A Ball State student and Muncie Community Schools student work together

In July 2018, Ball State University and Muncie Community Schools (MCS) embarked on a historic partnership to transform the city’s public school district into a national model for innovative, holistic education. To guide this partnership, a Joint MCS-Ball State Academic Innovation Council has been working to develop an Academic Innovation Plan to guide the future of Muncie Community Schools.

The plan, which aligns with the MCS Strategic Plan, details how the district will collaborate with Ball State and community partners to implement an innovative, community-based model that supports and educates students from cradle to career.

Although the partnership has already achieved results — including stabilized enrollment, strong governance, and more than $5 million in philanthropic support — we project sustainable and systemic revitalization will take five to seven years.


We will implement the plan in two phases:

Years 1-3

This Fall, the district will continue to build the structures and processes to strengthen its academic and financial foundations to achieve baseline performance levels.

Year 4

The focus will shift to implementing our aspirational vision and strategies to achieve academic excellence at all levels.

Foundational Principles

The plan outlines two foundational principles and five operational pillars that create a strong foundation for our schools. These values underscore our belief that students learn through engaging curriculum, positive mentorship, and valuable collaborations within our city, university, and district.

Professional development for MCS administrators, teachers, and staff will be content focused, incorporate active learning, support collaboration, provide ongoing coaching and feedback.

This principle demonstrates our embrace of the values and backgrounds within our diverse MCS community.

Our relationships, curriculum, instruction, and assessments will reflect and honor the assets and strengths all learners bring to the classroom. We will embed culturally responsive practices in all trainings and performance rubrics, and we have formed a culturally responsive cadre of MCS and Ball State teachers and leaders to lead this effort.


Arising from the plan’s two foundational principles, the following five operational pillars provide the infrastructure on which we will develop and implement creative, innovative, and aspirational strategies that support all learners:

  • Pillar 1 – High-Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education
  • Pillar 2 – Recruitment, Development, and Retention of Educational Leaders
  • Pillar 3 – Student-Centered Teaching and Learning
  • Pillar 4 – Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Pillar 5 – Family and Community Engagement

MCS Pillars of Focus and Foundation Principles

“Understanding the Academic Innovation Plan”: 
Jim Williams, president of the MCS Board of Trustees, and Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, director of Public Education and CEO for MCS, provide an overview of the district’s Academic Innovation Plan.

“Q&A with MCS Leaders”:
MCS leaders respond to questions about the future of Muncie Community Schools.