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South Bend School Board approves redesign plan for two underperforming schools

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 11:14 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The South Bend School Board has voted in favor of a redesign plan for Muessel Elementary and Marquette Montessori schools at Monday’s meeting.

“We’re hoping that this is a locally-designed, collaborative model that we can roll out to other schools that also need to be redesigned as well,” Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings said.

One of the big factors in this decision being that both schools have received a failing grade from the state for the past several years.

“We can’t wait any longer for our students at Marquette and Muessel and any of our students to fail,” School Board Member Leslie Wesley said.

This plan has been created with the National Education Association South Bend and will first start with a review of each school to identify reasons for underperformance. From there school-specific plans will be made for improvement changes, such as an extended school day.

“You can’t fix a problem until you know exactly the details and problem you’re facing, so this is just a step in the process,” Board President John Anella said.

Staff at both schools, excluding Montessori-certified staff or those in special education classes, will be displaced and have to reapply for their positions. Teachers wanting to stay will need to make a 3-year commitment to their school, and those who make that commitment will see an annual stipend and a one-time bonus after 3 years.

“It’s growing pains, and this is a new thing for us, so I’m excited about the possibility of this redesign,” School Board Member Stephanie Ball said.

The redesign plan passed in a 5 to 2 vote.

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