Seeing Is Believing @ FWCS
Mar08

Seeing Is Believing @ FWCS

Want to get to know a major education innovator in Fort Wayne?  A school system that excels in skilled trades, arts and sciences, and communication?  A school system that offers project- and inquiry-based learning models to help develop new types of thinkers through the New Tech teaching model?  That has the only high school in Northeast Indiana with the globally renowned International Baccalaureate program (and for over 20 years)? Who boasts its diversity with students from 6 continents and 70 home languages spoken?  Ready to find out who is excelling at education in your back yard? It’s your 160 year old public school system, Fort Wayne Community Schools!  Surprised?  Read on to find out how you can learn more. There’s been a lot of talk about the state of public education recently – about quality, effectiveness, and choice.  School choice is a buzzword now, but FWCS has been promoting choice for nearly 40 years.   We all have a variety of ways to get information to help us make that choice – whether that be social media, a website, or just a chat with friends over coffee.  But, really, what’s better than seeing for yourself?  That’s why, annually Fort Wayne Community Schools invites local business and community leaders on their Seeing is Believing tour to see how FWCS is preparing students for their futures in businesses and organizations in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. Seeing is Believing is a four-year partnership with Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., Excursions Trailways, and the Fort Wayne Area PTA.  Why does Greater Fort Wayne want more community members to see what goes on in their public schools?  Cheri Becker, Vice President of Investor Services, Programs & Marketing describes it this way, “The Seeing is Believing tour gives business and community leaders an opportunity to see what’s happening inside our schools and connect with educators and students. … GFW Inc.’s role is to be a connector. For the business community, understanding our school system is helpful when recruiting new talent to the area. Those families and individuals with children want to know that their children can succeed in the educational system before they decide to relocate. Likewise future business success depends on a well prepared workforce, Seeing is Believing allows the business community and the educational community to understand each other’s future needs and to work toward that successful end.” This year’s Seeing is Believing tour will be on Thursday, March 23rd.  The tour promises to be very exciting with participants meeting with FWCS Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson and FWCS Board of Trustees President Julie Hollingsworth.  Participants will also learn about schools and programs on student-lead tours of Wayne High...

Read More
FWCS Magnet Schools Series: Education in the Arts
Jan28

FWCS Magnet Schools Series: Education in the Arts

Everyone knows the Fort Wayne community thrives in the arts. If you’re not familiar, let me just name off a few: Arena Dinner Theatre, Artlink, Civic Theatre, FAME, Fort Wayne Ballet, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Youtheatre, Heartland Sings, Wunderkammer… I could go on. Not many other communities can cultivate the same amount of artistic opportunity and prosperity that this community has. Fort Wayne is a hub for talent, but it doesn’t just happen over night. Think back to when you first realized a passion of yours. For many people, including myself, it dates back to childhood. I remember discovering my passion for writing clearly—at the age of ten. At this point in our lives as VERY young creatives, having support is crucial. This support can come from a variety of places. We always counted on our friends and family to encourage and nurture our creative cravings—as I know mine did—but we also seek out this support from outside our personal lives: teachers. The Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) district is doing its part in embracing the creative mindset this city employs not only by making enthusiastic teachers accessible to the students of Fort Wayne, but it also furthers its commitment to the educational advancement of the youth by offering an entire arts route through its magnet schools. In my last post about FWCS magnet early childhood centers, I briefly touched on the Whitney Young Early Childhood Center, which exposes pre-k and kindergarten students to arts education immediately as they begin their academic careers. But this isn’t the only arts magnet school that FWCS offers. In fact, children can experience an arts-based curriculum for the majority of their education here in Fort Wayne. After leaving pre-kindergarten/kindergarten at the Whitney Young Early Childhood Center, children can move on to their primary education at Weisser Park Elementary School. They offer curriculum in music, visual arts, theater arts and dance, all of which are based on the National Standards for Arts Education. Weisser Park’s art concentration feeds into Memorial Park Middle School, which, like Young and Weisser Park, offers music, art, foreign language, choir, speech and drama courses of study. Taking advantage of the many art organizations in Fort Wayne, Memorial Park students are given the opportunity to exhibit their work at Artlink every year. Artlink’s Betty Fishmann Gallery currently displays artwork from Memorial Park students as a feature of its Rock, Paper, Scissors exhibit, which runs until March 4. Students from Memorial Park Middle School are fed into South Side High School. While this is not a magnet arts school, South Side High School is a...

