School News

News for Marion Regional Career Center


Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News It's that time of year again: The Marion Community Schools annual holiday cards are now available to order!

The artwork featured on the two cards was created by Marion Community Schools students, and the cards themselves will be printed by Tucker Career and Technology Center students at the print shop there.

If your family, organization, or business is looking for a holiday card with a local flair — and a local impact — make sure you take advantage of this opportunity to get your order in for these special cards! 

Each set of 20 cards and envelopes is $6.25. Proceeds from the sale of these cards go to help MCS students in need. We hope you'll consider purchasing. It's an easy way to brighten someone's day and make a real difference in our community!

Orders are due next Monday, Nov. 23. Please return your completed order form, along with check or cash, to Patty Barney in the district office at Marion High School, 750 W. 26th St. Our office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Cards will be available for pickup on Dec. 7. 
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News
Originally posted Nov. 10; updated Dec. 18, and again on Jan. 6 to reflect release of scores.

Dear Family and Friends of Marion Community Schools Giants:

Superintendent Brad Lindsay would like to share with you important information regarding the most recent ISTEP+ test. Please click on the link below to view a pdf of his message, or scroll below to read the text of the letter here. Thank you for your continued support of MCS!



Here is the full text of the letter linked above: 


Jan. 6, 2016

Families and Friends of our Marion Community Schools Giants:

Last spring, our children took a new state test. Based on information from the Indiana Department of Education, we expect school-wide results to be made public in late December. While this test was still labeled with the name “ISTEP+” it is not the same test that was previously given, and because of that the results cannot fairly or justly be compared to previous years’ tests.

This new test is based on new standards, the “Indiana College and Career Readiness Standards”. These new standards are much more challenging and difficult, and are meant to help better prepare our students to be ready to compete in the global marketplace — to compete with students around the world.

The new test, then, is based on much higher expectations. This test is more difficult than the old ISTEP+ because it is based on more challenging standards. Additionally, the score needed for a student to achieve a “Pass” rating is higher. While the scoring categories are the same — Pass Plus (the highest), Pass, and Did Not Pass — it takes a higher level of achievement to reach the Pass or Pass Plus ratings on the new, more difficult test. Because the bar has been set higher, fewer students will achieve the Pass or Pass Plus rating. This will be seen here in Marion and across the state.

Here is a look at events that have had a profound impact on our students in Marion, and students around the state:
  • Summer 2010: Indiana approves the Common Core Standards, and schools across the state began to develop curriculum and identify supporting instructional resources.
  • 2013/early 2014: (after three years of planning by educators to transition to the new set of standards), Indiana pauses and then formally withdraws from Common Core Standards.
  • April 2014: Indiana State Board of Education formally approves Indiana College and Career Ready Standards (leaving school districts only a few weeks to develop new curriculum and identify supporting resources prior to the start of the 2014-15 academic year).
  • February 2015: Newly developed ISTEP+ test is approved. Educators soon learn it will take 20 hours for students to complete the test. After public outcry, state officials quickly move to cut test down to 12 hours. Different forms of the test are administered to different students, even within the same grade level in a single school district.
  • Spring 2015: New College and Career Readiness test is administered to sophomores. This is separate from and in addition to the End-of-Course Assessments that have been a main component of school accountability at the high school level. At Marion, only a small percentage of students take the additional CCR test in Spring 2015, because information on this test and its impact on school accountability is unclear going into the testing period.
  • Summer through October 2015: A committee works with Indiana of Department of Education to determine passing scores for the new test. During this process it is discovered that paper/pencil versions of the assessment were less difficult than the online versions. IDOE decides to award bonus points to all students who took online versions. Many questions arise as to the validity of this process.
  • January 2016: Finalized ISTEP+ scores are released and unembargoed for media/public discussion. This is just a few weeks before the next round of ISTEP+ testing is set to begin (leaving very little time to adjust curriculum and supporting resources based on what the 2014-15 scores reveal).

The Bottom Line: Schools had little time to prepare for the changes in standards and assessments that were swiftly enacted last year, and we are still striving to understand what is expected this spring, when we will take the new ISTEP+ again!

It is important to remember that this new test is like laying a new foundation for a new building. It will be tempting to compare these scores and these passing rates to last year’s (and in fact, current state school accountability procedures would unjustly do so). That is not a fair or just comparison because this is the first time our children have taken this new test with the much higher passing bar. 

