Tip Line: 574-344-5557 | news57@abc57.com

South Bend school board approves Navarre Middle School transformation plan

NOW: South Bend school board approves Navarre Middle School transformation plan

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Monday to approve the corporation’s plan to create a transformation zone centered around low performing, Navarre Middle School. 

The plan was put in place to address low performance at the middle school and four of its feeder schools. Click here for the full plan. 

After receiving it’s sixth consecutive failing state accountability grade at Navarre Middle School, the corporation had the following options: 

  1. Close the school
  2. Change the school into a charter school
  3. Create a transformation zone

SBCSC Deputy Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings said he is glad the board voted to approve the transformation zone plan. 

"Giving these students principals and teachers autonomy are going to close the achievement gap in these buildings,” he said. 

According to the plan, in its first year, what’s been coined as the ’South Bend Empowerment Zone’ will be using more than $1,000,000 in state supplemental funds for the following zone initiatives:

  1. Education Resources Strategies
  2. Empower Schools
  3. Instruction Partners
  4. Acceleration Academies
  5. Talent support
  6. Principal executive coaching
  7. Teacher summer professional development
  8. Learning visits

The transformation zone will not be run by the school board or the corporation’s superintendent, but rather, a transformation zone board. The board is made up of seven people, three are a mix of SBCSC staff and board of trustees members. 

Four of the transformation zone board members are from the community. Sam Centellas, executive director of La Casa de Amistad on South Bend’s west side, is a part of the board. 

He said the board needs to be aware of the makeup of the middle school and its feeder schools.

Navarre Middle School:

  1. Hispanic students make up 46.8 percent of population
  2. Black student make up 38.5 percent of population
  3. White students make up 7.4 percent of population
  4. Asian students make up 0.4 percent of population
  5. Multiracial students make up 7 percent of population
  6. And 85.8 percent of students receive free meals

Coquillard Elem. School:

  1. Hispanic students make up 19.9 percent of population
  2. Black students make up 63.7 percent of population
  3. White students make up 7.8 percent of population
  4. Asian students make up 0.3 percent of population
  5. Multiracial students make up 8.2 percent of population
  6. And 70.3 percent of students receive free meals

Harrison Elem. School:

  1. Hispanic students make up 49 percent of population
  2. Black students make up 36.9 percent of population
  3. White students make up 6.7 percent of population
  4. Asian students make up 0.1 percent of population
  5. Native American students make up 0.3 percent of population
  6. Multiracial students make up 7 percent of population
  7. And 82.2 percent of students receive free meals

Wilson Elem. School:

  1. Hispanic students make up 46.9 percent of population
  2. Black students make up 26.3 percent of population
  3. White students make up 19.5 percent of population
  4. Asian students make up 0.5 percent of population
  5. Native American/Pacific Islander students make up 0.2 percent of population
  6. Multiracial students make up 6.6 percent of population
  7. And 78.2 percent of students receive free meals

Warren Elem. School:

  1. Hispanic students make up 19 percent of population
  2. Black students make up 25 percent of population
  3. White students make up 47 percent of population
  4. Native American students make up 0.4 percent of population
  5. Multiracial students make up 8.6 percent of population
  6. And 71.1 percent of students receive free meals

“What we want to do is really want to do is make sure that we’re aware and sensitive and working with the families and people who are engaging with that school on a daily basis,” said Centellas.

According to the plan, the zone will provide a “high-autonomy, high-accountability system to empower school leaders and educators to use budgetary autonomy to make key decisions about professional development, curriculum, culture, schedule, programs, and talent.” The board will hire the zone’s executive director and principals at each school. 

The principals will hire the teachers and the teachers will create a teacher leadership team. When asked if teachers who are currently employed at the schools in the zone will be on board next year, Dr. Cummings said the teachers have a choice to opt in or opt out of the transformation zone.

“Those who want to stay get to stay and commit,” said Dr. Cummings. “Those who want to opt out, get put in the displacement pool so they can find jobs in other places within the district.”

Dr. Cummings said the teachers tentatively have until the week of May 13 to opt in or out. The principals will be selected by May 6, according to Dr. Cummings. 

He said the corporation will conduct a nation-wide search for the zone’s executive director. Dr. Cummings said the corporation is looking for someone who is innovative and has experience with transformation zones. 

The plan will be brought before the State Board of Approval at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1 at Trine University for them to approve or deny the plan. If approved, implementation will begin July 1.

Samuel Brown said at the school board meeting on Monday that the corporation should have waited to show the public its plan until the SBOE makes it decision. 

“If the State Board of Education finds something wrong or they wanted something changed, they got all the power,” he said. 

Dr. Cummings said the corporation waited for the State Board to see its plan. He said when they were assured there weren’t anything the board wanted to add he said they released the plan. 

Share this article:
Save with
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

0 Comments

Post a comment
Be the first to leave a comment!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?