Muncie Community Schools and Ball State University have submitted their academic innovation plan to the state. The partnership says the plan provides a road map for the transformation of the city’s K-12 school system in an effort to increase graduation rates, lower professional turnover, and increase family and community engagement.
The “Placing Learners First: The MCS-Ball State University Partnership” plan was required by state lawmakers, as well as a financial viability report, when the legislature approved the partnership in 2018.
“Submitting the Academic Innovation Plan to state lawmakers is the latest example of the remarkable progress that has been made in our university’s innovative partnership with Muncie Community Schools,” said Ball State University President Geoffrey Mearns. “I am grateful to everyone who has played a role in shaping this plan, which contains the principles and the pillars that will create a strong foundation for our schools and ensure a bright future for our children.”
The partnership’s plan features two foundational principles: continuous, aligned and strategic professional learning and culturally responsive practices.
The partnership says the first principle puts content-focused professional development at the forefront for developing and retaining competent and motivated education leaders throughout MCS. The organizations say culturally responsive practices will provide enhanced engagement opportunities with students and their families.
“These two principles will provide the foundation on which our entire district is being built,” MCS Director of Public Education and CEO Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski said. “You can’t have an outstanding school system without superior teachers and administrators, and we want these professionals to have access to cutting-edge concepts and technology that have proven results. Implementing culturally responsive practices is imperative in a district as diverse as ours, so having NIET resources behind the cadre of experts we’ve already assembled from our faculty, board and Ball State empowers us to build inclusive curricula and experiences for every student regardless of background and socioeconomic status.”
The plan includes five operational pillars, which MCS says will help make it a public school model for innovation:
- High-quality Pre-Kindergarten Education
- Recruitment, Development and Retention of Educational Leaders
- Student-centered Teaching and Active Learning
- Social and Emotional Learning
- Family and Community Engagement
“It’s a new day in Muncie public education. Muncie Community Schools will not settle for or implement second-best concepts,” Kwiatkowski stated. “With Ball State’s help and this plan now in place, we have set a high bar for our students, teachers and administrators, and we expect the results to follow.”