These scores will give us important information that we will use to continue to improve opportunities for our children to master these more difficult standards, to meet these higher expectations, and to strive to reach that higher bar set for a Pass or Pass Plus rating. Fewer children reaching that higher bar this first year is not a failure. It is a reflection of higher standards and new challenges. It is important that our parents, students, teachers, administrators, and the entire community face these new challenges together!

Our Marion Community Schools TEAM is determined to make better happen for our children and our community. We believe the rallying cry: Giants Fight, Never Die! Our children and our community CAN SUCCEED, but only if WE WORK together to face the challenges. Together WE CAN give our children the opportunity to succeed. Together WE CAN prepare our Marion GIANTS of today to become the global GIANTS of tomorrow. Thank you for your faith, support and commitment to Marion Community Schools!

Thankful to serve our children and our community which is our cause,

Brad Lindsay, Superintendent of Marion Community Schools
Keith Burke, Principal of Marion High School
Dawn Morgan, Principal of McCulloch Junior High School
Melissa Richards, Principal of Justice Intermediate School
David Khalouf, Principal of Kendall Elementary School
Anne Liddick, Principal of Frances Slocum Elementary School
Lendon Schwartz, Principal of Riverview Elementary School
Anthony Williams, Principal of Allen Elementary School
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News After months of discussion, several community forums, and an online survey completed by hundreds of people, the Marion Community Schools Board of School Trustees on Wednesday evening approved a plan for reconfiguration of the school system, to bring costs down, improve academic programs, and enhance opportunities for local students.

MCS administrators presented the plan at the previous board meeting. It breaks the reconfiguration into two phases.

The plan presented for the 2016-17 year is as follows:
  • Move career and technical education (CTE) programs back onto the Marion High School campus.
  • Add preschool classes at each of the four elementary school buildings.
  • This would result in the following configuration:
    • P-4 at the Allen, Frances Slocum, Kendall, and Riverview buildings
    • 5-6 at the intermediate school - Justice building (some preschool classes will remain in this building as well)
    • 7-8 at the McCulloch building
    • 9-12 & CTE at Marion High School
The scenario proposed for the 2017-18 year is as follows:
  • Move seventh grade to the Justice building
  • Move eighth grade to Marion High School
  • Repurpose McCulloch building for curricular and co-curricular programming (such as junior high athletics and more), and possibly the district office
  • This would result in the following configuration:
    • P-4 at the Allen, Frances Slocum, Kendall, and Riverview buildings
    • 5-7 at the intermediate school (Justice building)
    • 8-12 at Marion High School
The second phase was approved with this provision: If new information becomes available that leads school officials to believe adjustments are needed, the plan will be adjusted accordingly.

The input gained from the forums and surveys became a major part of the discussion, and the recommendation reflects that, MCS officials said. Some of the major concerns expressed included a desire to keep neighborhood elementaries, a desire for a longer span of years spent in school buildings, questions over moving seventh-graders to the high school, and a desire to slow down the reconfiguration process.

The recommendation approved Wednesday addresses those concerns. It keeps all four elementary buildings open, and actually adds to the number of years students spend in those buildings, potentially by two years, for those students who attend preschool at 3 and 4 years of age. It breaks the reconfiguration into two phases, allowing time for further collaboration and study. The second phase would extend the number of years in two other buildings (the intermediate school and the high school), and would reduce the number of building-to-building transitions between grade levels to two. In addition, the plan for 2017-18 would move eighth-graders to the high school, but seventh grade would move to the intermediate school, making it a 5-7 building.

The 2017-18 plan would also provide opportunity for growth of co-curricular offerings (such as art and music) and extra-curricular activities (such as athletics and clubs) at both the intermediate level (5-7) and the high school level (8-12).

The next step will be to engage teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and the board to flesh out the details as we work toward the reinvention and continuous improvement of our schools, and the implementation of this reconfiguration plan.

“We are thankful for the positive response of our parents, faculty, staff, and community. It is encouraging to see the GIANT NATION rally to make better learning and better stewardship happen!” Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. “We are excited to engage our parents, students, staff, and community members in this reinvention process. Throughout our greater school community there is a renewed energy to seize the day to make even better happen for our students in our schools and in our community.”

“We look forward to co-creating with our stakeholders to customize curricular and co-curricular programs for our students and our community. This collaboration for school transformation will begin immediately.  Together, we will serve a cause that will outlive ourselves, which is our students, who are our GIANT future.”
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News After several months of planning and discussion, Marion Community Schools officials on Thursday evening revealed their recommendation for reconfiguration of the school system, to bring costs down, improve academic programs, and enhance opportunities for local students.

