School News

News for Marion Community Schools

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
From the Chronicle-Tribune

The most appropriate moment of 2013 in Marion happened last week when Marion Superintendent Steve Edwards and Marion High School Principal Lennon Brown were awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash honor by Gov. Mike Pence.

It’s a shame that there isn’t a larger award for valor under fire in service to the people of Indiana, Grant County and Marion. Perhaps we should develop one and name it for Edwards, who leaves his time with us later this year after bettering life for our children — substantially.

— More from MCS on this story: To read more about the Sagamore Awards presentation, click here. —
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Monday, May 6, 2013, at McCulloch Junior High School, a death investigation was undertaken after a female student was found deceased on school grounds.

Marion Community Schools wishes to express sincere condolences to the family of Braylee Rice, a seventh-grader at McCulloch. This is a very tragic situation. Our hearts go out to her family and friends.

In light of the tragic circumstances, we decided after consulting with the State Department of Education to keep school in session today on a modified schedule. Out of concern for the safety of those children who may have gone home to empty houses, we opted to keep school open and in session.

Students were kept in their classrooms, rather than following their regular schedule. The school was not, however, locked down. Parents were allowed to pick up their students, and many did so.

Counseling was provided throughout the day at McCulloch for both students and staff. Counselors from throughout the school system, along with other schools, Family Service Society and other community organizations, were on hand, and we are grateful for the support of those organizations.

There will also be counselors this afternoon on the bus the student rode. Counseling will continue to be available in the coming days at the school for students and staff. We also encourage students in need of help to reach out to any adult in the building.

There has been speculation about a connection to bullying, but at this early point in the investigation, there has been no indication of such a connection.

Marion Community Schools is fully cooperating with law enforcement officials and their ongoing investigation.

We will provide further information as it becomes available. However, we will leave it to police and the coroner’s office to provide specific details of the investigation.
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Marion Community Schools Superintendent Steve Edwards and Marion High School Principal Lennon Brown were surprised with a prestigious award Thursday night at a staff appreciation ceremony.

Both were awarded a Sagamore of the Wabash, which has been presented by Indiana governors since the mid-1940s, usually to those who have rendered distinguished service to the state or the governor, according to the state government's website. It is the highest honor the governor can bestow.

From left, Greg Taylor, state senator and Marion High School graduate; Lennon Brown, Marion High School principal Lennon Brown; Steve Edwards, Marion Community Schools superintendent; and Kevin Mahan, state representative, pose for a picture after Taylor and Mahan presented Brown and Edwards with Sagamore of the Wabash awards, the highest honor given by the governor of Indiana.

The presentations were made during a staff appreciation dinner at Meshingomesia Country Club put together by the Friends of Marion High School, a community group that has helped support and propel the widespread improvements at the high school - the very changes that helped garner Edwards and Brown the award.

In just a few years, Edwards and Brown, along with other school leaders, have turned Marion High School from a failing school in danger of state takeover to a school that is widely talked about as an astounding success story.

Edwards and Brown both came out of retirement to take their respective positions at Marion. Upon hearing news of their awards, both turned the spotlight onto the staff, the teachers, and the community, who have made the changes possible.

State Rep. Kevin Mahan presented the Sagamore to Edwards, and state Sen. Greg Taylor, a Marion High School graduate, presented the Sagamore to Brown. Both awards brought the entire audience to their feet in a standing ovation.
The award takes its name from the term used by Native American tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the chief would turn for advice, according to the state's website.

Among these who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, and politicians. There is no record of the total number which have been presented, as each governor has kept his own roll, just as each has reserved the right to personally select the recipients.

Also honored at the event were retiring Marion High School teachers, including Dave Tippey, also a Marion High School alumnus, who expressed his gratitude to Edwards, Brown, and the Friends of Marion High School for helping bring MHS back to a state to be proud of.
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
MARION (April 29, 2013) — At two Marion Community Schools elementaries, Allen and Riverview, a greater percentage of students has already passed the IREAD-3 test during the first round of testing this spring than had passed by the second round of testing after summer remediation last school year.

According to state law, third grade students must demonstrate reading proficiency — by way of passing the IREAD-3 (which is separate from the ISTEP+ test) — before moving on to fourth grade. (There are certain exemptions available in special circumstances. See the state Department of Education’s IREAD website for more information.)

MCS is proud to highlight the progress at Allen and Riverview elementaries, and to note that at Riverview, 92 percent of students have already cleared the IREAD-3 hurdle. Another point of pride: At Frances Slocum Elementary, this spring's passage rate is 16 percentage points higher than last spring's! At Kendall Elementary, the passage rate fell slightly from last spring, but even so three out of four students have passed IREAD-3 at this point. 

District-wide, 78 percent of students passed IREAD-3 during the spring testing period. That’s up from 72 percent last spring. Nearly every other passage rate at the school level is also above last spring’s rate.

Marion Community Schools already has summer classes with heavy emphasis on reading skills set, and third-graders who have not yet passed IREAD-3 will retake the test after summer remediation. 
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
MARION (April 29, 2013) — Marion Community Schools will celebrate the efforts of its students and staff to combat bullying at a special end-of-the-year event, the Kindness Rally, and the public is invited to come join in the fun.
The Kindness Rally is set for 5:30 to 8 p.m. May 9, 2013, at the Marion High School gym. Features will include carnival games, fair food, a human hamster ball, bounce house, dunk tank (where principals and other administrators will take the plunge), fire truck tours, free child ID cards with pictures and fingerprints (produced on site courtesy of New York Life Insurance Co.), and more.
Tickets to be used for the carnival attractions will be three for $1, and proceeds will fund continuing anti-bullying efforts throughout the school system. The Marion High School FOR TAXII Club (Friends of Rachel / Teens Against Xtreme Inappropriate Interactions) will be selling T-shirts and bracelets as a fundraiser.
At 6:30, the Chain Reaction Ceremony is set. The ceremony will feature the MHS JROTC presenting the flag, along with performances by the MHS and McCulloch Junior High School choirs, and messages from district administrators. Staff working on bullying prevention will also be recognized, and kindness chains from each school will be presented, then linked together to represent the changes happening at our schools.
Marion Community Schools is proud of our students and staff who are starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion and making positive changes in our schools and community. We hope that students of all ages and their families, along with community members, will come and help us celebrate these changes at the Kindness Rally!