FWCS schools LEADing the way to success - January 29, 2010

Record Number: 5910
Displayed from: Jan 29, 2010 , until: Feb 28, 2010

Eleven Fort Wayne Community Schools will lead the way in education reform as the district makes comprehensive changes in an effort to ensure all students are educated to high standards. North Side, South Side and Wayne high schools, Kekionga, Miami and Northwood middle schools and Abbett, Adams, Bloomingdale, Fairfield and South Wayne elementary schools are now designated LEAD Schools, which stands for Leading Educational Achievement with Distinction, and would be the first in line to receive a portion of the district's Race to the Top funds, if the state is granted the federal funding. We are going to change the way education looks in Fort Wayne, starting with these schools, Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. These schools will have the opportunity to implement the best educational practices. FWCS will continue to follow the federal Turnaround model for the schools, and specific details of the changes to be made at the 11 schools will be released as decisions are made. FWCS and the Fort Wayne Education Association will meet to determine the process and timeline for staffing the schools. All staffing decisions should be made by the end of the school year to allow staffs time to get to know each other and participate in professional development over the summer. By the fall, the LEAD Schools will be on track to piecing together the best practices for a successful school as Phase One of the reforms. Phase Two will expand to the remaining schools in the district. This process is not intended to create new programs, but instead, to model successful programs already in place in other schools in Fort Wayne Community Schools, Dr. Robinson said. We're large enough to have successful examples of everything we want to have in place. We just need to put the pieces together in our LEAD Schools. For instance, we have award-winning PTAs, but not in every building. We have teachers who are highly skilled in analyzing and using data to target specific areas where students need to improve or be challenged further, but not everyone has had enough training in data use. We need to bring all those pieces together and create an environment where staff is excited to come to work and students are excited to learn. Staffing for the buildings will be based on those who are qualified and eager to take on the challenge of this new endeavor. We are not looking for perfection, Dr. Robinson said. We want people who understand the moral purpose of making sure each child receives a quality education. We want people who see this as a civil rights issue for all children and are excited to be a part of it. The Fort Wayne Education Association is working closely with FWCS to establish the best environments in the LEAD Schools. Our teachers are dedicated professionals who want to do what is best for all boys and girls, FWEA Executive Director Steve Brace said. We know this won't be easy, but we want to be at the forefront of this nationwide reform and create some of the best schools in the country.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.