The recommendation presented to the School Board for discussion on Thursday breaks the reconfiguration into two phases.

The plan presented for the 2016-17 year is as follows:
  • Move career and technical education (CTE) programs back onto the Marion High School campus.
  • Add preschool classes at each of the four elementary school buildings.
  • This would result in the following configuration:
    • P-4 at the Allen, Frances Slocum, Kendall, and Riverview buildings
    • 5-6 at the Justice building (some preschool classes will remain in this building as well)
    • 7-8 at the McCulloch building
    • 9-12 & CTE at Marion High School
The scenario proposed for the 2017-18 year is as follows:
  • Move seventh grade to the Justice building
  • Move eighth grade to Marion High School
  • Repurpose McCulloch building for curricular and co-curricular programming (such as junior high athletics and more), district office
  • This would result in the following configuration:
    • P-4 at the Allen, Frances Slocum, Kendall, and Riverview buildings
    • 5-7 at the Justice building
    • 8-12 / CTE at Marion High School
“With this recommendation, we believe we have found a winning solution that is responsive to most of the concerns and questions we heard from staff, parents, and community members in recent weeks. It also puts us on the path to matching our expenditures to our revenues by the end of 2017,” MCS Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. “Additionally, by breaking the plan into two parts, we have time to continue to gather essential information and collaborate with a broad base of stakeholders. If new information would lead us in a different direction for 2017-18, we would adjust that scenario accordingly.”

The recommendation differs from the “what-if” scenarios that were put forward as conversation starters at the community forums. MCS officials and a team of staff, board members, and community members studied those scenarios and many more before settling on the recommendation presented to the board for discussion Thursday evening.

“The bottom line is that we care. We care for our students, for our staff, for our parents, for our community. We’ve intentionally taken a lot of time to work through this process. We’ve listened. We’ve learned. This recommendation is based on what we’ve learned,” Superintendent Lindsay said.

The input gained from the community forums and surveys became a major part of the discussion, MCS officials said. Some of the major concerns expressed from many sectors in recent weeks included a desire to keep neighborhood elementaries, a desire for a longer span of years spent in school buildings, questions over moving seventh-graders to the high school, and a desire to slow down the reconfiguration process.

The recommendation presented Thursday addresses those concerns. It keeps all four elementary buildings open, and actually adds to the number of years students spend in those buildings, potentially by two years, for those students who attend preschool at 3 and 4 years of age. It breaks the reconfiguration into two phases, allowing time for further collaboration and study. The second phase would extend the number of years in two other buildings (the intermediate school and the high school), and would reduce the number of building-to-building transitions between grade levels to two. In addition, the plan for 2017-18 would move eighth-graders to the high school, but seventh grade would move to the intermediate school, making it a 5-7 building.

The 2017-18 plan would also provide opportunity for growth of co-curricular offerings (such as art and music) and extra-curricular activities (such as athletics and clubs) at both the intermediate level (5-7) and the high school level (8-12).

“Every child deserves the best opportunities we can provide for them, and I believe this plan will help Marion Community Schools do an even better job of doing just that,” said MCS School Board President Scott Murphy. “We must also live within our means, and this two-phase process will help us make wise choices with our resources and make the best plan for the future of our schools and our community.”

After discussion on Thursday evening, the recommendation will be brought to the board for a vote at the next regularly scheduled meeting, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the MHS cafeteria.

The next step will be to engage teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and the board to flesh out the details as we work toward the reinvention and continuous improvement of our schools, and the implementation of this reconfiguration plan.

“We will plan and create together as one Giant Nation to make even better happen in the lives of our students and the future of our community,” Superintendent Lindsay said. “We are excited to begin to put these plans into motion, and to energize and empower our school community. We must live within our means, but within that framework, we can co-create a GIANT future. Our mission-motivated Marion Community Schools team is determined to bring our students and our parents our very best.”

View the slideshow presented at the meeting below:

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News This week's regular meeting of the Marion Community Schools Board of School Trustees has been moved from Wednesday to Thursday, to allow for attendance at the girls soccer regional in Logansport, where the Giants will be competing. We hope you'll consider traveling to cheer on the Giants!

>> For more information on the team and the game, visit MarionGiantsSports.com!

If you plan to attend the School Board meeting on Thursday, please note that the location has also changed for this specific meeting. It will be in the MHS cafeteria. (The Oct. 28 meeting is also scheduled in the cafeteria. November meetings will return to the Board Room, Room 4-4 at the high school, unless otherwise noted.)