Imagine Schools on Broadway Principal RaChelle Spearman said the school is more motivated than ever to finish out this year strong.
The school plans to appeal a recent decision by Ball State University not to renew its charter, specifically by asking that the university take into account the schools standardized test scores from this year, Spearman said during a parent meeting Monday evening. About 60 parents, students, teachers and staff attended the meeting.
Imagine on Broadway, one of three local schools whose charters will expire on June 30 under Ball State, is in its fifth year of a five-year charter. School officials and the board believe that Ball State might reconsider its decision after seeing the growth in this years scores.
Spearman said the school has implemented a number of changes this year to help get its students proficient on standardized tests.
Ball State officials have cited test scores, insufficient improvement and low grades on the states A-F grade accountability system as reasons why the university decided not to renew the charters of the three Fort Wayne charter schools.
About 37 percent of students at Imagine Schools on Broadway passed both English/language arts and math portions of the ISTEP+ standardized test last year. But Spearman said thats an increase from the 23 percent passage rate the school achieved when it opened its doors in 2008.
We definitely want higher scores, and were on our way to that, Spearman said.
Spearman and the schools board have said the school was surprised Ball State didnt consider the implemented changes and the growth the school believes it will see this year based on current standardized test scores.
Had (Ball State) said the decision would be purely based on numbers, we wouldnt have been surprised, she said.
During the schools rally, parents shared stories of experiences with the school and how teachers have touched their lives and the lives of their children.
Kathryn Skordos, the parent of a fourth-grade student, struggled through an emotional reading of a letter she sent to Ball State officials about the success her daughter has experienced while at the school.
In her letter, she encouraged officials to look at the whole picture not just test scores. Skordos said she came to the meeting to rally other parents to get involved in the effort to save the school.
Its not just about state test scores or grades. Its about how these kids have come so far and achieved so much, she said.
Before the start of the meeting, Jennifer Armstrong said she was devastated when she heard the news of Ball States decision. She has two children attending Imagine on Broadway and one child at Imagine MASTer Academy, another Fort Wayne charter school whose charter will not be renewed by Ball State. Shes particularly concerned about her son who is part of Imagine on Broadways special education program. She said hes done well at the school.
I just dont want to put him in a situation where he wont progress, she said. I just wanted to come here to show my support to keep the school going, Armstrong said.
The schools board voted over the weekend to move forward with appealing Ball States decision. A hearing will be scheduled sometime before June 30.
Spearman said she looks forward to making the case that the school should stay open and to continue the schools commitment to educating students.
In the meantime, she told parents its likely the school and its board will look into other options, like seeking an alternative authorizer for the charter school. She also assured parents that in the event the school does close, teachers and staff will help families in transitioning to other schools.