School News

News for Marion Community Schools

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Marion Community Schools is pleased to announce its new director of elementary instruction: Brenda McVicker.

McVicker is a longtime Grant County resident and comes to MCS from neighboring Mississinewa Community Schools, where she was most recently principal at Northview Elementary School and has also been Title 1 coordinator. She previously served as assistant principal and was a Title 1 teacher.

She brings expertise in curriculum development, data analysis, professional development, parent involvement organization and much more, and MCS is excited to welcome her to the team. She will focus on P-4 education and will also head up Title 1 and high ability programming for the district.

As a Marion resident, McVicker has had a front-row view of the recent successes within Marion Community Schools. That’s part of what led her to consider the position at MCS, she said.

“This is an exciting time in Marion. I just feel very blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of it,” she said.

The Marion Community Schools team is doing the right things for students. The challenge, McVicker said, is to continue to make strategy adjustments so that students can fulfill their potential, and so that successes are shown in the test scores.

“Teachers work so hard,” she said. “I just really hope to be a resource to the elementary teachers and administrators.”

Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay said McVicker’s experience will be invaluable to MCS.

“Ms. McVicker is passionate about teaching and learning and has been highly effective in both corporate and school leadership roles,” Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. “Brenda is sold on the vision and direction of where Marion Community Schools is headed and enthusiastic about joining the Marion team.”

At Mississinewa, she helped develop a public preschool program that has now served hundreds of 3- and 4-year-olds.

“That’s a program I’m very proud of, and it is continuing to grow,” she said.

Early literacy is a point of passion for her, and she believes it is essential for students to have every opportunity to succeed. She is thrilled at the prospect of being able to expand opportunities for the youngest students her in Marion.

“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to continue to serve the community in Grant County,” she said.

McVicker earned her principal’s license through advanced graduate study in educational administration at Indiana Wesleyan University, where she also earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in elementary education.
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
From the Chronicle-Tribune

Marion Community Schools’ dress code compliant clothing swap got off to a blazing-fast start Monday.

More than 400 gently-used items were claimed in the first 45 minutes of the fifth annual event, said Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and swap organizer Patty Barney.

“It always starts quick,” she said. “We had families in here getting big piles of clothes.”

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

At least 35 Grant County third graders who failed this spring’s IREAD-3 exam will advance to fourth grade after passing a retest last month.

Marion Community Schools, Eastbrook Community Schools and Oak Hill United Schools reported 25, seven and three students, respectively, succeeded on a second IREAD-3 test in June after missing the mark in March.

Marion’s new passers boosted the district past its summer 2012 passage rate of 83 percent. Of 305 Marion third graders tested this year, 262 — 86 percent — passed.

Marion’s spring rates include 72 percent in 2012 and 78 percent for 2013.

Director of Communications Patricia Gibson credited intense remediation for the retest’s success.

— More from MCS on this story: To read more about MCS IREAD results (and view graphics that break down the numbers), click here. —
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Marion Community Schools is excited to announce that it has received a three-year grant worth just under $2 million to fund improvement initiatives at Allen Elementary 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.

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 Allen Elementary School.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Marion Community Schools, our students, and our community,” Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. “This grant will help advance our mission to provide a welcoming, inspiring, and productive place where our students can seize the opportunity to learn and enjoy the experience of learning well. This is a blessing that we will maximize!”

Here’s a look at some of what this grant will fund at Allen in the next three school years:
  • New staff positions: a second assistant principal, a parent involvement coordinator for the district, and a guidance counselor.
  • A partnership with EdisonLearning, a well-known and well-respected school improvement leader.
  • Funding for teacher development through The TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement.
  • Technology improvements including dozens of new iPads to be used in the classrooms, as well as large interactive digital touch boards for every classroom in the building.
  • Instructional supplies and other materials for the classroom and for school-sponsored parent events.
“This is a giant win for Allen Elementary,” Lindsay said, “but it’s also a win for Marion Community Schools and for the community of Marion. What we learn in this transformation at Allen will impact teaching and learning at all of our other schools, as well.”

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

EdisonLearning’s eValuate Student Benchmark System helps diagnose trouble spots for individual students, which allows the school to tailor and target instruction for that student. The eValuate System then helps track individual students’ progress, allowing for immediate strategy adjustments to continually meet the students’ needs and help them fulfill their potential.

A previous school improvement grant funded a fruitful EdisonLearning partnership at Justice Intermediate School in the 2012-13 school year. MCS is happy to be able to expand this valuable relationship, and the administrative and assessment support that EdisonLearning provides.

Another element of the Transformation Model is new leadership at the school involved. At Allen Elementary School, after a year helmed by an interim principal, Anthony Williams will be taking over as principal in the 2013-14 school year. Williams most recently served as assistant principal at Justice Intermediate School, so he is already well-versed in EdisonLearning’s programs, and specifically the eValuate System.

At Justice, Williams said, eValuate helped students take ownership of their assessment data - and of their progress. Though at Allen it will be younger students involved, the eValuate assessments will still help students (and their parents) see month-to-month progress, or lack thereof.

“With eValuate, we can allow students to challenge themselves, set goals for themselves, then work harder to reach those goals,” Williams said.

The resources the grant provides, he said, are key.

“We can connect these resources - and they’re not just financial - back to how they directly impact student achievement,” he said.

Marion Community Schools is grateful for this school improvement grant and is confident that it will help propel Allen Elementary School to great things – and provide tremendous opportunities for learning and growth for our students!
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
From the Chronicle-Tribune

As parents and students begin to plan for the start of the 2013-14 school year, a select group of learners are getting a head start on the next step in their education.

Among the usual slate of remediation and credit recovery to help students catch up over the summer, Grant County school districts are offering an increasing amount of opportunities for students to work ahead.

This summer was the first for Marion Community Schools’ advanced credit program, which offers high school students a chance to get basic courses including English 9, algebra and geometry done sooner, said Director of Communications Patricia Gibson.

“The new offerings this year for advanced credits for incoming freshmen are building on our effort to start, even in junior high, to have a concrete program for students to begin their path to college,” Gibson said.