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Chuck Carney
IU School of Education
ccarney@indiana.edu
812-856-8027

Charmella Greer
Gary Community School Corp.
219-881-5481

Last modified: Wednesday, November 7, 2007

IU School of Education and Gary schools announce partnership

First lady of IU cuts ribbon on science lab and “Writers’ House”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 8, 2007

Gary, Ind. -- The Gary Community School Corp. has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indiana University School of Education for a partnership that will bring educational expertise and resources to enhance student learning at two gender-based academies. IU faculty and staff are working with the Frankie Wood McCullough Academy for Girls and the Dr. Bernard C. Watson Academy for Boys, both elementary schools serving students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Frankie Woods McCullough Academy for Girls

Frankie Woods McCullough Academy for Girls

Print-Quality Photo

To celebrate the agreement, Gary teachers and administrators joined IU First Lady Laurie McRobbie and other IU faculty and staff today (Nov. 8) to cut the ribbon on two new facilities within those schools. Watson is developing a "Writer's House," a room containing all the tools for students to draft, revise, edit, illustrate and publish written works. McCullough has just opened a new science lab dedicated to giving students hands-on science experience.

The partnership was formalized after a year of discussion between Gary teachers and administrators and staff of the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration at the IU School of Education. The collaboration came about when the Gary administrators approached IU about providing support to the two elementary schools.

"Our work in Gary has been led and directed by them," said Catherine Gray, associate director of the P-16 Center. "They've been the ones to identify and articulate their needs. We've just been trying to connect their needs with the resources of this university."

The superintendent of the Gary schools says students will also benefit from extended field experiences on the university campus that will be part of the program. "As the programs are successfully implemented, we hope to expand the programs to serve all students where appropriate as well as expand the professional development opportunities for our teachers," said Dr. Mary Steele-Agee.

Dr. Bernard C. Watson Academy for Boys

Dr. Bernard C. Watson Academy for Boys

Print-Quality Photo

The partnership includes professional development for teachers in both schools. Language education professor Gerald Campano is working with Watson faculty and staff to build upon the existing literacy curriculum. Science education professor Gayle Buck is helping McCullough teachers examine how girls best learn science and how best to teach it. Faculty and staff from IU Northwest in Gary from the School of Education as well as science and theater departments are assisting in the effort. IU also is providing materials for the labs.

"The partnership provides the support that we needed desperately to get this science lab going," said Pearl Prince, principal of the McCullough Academy for Girls. "The constant communication between the IU-Bloomington staff and our staff helped to support this dream that we had here."

Watson and McCullough started in 2005 after the Gary School Board of Trustees approved a plan to convert two elementary schools into the gender-based academies. The McCullough building formerly housed the David O. Duncan Elementary School. Watson used to be the home of Charles Drew Elementary School.

The Gary partnership continues ongoing efforts by the School of Education to enhance student learning in schools throughout Indiana. Lake County is a part of the School of Education's Pathways Initiative. IU faculty and staff are partnering with public high schools and middle schools in Lake, Marion, and St. Joseph counties.

The goal of the Pathways Initiative is to raise high school graduation rates, better prepare students for college and enhance their chances for success in postsecondary education or the workforce.

In July, the school announced a memorandum of understanding with the Indianapolis Public Schools that included a jointly-funded staff position to work with Manual High School and Arsenal Tech High School. The Center for Research and P-16 Collaboration started last year with funding from the IU Bloomington Office of the Provost and the School of Education.

Media Outlets: the following comments are available as mp3 files on the IU School of Education Web site at http://site.educ.indiana.edu/news/tabid/5663/Default.aspx. Look for the story headline under "Podcasts."

-- Yvonne Lucas, special education teacher at McCullough Girls Academy, describes how the school determined to take the focus it did for its students:

"Two things that we wanted to look at. We wanted to be where our girls could be more knowledgeable about science and math, since those are two subjects that we see girls have a hard time with. And when we decided that's what we wanted, we took a big step — we stepped outside of the box. We started to think global, whereas though now we want a science lab, we want to be where the girls will be able to see science, touch science, experience science."

Lucas describes what the new science laboratory may mean for McCullough students:

"We're hoping when they get done that they're going to take this experience that they have with science here at McCullough, and move on to middle school and high school. And we're hoping that when they get to middle school and high school that they're going to say, that's what I want to study. I want to study in science. I want to major in science. Not be afraid to enter a science classroom."

-- Prince says the lab is a huge benefit for the McCullough students:

"When they actually have hands-on, that's the key to it, I think. You know reading the theory is one thing. But actually participating in the experiment adds to that."

-- Prince describes how the partnership is important:

"The partnership provides the support that we needed desperately, desperately needed to get this science lab going. The constant communication between the IU Bloomington staff and our staff helped to support this dream that we had here, this vision, and also the materials that the partnership, we're getting through the IU Bloomington staff, they have provided many materials."

-- Gray speaks about how the Gary memorandum of understanding fits into the mission of the Center for Research and P-16 Collaboration:

"It's about the P-16 center's mission. It's about connecting the resources of this university, this multi-campus university, with high-needs schools in the state of Indiana. It's been a real privilege not only to work in Gary with these schools, but to also get to know and connect with the great faculty at Indiana University Northwest who have certainly become very involved with this project and they're offering all kinds of wonderful ideas and support and resources as well. Our mission at the P-16 center is mostly about connecting things and identifying what the need is, helping schools, listening to what the schools say are their needs and then finding the resources so they can address them."

For more Information, contact Chuck Carney, director of communications and media relations, IU School of Education, at 812-856-8027 or ccarney@indiana.edu.