In the News

Marion Community Schools is making news! Below are links to articles on area media websites.

Taylor players practice giving back

On Friday morning, the soccer field at Frances Slocum Elementary was filled with running, laughing students practicing football drills with members of the Taylor University team.

The event was orchestrated by Frances Slocum Assistant Principal Nate Miley, a former member of the Taylor football team, as a way to reward students who have demonstrated good behavior. Read more >>

High schools tailgate for driving pledges

Prior to Friday night’s football games, the parking lots of Grant County area high schools were filled to bursting with tailgaters showing their school spirit.

The county-wide tailgating event was developed in collaboration with local State Farm agents to promote participation in the Celebrate My Drive competition. The competition, which aims to spread awareness about safe driving habits for teenagers, involves making a safe driving commitment at between Oct. 18-26. Prizes include a $100,000 grant or a local concert by Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson.

MCS approves roofing contract

Marion Community Schools’ Board of School Trustees voted to enter into contract with Fort Wayne-based CMS Roofing Inc. for Education Service Center renovations at their board meeting on Wednesday night.

Director of Support Services Troy Freeman said CMS Roofing offered the lowest bid from amongst four contenders. The estimated cost for the roofing project was $425,000, and CMS Roofing’s bid was $349,300. Read more >>

Celebrating books, families

The theme for Riverview Elementary School’s annual Family Reading Night was inspired by a special visitor to the school earlier Tuesday.

The real life D.W. from the hit children’s series about Arthur the aardvark paid a visit to the school to give a presentation to students. Kim Brown, sister to author Marc Brown, talked about growing up with a budding writer and how her brother writes and illustrates stories.

Brown’s visit inspired an Arthur-themed evening for parents and children at Family Reading Night on Tuesday evening.

Students see below the surface

Lori Babb’s eighth-grade honors biology class took a deep dive into hydrology Monday.

About 80 McCulloch Junior High School students will move beyond classroom learning about topics from pH to e. coli by visiting the Mississinewa River and Marion’s wastewater treatment plant this week, including Monday’s group of 30.

“It’s important we watch what we do to the river,” Babb said. “(For learning that,) it’s so much better for them to do this than (be) in a lab in the classroom.”

Tucker Bistro back in business

Quinten Chapel of Gas City has participated in Tucker Career and Technology Center’s culinary program for a few short weeks, but it’s already helped him start his career.

“I want to be a chef in a restaurant,” the Mississinewa High School junior said Wednesday. “I’ve already learned to cook a lot of different things.”

Chapel is one of 44 high school juniors and seniors who make up the largest class ever to assist Tucker Bistro, the school’s vocational restaurant that opened to the public Wednesday.

The bistro will serve food and drinks from chicken bites to portabella mushroom burgers to bread, cookies and pie from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday to Friday through the semester.


McWhirt to retire from MCS

Marion Community Schools Business Manager Jim McWhirt will resign Dec. 31, the district announced at Wednesday’s Board of School Trustees meeting.

McWhirt, a 55-year-old Sweetser resident and president of the Grant County Council, intends to stay in the community after stepping away from the job he’s held since July 1, 2010.

McWhirt said he’s been considering retirement for a few months and felt the time was right. He said his decision was not affected by a new administrative team at MCS this fall. Read more >>


Frances Slocum stepping up

Students at Frances Slocum Elementary School on Monday celebrated their improved ISTEP results by releasing blue and white balloons into the air.

The entire school gathered outside on the playground for the event, in which last year’s third and fourth-graders at the school were introduced and welcomed outside by applause and cheering. Read more >>


MCS leader reaches out

Community partnerships were the theme of the evening Tuesday, when Marion Community Schools’ new superintendent met with the local NAACP branch.

Brad Lindsay was the guest speaker at the meeting of the Marion branch of the NAACP at the Prince Hall Community Building. Accompanied by the school system’s new director of elementary instruction, Brenda McVicker, Lindsay addressed attendees about how he can facilitate constructive change and spoke with them during a question-and-answer session. Read more >>


JROTC aiming for success

With competitions now in full swing, the JROTC at Marion High School is aiming to learn skills to succeed.

The Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program began three years ago under the direction of retired Lt. Col. David Farlow and now has 150 students participating. As the Senior Army Instructor, Farlow said he sees himself as a coach, mentor, and source of encouragement for the students.

“It teaches them personal responsibility,” Farlow said. “Then it gives them leadership skills and the opportunity to really develop who they are.” Read more >>


Marion school bus rear-ended

Several students got a scare and a 10-year-old boy was injured when a Marion Community Schools bus was rear-ended Thursday.

responded at 3:53 p.m. to the intersection of 38th and Georgia streets after a car hit another vehicle parked directly behind a stopped bus unloading students, according to a Marion Police report. Read more >>


Saying a bittersweet goodbye

After turning out licensed practical nurses for 55 years, the Marion Community Schools Practical Nursing Program went out on a “bittersweet” note Saturday.

The program’s final graduation ceremony took place in Marion High School’s F. Ritchie Walton Performing Arts Center with 35 men and women walking across the stage to receive a diploma, a single rose and hugs from their instructors. Read more >>


Marion touts ISTEP success

Marion Community Schools officials stepped away from official business at the end of Wednesday’s Board of School Trustees meeting to recognize several significant improvements from this spring’s ISTEP+ exam.

Director of Elementary Education Brenda McVicker presented year-over-year data that showed students across the district passed the English language arts (ELA) and math sections of the annual standardized test more often in 2013 than they did in 2012. Read more >>


Marion celebrating the future

School officials at Marion Community Schools this week are promoting the importance of college and planning for the future. 

Students at Marion High School will have the chance to fill out college applications during College Go! Week, while some of the younger students in the district will learn the importance of planning for their future as well. Read more >>


MCS down 100 students

Marion Community Schools lost more than 100 students between spring and fall 2013, but officials say the relatively small size of that decline is reason to celebrate.

MCS dropped to 3,755 in its first student count of 2013-14 last week, according to school officials. The Indiana Department of Education counted students across the state Sept. 13. Last fall, MCS had 3,858 students, said Director of Communications Patricia Gibson.

The district stood at 4,878 in 2008, 4,494 in 2009, 4,113 in 2010 and 4,017 in 2011.

“The enrollment decline of 103 from September 2012 to September 2013 is one of the smallest drops in recent years, so we’re still pleased with what seems to be a leveling-off of the downward trend,” Gibson said. Read more >>


MCS shining a light on bus safety

Marion Community Schools is in the middle of a pilot program for the state that officials are saying increases bus safety for children.

district’s Transportation Department began using the Guardian Angel School Bus Lighting System in March after getting approval from the Indiana Department of Education. Read more >>


MCS expecting positive ISTEP results

Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay said he is anticipating an improvement in this year’s ISTEP exam scores.

Officials with the Indiana Department of Education announced Monday that results wouldn’t be released as planned, but parents have access to the scores. The results are embargoed until Tuesday, but Lindsay said he’s optimistic about the results.

“We are expecting to see growth, and we are looking forward to that final report when it’s delivered to us,” he said at a school board meeting on Wednesday.


JROTC organizes 9/11 remembrance ceremony

As the nation paused Wednesday to reflect on the tragedy of Sept. 11, local schools also commemorated that devastating day.

Near the flags in front of Marion High School, the JROTC led a remembrance of Sept. 11 Wednesday morning — the first year the JROTC has been responsible for such an event. Read more >>


IREAD scores up at most county schools

Indiana Reading Evaluation and Determination (IREAD-3) test results that were released last week show that most of the elementary schools in Grant County did better this year in helping third-graders learn to read than last year.

The IREAD-3 test was created to ensure all students can read proficiently before moving on to grade four literacy instruction. By the end of third grade, students are expected to be able to read independently, meaning they can read and understand grade level materials, words, sentences and paragraphs without help. Read more >>


Schools serving up a healthier life

One of First Lady Michelle Obama’s top priorities has been improving the health of children in the United States, and she’s looked to accomplish her goal through school lunches. Local schools districts say they’ve responded by offering students healthier options and, in some cases, more choices of what to eat.

