GARY | Several Gary principals outlined school improvement plans, which included increasing English and math ISTEP+ scores, improving parent involvement and stepping up professional development.
Twelve failing Gary public schools were required to present school improvement plans as a result of Indiana's school accountability law.
Individual public hearings were held Tuesday for Bailly, Beveridge, Brunswick, Jefferson, Marquette, Watson, Webster and Williams elementary schools, Dunbar-Pulaski Middle School, and Lew Wallace STEM Academy, West Side Leadership Academy and Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts high schools.
West Side Principal Terrance Little outlined goals for the school, which has earned four consecutive D's. He discussed strategies for improvement, including high expectations for culture and climate and a clean and safe environment for students to learn.
Wirt-Emerson Principal Adrian Richie talked about goals he hopes to achieve. Wirt-Emerson earned an F in 2010 and D's the last three years. By May 2014, Richie wants to increase 10th-grade English proficiency from 78 percent to 83 percent.
"The school's grade was due to the low growth rate between eighth and 10th grade in English/language arts," he said.
Richie also said tutorial programs in English/language arts and math have been established for middle and high school students.
School Board members and principals didn't mention any school closings during the meeting, but some parents pleaded for their schools to remain open.
During a public work session last week on the district's finances, Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt said the district is facing a $12.2 million deficit. She recommended closing schools to reduce the deficit.
The recommendation includes closing Lew Wallace, Webster, Dunbar-Pulaski and the Watson Boys Academy. Gary New Tech High School, currently housed in the Gary Career Center, would move to a different building, and the administration building would be relocated to a school building.
School spokeswoman Sarita Stevens said community forums would be held before any decisions are made.
Parent Theresa Martin said she has a special needs child at Dunbar-Pulaski and he is doing very well at the school.
"You get a very warm feeling when you walk in there. Please reconsider closing Dunbar," she said.