An Innovative Partnership

Muncie elementary students listening to their teacher

About the Partnership

Members of the Muncie and Ball State communities share an unwavering commitment to Muncie children, and they are collaborating in unprecedented ways to inspire and empower the next generation.

During a special legislative session in May 2018, the Indiana General Assembly adopted legislation to grant Ball State University—Indiana’s fourth-largest public institution—authority to appoint a Muncie Community School (MCS) Board of Trustees in June.

Since July 1, the board has guided the district of nearly 550 educators, staff, and administrators and 6,000 students in preschool through 12th grade.

A Joint MCS/Ball State Academic Innovation Council is developing a long-term Academic Innovation and Financial Viability Plan, which will be presented to the Indiana legislature in June 2020.

The Academic Innovation Council is a team of representatives from both Ball State and MCS. This blend of educational thought-leaders, teachers, administrators, and passionate Muncie residents are driven to:

  • Engage and embrace the ideas of all stakeholders throughout the development of the Academic Innovation and Financial Viability Plan.
  • Develop strategies and wrap-around services to strengthen academic performance. Those goals and tactics will appear in the academic innovation plan.
  • Embolden Muncie Community Schools educators and staff to pursue innovative teaching and partnerships.
  • Create a user-friendly process for educators and community partners to propose collaborations that benefit students and align with MCS goals and objectives.
  • Celebrate and share the transformative work happening in our schools.
  • Build community around and support for Muncie’s school system and its one-of-a-kind partnership with Ball State.

Given the community’s investment in this partnership, Ball State launched a Community Engagement Council (CEC) to champion and advocate for Muncie Community Schools through fundraising, advocacy, and volunteerism. Learn more about the Community Engagement Council and keep up the council’s efforts on the CEC Facebook page.

What We've Accomplished

Volunteers showed up by the dozens to help start the year right

Before and during the start of the MCS school year, a small army of Ball State faculty and staff contributed their time, talents, and skills to volunteering on behalf of our local public schools. Among other tasks, volunteers have assisted with registration, helped prepare schools and classrooms for the first day of classes, and lent a hand with kindergarten classes and lunch at some elementary schools.

Charlies Cardinal with students

Board gains an intimate understanding of MCS and its families

MCS board members have deep ties to Muncie. Before they started on July 1, MCS board members were provided a thorough orientation on the role and responsibilities of an Indiana school board. They learned about MCS’ demographics, finances, challenges, assets, and opportunities, and became intimately familiar with the MCS system and how it works. The board will have two years to develop a long-term plan, with the first year devoted to listening to the community.

Enrollment efforts over summer lead to increase in students

Ball State lent its expertise to MCS through an enrollment push during registration for 2018-19 classes. The target audience was parents who lived within the district but enrolled their children elsewhere. Parents heard from other parents about why they should come home to MCS. Thanks to digital and print ads, radio spots, direct mail pieces, and phone calls, MCS has 160 more students than it would have had otherwise.

students working on crafts in classroom

Community organizations pledge millions of dollars to support MCS

This partnership has encouraged philanthropic support from individuals and organizations eager to enhance the economic and civic vitality of our region. Shortly after House Bill 1315 passed, community institutions committed $3.1 million for our local schools. MCS faculty and staff are the first to benefit. The University is directing $50,000 to fund classroom supplies for MCS educators to use in their classrooms.