Read More
Showcase Fort Wayne Community Schools
Nov04

Showcase Fort Wayne Community Schools

Showcase Fort Wayne Community Schools    ||    Saturday, November 8th    ||    1pm – 4pm    ||    Held at Northrop High School Seeing is Believing. That’s the theme of this year’s annual Showcase Fort Wayne Community Schools event, and the name says it all. “We know that once people see what we have to offer, they’ll fall in love.” Krista Stockman, FWCS’s Public Information Officer truly believes in the programs, and her enthusiasm is clearly evident when speaking about FWCS. “This is FWCS’s opportunity to truly showcase what all we have to offer the community. We are excited to get people in the door so we can talk with them about their goals and educational expectations for their children and we can direct them to the schools that would best suit them and their needs.” For those of you who have attended several years ago (such as myself), the event used to be called the FWCS School Choice Fair and it was held annually around the beginning of February. I was informed by Krista that they had re-branded the name about three years ago and changed the date to early November. The reason for the date change was because choosing a school for a child is really a year-round activity. “Parents really value having time to research and compare schools so that they feel that they made the right decision for their children,” adds Krista. While attending the showcase, parents, care-givers and children alike can expect to find exhibits for all 50 schools within FWCS, including 5 high schools, Anthis Career Center, 10 middle schools, and 34 elementary schools. I bet you didn’t even know there were that many options, huh?! Representatives from all the schools will be on hand to answer questions and hand out information. There will also be several departments on hand such as Nutrition Services, Academic Services, Community Programs, Special Education, Technology, and many more! Many of the highlights for those in attendance will include: Register to win prizes, such as items from Vera Bradley and picnic tables built on-site by Anthis Career Center students FREE books from United Way to the first 200 children FREE face painting by Anthis Cosmetology students FREE food samples FREE CHILD CARE for children ages 3-5 ….that last one was so incredible, I feel the need to repeat it: FREE CHILDCARE for children ages 3-5!! Translators available Enjoy appearances from: 1:45 pm – Weisser Park Strings 2:15 pm – Memorial Park Jazz Band & Choir 2:45 pm – Dr. Deb McMahan, Judge Paul Mathias, Tiffany Gooden (all FWCS alumni) 3:15 pm – Northrop Dance Team There will...

Read More
Fort Wayne Earns A in Public Schooling
Aug08

Fort Wayne Earns A in Public Schooling

Fort Wayne and its outlying districts boast four award-winning public school systems: Fort Wayne Community Schools, Northwest Allen County Schools, East Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools. Each district has unique programs and offerings for the students of the area (click the school system links to learn more about each one).With over 50 schools, Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) is the largest school district in Indiana and is home to an extremely diverse student body of over 30,000 students. FWCS boasts a graduation rate of around 88%, beating out statewide graduation rates. It is also one of the only school systems in the entire country that allows students to attend any school in the district based on space availability and racial balance.Even those students who choose private or parochial schools are able to benefit from Fort Wayne Community Schools’ programs. FWCS has one of the best Special Education Departments in the state and assists over 5,000 students each year–with nearly 10% of those being from private or parochial schools. The FWCS Nutrition Services Center supplies meals to 10 non-FWCS schools, making sure students all across northeast Indiana are receiving the nutrition they need during the school day.Following its policy of allowing students to attend any school of their choosing within the district, FWCS has the first public school in the nation to receive accreditation from the American Montessori Society, Bunche Early Childhood Center. It also has the state’s sole public Montessori first through eighth grade program with Towles Intermediate School.As a graduate of the Bunche Montessori program myself, I can attest to the fact that each student learns in a different manner and should not be limited in their scope of learning based on where they live. With FWCS, students and parents can choose the school that fits their learning style the best and will lead to the most successful experience for all...

Read More
Faces of the Fort: Erica Kennedy
Aug06

Faces of the Fort: Erica Kennedy

It’s hard to believe that August is here already! If you listen closely, you can hear the faint sound of school bells in the distance. In the back-to-school spirit, August’s Faces of the Fort column features Erica Kennedy, an elementary teacher who takes pride in positively impacting the lives of her students. A transplant from Goshen, IN, Erica was attracted to the bustling cityscape, amenities, and colleges. By the time she earned her degree in elementary education from IPFW in 2011, she had fallen in love with the Fort and decided to stay. She has lived in Fort Wayne for 6 years and now works for Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS). Read on as Erica dishes on finding her calling, her experience teaching with FWCS, and the one piece of advice she has for all parents sending kids back to school this year. 1.) What made you decide to become a teacher, and how has teaching in the Fort Wayne community facilitated that dream? I realized that I wanted to be a teacher after completing an internship in high school. I was placed in an elementary classroom and worked with students for a semester. During that internship I realized the feelings of accomplishment and pride I felt after a student had shown growth because of something I had taught them and knew that I wanted that to be my career. I love watching my students achieve their educational and personal goals and knowing that I played a part in that. Teaching in the Fort Wayne community for the past two years has been a great experience for me. I have had the opportunity to teach in many different schools in the area and meet many parents, students, and teachers. FWCS really pushes teachers and students alike to dream big and work hard. With the support of the school system and some awesome kids that are willing to work hard, I have enjoyed watching my students grow throughout the year. I get to relive the feelings of accomplishment and pride every single day! 2.) From a behind-the-scenes teacher perspective, what positive things have you seen the Fort Wayne school system doing to improve education and overall quality of life for area students? FWCS really takes a vested interest in students’ achievement and success in the classroom, always pushing them to try harder and do their best. The school system also gives students many opportunities to learn through and interact with technology. Many of the students in the district come from low income families and may not have that hands-on interaction with technology that they need in our ever-changing society. Teachers...

Read More