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Ball State Releases Draft Ideas Of Muncie Schools Academic Innovation Plan

By Stephanie Wiechmann, IPR News | Published on in Ball State, Education, Government, Local News
Khalid Reichard assists students at Muncie Central High School. (File Photo: Tony Sandleben)

Ball State University has released preliminary details of a long-term plan for Muncie Community Schools.  It’s a report required by the legislature when it gave the public school district’s future to the state university.  And as IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, the partnership is required to show innovation in education.

 

A full draft of the Academic Innovation Plan has not been released – just a summary of its five central pillars and an explainer video that takes the place of public meetings that couldn’t be held because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Muncie Community Schools board president Jim Williams calls the plan a “living document” that can be changed as the years move on.

“This is not going to be a short process.  We’re looking at 5-7 years to implement fully systemic change.”

Read More: Ball State And Muncie Schools: Innovation Is Continued Improvement

(Graphic: Ball State University and Muncie Community Schools)

Among the plan’s five core ideas are two topics that state lawmakers are already familiar with – high-quality pre-kindergarten education and recruiting and retaining teachers.

MCS CEO Lee Ann Kwiatkowski says the district will extend pre-kindergarten programs to all elementary schools.

“According to By5 Early Childhood Initiative, more than 70 percent of entering MCS students are not prepared for kindergarten.  It’s imperative that we invest in programs and services that engage our earliest learners.”

As for teachers, she says the district will broaden recruitment, hoping to increase diversity of school staff.  And it hopes to keep who it attracts.

“And we’ll use incentive-based recruitment to develop and retain the best and brightest teachers to guide our learners.”

The plan also calls for the district to be more culturally-sensitive, to pay more attention to a student’s social and emotional learning, to foster more parental involvement, and to add more “student-centered intentional instruction” to classrooms.

In addition to a drafting council and public input, a panel of experts is reviewing the plan.  Williams says administrators have already incorporated its suggestion of a greater focus on literacy.

By law, the full plan is due to the General Assembly in June. Ball State is asking for online public input on the draft plan through June 1.

Read More: View the summary and give your feedback to Ball State and MCS here.

Williams says the plan will be delivered to the Statehouse on June 30.