By Amy Moshier
With quality of education concerns discussed and developed within the past month for two schools on the Southside, students and personnel have positive anticipation. Through the efforts of their neighborhoods and community partners, the Southside Education Community Coalition (SECC) was able to find success for a brighter future for students and a better situation for families at Emma Donnan Elementary and Emmerich Manual High School, according to Molly Craft, senior director, Strategy and Communications for the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE). SECC urged the SBOE to turn both schools over to the local school district (IPS), and strongly supported those efforts, Craft said.
Both schools – and Howe High School as well – had much time and effort in the past few years to show they could make it successfully on their own, but failed to do so, according to Craft. Thorough evaluations for both schools, for which grades are given much like a school report card, failed to show improvements through 2019. “The schools (including Howe High School), scored F’s in many areas,” she said. Supporters of the schools then came to the board for intervention, said Carrie Cline-Black, media relations coordinator for Indianapolis Public Schools.
A critical vote on Jan. 15 paved the way for future changes and success. A 6-2 vote by the SBOE accomplished an important goal: to put both schools back under the management of Indianapolis Public Schools, said Craft. There were many challenges in this project, said Craft. “The community wanted schools to seek a charter partnership to begin a charter school, but were unsuccessful,” said Craft. However, efforts to find a partnership organization to manage the schools has had success.
Efforts to work with Christel House Indianapolis to operate a K-12 campus and Drop-Out Recovery School (DORS) at Manual High School, have been greatly supported and approved. SECC also supports IPS’ efforts to find a K-8 operator for Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School, including an innovation partnership or choice option, said Cline-Black. Management is in the process of setting up meetings for parents concerning finding an appropriate partner. ”We hope they (parents) are engaged in the process,” she added.
The schools involved are critical to the future of the Southside. Parents and children should be highly engaged in the process of obtaining the best school environments possible for students on the Southside.
Students should have a good amount of continuity in their classes and programs at both schools when changes take place, said Craft.
Adelante Schools and Phalen Leadership Academies are being considered as potential partners to serve Emma Donnan Elementary and Middle School as a full K-8 school, according to available online information.