At Marion Community Schools, one change this year is allowing elementary students to choose a yogurt plate rather than a peanut butter sandwich, and MCS Director of Communication Patricia Gibson said it’s been a popular feature so far this school year. Read more >>


Fly/In Cruise/In takes flight

Planes and pancake sales took off at the 23rd annual Fly/In Cruise/In Saturday.

Airplanes, hot rods and even tractors were on display throughout the grounds of the Marion Municipal Airport for the free event, which drew crowds whose cars packed the lawns surrounding the airport.

Marion High School marching band member Erin Bailey, who has worked the event’s all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast for four years now, said this year’s turnout was the biggest she’s seen yet. Read more >>


Math group adding up the awards

The Marion High School chapter of Mu Alpha Theta, a national mathematics honor society, was well-represented at the Mu Alpha Theta National Convention in San Diego July 21-26; 19 Giants participated, and several came away with individual awards.

Doug Porter is a math teacher at Marion High School, and he’s been the sponsor for this math team for over a decade. He’s also a 1990 graduate of MHS, and, as a senior, he founded the MHS chapter of this math honor society.

 The event in San Diego was actually the 43rd convention, but Porter said he never believed there would be enough interest at MHS for a group to attend.

“I never thought kids would give up a week of their summer vacation do work on math, but the response was overwhelmingly positive after the first year,” he said. “We’ve taken 19 kids each year, and we had several kids go both years.”


MCS expects to lose $5.6 million

Marion Community Schools officials expect the district to lose $5.6 million next year.

According to a 2014 budget presented at the Board of School Trustees’ Wednesday meeting, MCS anticipates $28.8 million in general fund revenue and $34.4 million in expenses.

From 2012 to 2014, MCS’ budgeted general revenue has dropped from 30.5 million to $29.6 million to a projected $28.8 million. Its budgeted expenses in that fund have increased from $32.5 million to $33.5 million to a projected $34.5 million.

MCS currently has an $18 million surplus, projected to fall to $12.3 million.

“We’re approaching the point we’re going to make some hard decisions,” said board member Harry Hall. “We’re in a position to lose money over the next couple years” on education.


Early school numbers positive

Officials from most area school districts said early enrollment figures look positive for their districts.

Though the official fall count day isn’t until Sept. 13, local school districts already have preliminary estimates, though they stressed that numbers will still fluctuate — possibly dramatically — before count day.

The preliminary estimate for Marion Community Schools was 3,793, said Patricia Gibson, director of communications for MCS. The total enrollment figure for September 2012 was 3,858. If the decline from last September remained in this range, it would be one of the smallest year-over-year declines in almost a decade. Read more >>


MCS changing grade advancement policy

Marion students in third grade who fail IREAD-3 in the spring and summer but are deemed proficient in other subject areas will no longer be forced to stay back in third grade for all subjects.

Instead, students will move on to fourth grade with their classmates in areas such as math, science and social studies, while still receiving third-grade reading instruction, said Brenda McVicker, director of elementary education for Marion Community Schools.

The change was approved by MCS during their school board meeting Wednesday night, and the alteration is retroactive to last year — meaning third-graders who failed IREAD-3 this spring and summer, but were sufficient in other subjects, are in fourth grade this year, she said.  Read more >>


MCS launches into new school year

While faculty and staff at Marion High School said they lent direction to many freshmen, some upperclassmen said the first day of classes was slow and even boring.

Assistant Principal Sylvia Flowers called the day a “smooth start,” and she said students found their classes, there were no issues with busing and transportation and there were no problems with student disruptions.  Read more >>


City schools back in session

Faculty in Marion Community Schools hustled Monday to get ready for students this morning as the 2013-14 academic year begins.

Anthony Williams is in his first year as principal of Allen Elementary School, and he said the process has been “really smooth, because we have a lot of veteran teachers in this school.”

However, they also have numerous new teachers and staff members — almost 50 percent are new — so the veteran teachers have had to take a leading role, he said.  Read more >>