Turnaround plan in place for failing South Bend schools

(Photo supplied/ABC 57)

Two elementary schools will be part of a redesign plan in South Bend to help turn them around.

The South Bend Community School Board voted 5-2 Monday evening to move forward with a plan to deep dive into the root causes of why two of its schools, Muessel Elementary and Marquette Montessori school, have been under-performing the last five years.

According to the state, the schools have received four consecutive annual failing grades, and any more would force the schools to be taken over by the state in order to right the ship. But, the plan approved by the school board Monday allows for the schools to stay within the control of the school district.

One of the main issues the schools are dealing with is a high turnover rate among teachers. The plan would enter the district into an agreement with teachers that if they make a three-year commitment to the schools, they would get an annual stipend of up to $5,000, on top of a one-time stipend of $3,000.

However, many teachers at the schools will be displaced once the plan is implemented and they will have to re-apply for their jobs.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings said the goal of the whole plan is to root out inequity for students.

“We’re going make sure we get all the data we need to make decisions,” Cummings said. “This is about the babies in those schools that aren’t reading and don’t have a fair chance.”

Some board members, who voted against the measure, were concerned the agreement to give teachers extra money to stay at the two struggling schools is not fair to other teachers in the district who are not getting that extra help.

The board did vote a few weeks ago, by a 4-3 vote, to approve a plan to close two other elementary schools, which Cummings said would save the district money in operating costs and then would allow them to pay teachers more across the whole district.

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1 comment

Concerned Parent March 3, 2021 at 1:30 pm

You could have bused the students from the two failing schools to the two successful schools you’re going to close, Hay comes to mind, but that would make too much sense wouldn’t it? Why are schools with a 5 year record of failure even allowed to survive? The kids in those schools will never be able to make up for what the South Bend Community School Corporation has stolen from them. They will never be able to overcome the education they didn’t receive. Don’t get me started on what you should do with the Superintendent and the teacher’s union. The union does not care about students, period. End of story! Wait till we sic Clifton French on you people, and the ridiculous school board members, who only worry about cancelling basketball coach’s because their precious baby doesn’t get enough playing time.


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