South Bend schools submits plan for Navarre transformation zone

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — On Monday, the South Bend Board of School Trustees approved the draft for the South Bend Community School Corporation’s first transformation zone. 

The transformation zone will encompass low performing Navarre Middle School and five of its feeder schools. SBCSC Deputy Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings said the staff within the zone will act independently to improve performance inside of the failing schools.

“We’re going to do what’s best for these babies in the transformation zone,” Dr. Cummings said. “And it’s going to impact the rest of South bend community schools and were excited.”

On March 6, the State Board of Education approved the corporation’s letter of intent to create the transformation zone. After Monday’s authorization from the school board, the State Board of Education will edit the document and send back to the school board for them to ratify the plan on April 29. 

Dr. Cummings said the Board of Education is set to make their decision on the final plan on May 1. The plan won’t be available to the public until the state approves it. 

According to Dr. Cummings the plan includes the following:

  • autonomous schools,
  • autonomous principals,
  • staffed for equity,
  • and support for teachers.

“We’re optimistic, but it is going to take time,” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, State Superintendent for Public Instruction. 

Dr. McCormick was at South Bend’s John Adams High School on Monday for a town hall. She said her staff commends South Bend schools. 

“We all know the importance of high-performing schools, not just for the students but for the communities,” she said. 

Another part of the plan includes a board that will be inching of managing the transformation zone. For its first year, it’ll include SBCSC staff and members of the community. 

“Folks who have interest, but they’re not educators, folks who have business interests who look like folks on the west side,” said Dr. Cummings.

When asked what will happen if the State Board of Education rejects SBCSC’s plan for a transformation zone, Dr. Cummings said he can’t speculate on what the state will do or not do. He said he is looking forward to doing what’s best for the students in the transformation zone.

“And what we learn is going to Cascade over and to the rest of the district,” said Dr. Cummings. 

Dr. Cummings said he hopes the zone will be up and running by August 13. 

SBCSC will receive feedback from the community after the plan is approved by the State Board of Education. According to the school corporation, during the week of May 6 officials will share information and answer the public’s questions. 

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