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Last updated: Thu. Feb. 07, 2013 - 10:39 am EDT

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Ball State should reconsider revoking Imagine MASTer Academy's charter

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I wanted to share with you my concern over the decision by Ball State University to revoke the charter of my children's school, Imagine MASTer Academy here in Fort Wayne.

On behalf of myself and so many families who will be affected by this decision, I have asked Dr Marra and the Ball State University Charter department to wholeheartedly reconsider. Their decision based on achievements made at this school is established on academic progress during a student's time at this particular facility. The academic achievements of a majority of Imagine students cannot be measured by their time solely with Imagine, but should be tracked from their previous school records and their progress upon leaving Imagine (including detentions, suspensions, involvement in extracurricular activities, academic growth and personal achievement).

Imagine educates the whole child, academics, civic engagement, social awareness, positive character development and so much more. The educators at our school are involved, active, supportive and engaged. They go above and beyond to make sure every child is truly not left behind. The school's unique approach to supporting every student as an individual made a quantifiable, positive impact on my children and my family and gives each of my three students the ability to succeed and surpass the achievements of their parents.

We relocated to Fort Wayne seven years ago, and I enrolled my children in the public school system here. At their previous school they had been meeting expectations and were on the honor roll. In their new school they began to fail. In spite of my best efforts, work with teachers and at home, my oldest fell from an A student to a D/F student. We were absolutely frustrated, so naturally I jumped at the chance to enroll my children in Imagine Master Academy the moment it opened its doors.

The first year was an uphill battle, but slowly my children's grades began to improve. By the end of my daughter's 8th grade year with Imagine, she had improved to a B/C+ student. Her freshman year of high school I returned her to the public school system, and her grades immediately jumped and she was placed on the high honor roll. Now a sophomore, she maintains her honor roll status and is enrolled in AP classes. She participates in show choir and technical theater and intends to attend university to become an attorney.

My son will be completing his 8th grade year with Imagine this spring, and I couldn't be more pleased with his progress also. His grades also fell when I enrolled him in the public school system here. When we moved to Imagine, his grades also began to improve. For a time he struggled with the typical middle school lack of interest in academics, but his grades have always remained high. He excels at math and science, participates in the school's Science Olympiad and Lego League teams, and we expect him to test out of high school algebra at the end of his 8th grade year. He has already chosen to become an engineer, and I am enrolling him this fall in a high school engineering tract.

My youngest will be completing her 6th grade year with Imagine this spring as a voracious reader and ardent writer who remains on the all-A honor roll and consistently tests ahead of her grade level. We are in the process of publishing her first book, a children's story given as a goodbye gift for one of her beloved teachers at Imagine, which she presented to him on his last day. She is a leader in (of her own accord) the school's anti-bullying program and is socially aware and accepting of her peers and those around her, defending those who are unique; a quality lacking in even some adults.

My children are becoming well-rounded, well-educated young individuals because of their time at Imagine. Results like these, although difficult to track, are undeniable. Our story is just one of many Imagine success stories. To pull a charter on a school that is producing results like my children's is unthinkable. Students who would typically fall through the educational gaps because they learn differently are succeeding and excelling, there is no price that can be put on the value my children, and so many others, have received from their time at Imagine.

This school is more than an education facility; it is a home, a family that has encouraged and supported my children's growth academically, socially and culturally. This is a school where parents and grandparents work alongside educators and children flourish. Standardized testing truly cannot convey the positive impact this school has had on our children.

The decision to revoke Imagine's charter is simply not in the best interest of my children or others in the school. If faced with closure, I will have no financial choice but to re-enroll my children in the public school system, where they will again be at risk of failure.

My children's education is my priority, and like so many other parents we have found Imagine to be the school that best delivers the results we know our children are capable of. Revocation of this charter will again put hundreds of children at risk of falling through the educational gaps simply because they have a different learning style or challenging social skills or a variety of other reasons. This is not what I want, and I'm certain this is not what our state representatives and elected officials want ,either.

It is so important that parents have the right and ability, regardless of their social or economic status, to choose the educational environment best for their children. I have seen success firsthand in my children and their friends, and I can assure you that Imagine MASTer Academy is the right school for our children.


Miriam Morgan is a resident of Fort Wayne.


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