a career.”

Justice Intermediate School remained a “D”, albeit with score that is several points higher than the previous year.

McCulloch Junior High School, the only school that did not increase its overall score, remains a high priority for the school district. The school’s grade fell by a fraction of a point, keeping it at an “F” for the 2017-18 school year.

“We have intensified our energies for academic improvement at McCulloch and at Justice,” said Dr. Brad Lindsay, superintendent of Marion Community Schools. “Meeting individual student needs and making school fun, purposefully engaging, and exciting is essential. Our McCulloch and Justice staff are mission-motivated, committed, caring professionals, and we are intentionally directing attention, resources, and support to put these schools on the path to sustained improvement. Though there are many great things happening, including growing athletic programs and one of the best music programs in the state, we must continue to strive for greater academic success for our students in the middle grade levels.”

There is much for the schools and community to take pride in, Lindsay said.

“I believe in and am proud of our students, staff, and administrators throughout our district. In every school, our people are working purposefully to provide our students their very best,” he said. “I’m thankful for the families who have chosen Marion Community Schools to educate their precious children. We count that as a high privilege, and we understand that family and community support is essential to continuously increasing our students’ success.”

The success of Marion Community Schools is intertwined with the community’s support and success.

“We love and are thankful for the community of Marion, which has rallied around our schools,” Lindsay said, “making education and our students a priority, and helping us to serve a cause that is greater than our individual selves, which is our children, our community, and our future. Marion Community Schools’ success is the city of Marion’s success. And the city of Marion’s success is Marion Community Schools’ success. Together, we will wrap support around our children and families to help us all become the best we can be.”
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News A prominent structure at a high-traffic entry point into the city has a new owner, bringing new possibilities.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Marion Community Schools Board of School Trustees approved the sale of the former Tucker Vocational School property, at the corner of Ind. 18 East and Pennsylvania Street, to Indiana Wesleyan University.

"We believe this change at a visible and important gateway is a win for Marion Community Schools, Indiana Wesleyan University, and the city of Marion!” said Dr. Brad Lindsay, Superintendent of Marion Community Schools. “Indiana Wesleyan University does things first-class, and this will be a positive lift for this part of our city.”

The property has not housed classes since spring of 2016. In fall of 2016, Marion Regional Career Center was established at Marion High School and the bulk of career and technical education (CTE) classes were moved there. Since that time, several community partnerships have been created or increased, so that students from Grant County and surrounding areas have more CTE opportunities now than before the Tucker building closure. As a result, enrollment at MRCC is at the highest level since 2014.

The closure of the Tucker facility was approved in October 2015 by the School Board, after several months of community discussion and planning. The reconfiguration was needed because of budget constraints. Since that time, however, MCS has continued to incur costs at the Tucker property, including utilities and basic maintenance, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, as it sought buyers and discussed proposals with various parties, both locally and from outside the community.

After three years of searching for a solution, Marion Community Schools is pleased to be moving forward with this sale to Indiana Wesleyan University.

“Indiana Wesleyan is a valuable asset to Marion Community Schools and to the city of Marion,” Lindsay said, “and we look forward to this exciting new partnership and potential for the future.”

The agreed upon purchase price for the Tucker facility is $200,000, of which $150,000 is to be used to establish an endowed scholarship fund to provide continuing educational opportunities to Marion Community Schools employees.

Marion Community Schools is pleased that this agreement builds on an important partnership with Indiana Wesleyan University, and that the property holds possibilities for new academic programming for the University.

“This acquisition is a step toward IWU having a more visible and broad impact to the economic development of the corridor leading to downtown,” said John Jones, interim chancellor at IWU. “We believe the presence of students, faculty, and staff in that building as new programs unfold will continue the great work already under way toward revitalizing the downtown area.”

The transfer of ownership of the Tucker property is expected to take place by mid-December. According to Indiana Wesleyan, renovation and occupation of the building is likely still a couple of years away to allow for careful planning and program development.

“IWU is committed to the Marion community,” said Dr. David Wright, IWU president and an alumnus of Marion High School. “Our hope is to use the Tucker facility for some innovative new educational opportunities. We have identified this as a high priority and are exploring many options. Once we have done significant research and strategic planning, we will have a more definitive direction.”

Just as MCS is grateful for this ongoing partnership with IWU, we are also grateful to the many local partners who have worked with us to build unique programs at Marion Regional Career Center that are tailored to current workforce development needs.

In addition to the on-campus CTE programs at MRCC, our community-based programs include the aviation program at Marion Municipal Airport, the culinary arts program that runs the Giant Bistro restaurant on Western Avenue, the construction trades program, which is currently working with Marion Housing Authority on local building projects, the IT Academy that has several community partners including Afena Credit Union, Marion Public Library, and more. Because of these partnerships and continued work to align our CTE offerings with workforce needs, MRCC offers more CTE programs now than it did when it was housed at the separate Tucker facility.

Marion Community Schools looks forward to continued development of these community partnerships that make our community stronger and provide a brighter future for our students, as well as for our city and all of the people who call it home.