School News

News for Marion Community Schools

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Several students were honored by the Marion Community Schools Board of School Trustees during its June 12, 2013, meeting.

Those honored were:

Several Marion Community Schools elementary students who earned perfect scores on their IREAD3 tests: Kaley Ervin, Allen Elementary; Alyssa Townsend, Frances Slocum Elementary; Madelynn Berryman (not pictured), and Bayleigh Reeder, Kendall Elementary; and Olivia Bishop, Hayden Conliff, Rachel Hampton, Corbin Johnson, Faith Keaffaber, Jacob Logan, Alexander Spitzer, and Marley White, Riverview Elementary. Also pictured are MCS Superintendent Steve Edwards, along with board members Cathy Moritz, Scott Murphy, Pam Hutchison, Harry Hall, Aaron Vermilion, Greg Kitts, and Katie Morgan. 
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
From the Chronicle-Tribune

Marion Community Schools is expected to announce its next leader within the next two weeks.

Board of School Trustees Secretary Harry Hall said Thursday the board is interviewing four candidates, one of whom will be in place to succeed Superintendent Steve Edwards before he leaves the post at the end of June. 

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
Recognizing that poor attendance can drag down students’ ability to achieve, Marion Community Schools and the Grant County prosecutor’s office are getting tough on truancy. Criminal charges have been filed in 10 cases involving Marion students since March.

Research shows chronic absences negatively affect students’ achievement, and that effect can haunt students for years. These patterns are consistent across racial, socioeconomic, and special needs categories. A strong correlation between attendance and graduation rates has also been found. (For more information, read the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy’s brief “Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism in Indiana: The Impact on Student Achievement”.) 

Simply put, a student who isn’t in school can’t learn. That’s why MCS is working closely with the Grant County prosecutor’s office and truancy officer Julie Autry to hold parents accountable when students are chronically absent from school.

Penalties can include jail time, and if problems persist, parents can face felony charges.

During the school year that has just ended, weekly attendance rates at individual buildings ranged from lows of about 89 percent to highs above 99 percent. Over the whole year, though, no school reached the district’s attendance goals of at least 95 percent at the secondary level and at least 96 percent at the elementary and intermediate levels. Now that summer break has begun, the prosecutor’s office is continuing to review referrals from the schools.

MCS will continue to work with the prosecutor’s office to emphasize the importance of attendance – and the penalties of chronic absenteeism. All students deserve the opportunity to succeed, and chronic absenteeism is a major roadblock on the path to success.

Since 2010, when efforts between MCS and the prosecutor’s office began to jell, schools have referred about 850 cases in Grant County to the prosecutor’s office in reference to students’ chronic absenteeism. (Not all of those have involved MCS students, but from March to May 2013, 10 out of 15 – or 2 out of every 3 – cases that resulted in charges did involve MCS students.)

Of those 850, about 700 have taken the first step toward possible prosecution on criminal charges. That first step involves the parents meeting with Autry to review state law regarding their child’s school attendance. Here is a look at what the prosecutor’s office advises parents:

Indiana law provides:

1. It is unlawful for a parent to fail to ensure that his/her child attends school as required under our Compulsory Attendance Statute (Indiana Code 20-33-2-27).
2. It is unlawful for a parent to fail, neglect, or refuse to send his/her child to a public school for a full term as required under our Compulsory Attendance Statute (Indiana Code 20-33-2-28).
3. It is unlawful for a parent to fail or refuse to produce a certificate of the incapacity of a child signed by an Indiana physician. When a parent does not send the child to school because of the child’s illness or physical/mental capacity, the certificate must be provided within six (6) days after it is demanded (Indiana Code 20-33-2-18).
4. It is unlawful for a person having the care of a dependent, whether assumed voluntarily or because of legal obligation, to knowingly or intentionally deprive the dependent of education as required by law (Indiana Code 35-46-1-4).

Indiana law provides that a child is required to attend school until the date on which he/she reaches the age of eighteen (18) years. If the parent or other person having the care of a dependent under the age of eighteen (18) years is charged and convicted of any of the offenses stated herein it could result in imprisonment for a term of six (6) months to three (3) years and a fine of One Thousand ($1,000) to Ten Thousand ($10,000). The penalty would depend upon the offense charged.


Parents acknowledge with their signature that they understand the law and will provide appropriate documentation for any further absences. (At Marion Community Schools, if a student is too sick to attend school but the family does not wish to seek a doctor’s services, a nurse at the child’s school can verify the child is sick – but he or she must be brought to the school for this verification.)

Parents are also referred to a short series of parenting classes through Family Service Society. 

If the same parent is again referred to the prosecutor’s office in reference to a student’s attendance – even in a subsequent school year – it can result in criminal charges being filed. Violations do not start over at the start of a new school year, even though school policies do.

A first offense following acknowledgement of the law can lead to a Class B misdemeanor charge of compulsory school attendance violation. A subsequent offense can lead to a Class D felony charge of educational neglect.

MCS’s current attendance policy can be reviewed here. In short, after five unexcused absences, a letter is sent to the parent advising them of school policy. At eight, another letter is sent stating any further absences must be accompanied by appropriate documentation explaining the reason for the absence (i.e. doctor’s note). At 10 absences, the case can be referred to the prosecutor’s office.  
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
From the Chronicle-Tribune

Jonathan Cannon came Wednesday to 1219 S. Gallatin St. to enjoy what he and his classmates accomplished this year, but it didn’t take long for him to start dreaming about what comes next.

“It feels good, but I still can’t wait to get the inside done,” he said.

Cannon, a Marion resident and Marion High School junior, was one of 23 Tucker Career and Technology Center students who spent the 2012-13 session building a house for a needy family through Habitat for Humanity.

Representatives from Habitat, Marion Community Schools and the community gathered there to celebrate their accomplishment and see the house first-hand Wednesday.

— More from MCS on this story: To find out more about the Construction Trades program at Tucker Career and Technology Center, click here. —
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
From the Chronicle-Tribune

Advanced placement and dual credit students at Marion High School will continue to benefit after General Motors extended a string of recent donations to the school’s academic excellence program.

GM donated $10,000 to Marion High this month, the third year in a row it’s funded advanced coursework, according to a press release from Marion Community Schools.

— More from MCS on this story: To read the press release referenced above and learn more about the GM donation, click here. —