03/11/11 Four years ago, John Glenn High School was on academic watch status with the Indiana Department of Education (DOE). Now, for the second consecutive year, they have been named a Four Star School. They are one of 18 high schools out of the 350 public high schools in the state to achieve the honor.
Principal William Mortin believes the small size of the school lends itself to individual achievements. He said, “With only 620 students, our size is optimal to give personal attention to all of the students.” He also praised the mentoring program that has been established at the school whereby every adult has three students to guide. He said, “Our mentors use coaching, coaxing, affirming and shaking a finger if they have to.”
Mortin said, “We don’t want kids falling through the cracks.”
He said every person in the school is committed to helping kids including the custodians, secretaries, cafeteria employees, teachers, aides, bus drivers, and administrators.
Mortin explained that they provide a lot of extra help in the critical core areas in mathematics with labs in algebra and geometry and similar help in Language Arts.
He said they are still trying to perfect the system to intervene with a different approach when necessary.
Mortin said, “Our students have seriousness about education and learning. They realize that they need a good education to be competitive in our global economy.” He said, “We are blessed to have a respectful environment and tone in our school.”
Mortin said if the DOE were assigning a letter grade as they plan to in the future, John Glenn would have had a “D” and now they are perhaps at a “B”. He said, “We’ve been progressing, but we have along way to go.”
John Glenn is the only school in the Michiana area to pass AYP (Average Yearly Progress) and only one of two with a commendable rating. Their graduation rate stands at 92 percent.
He gives a great deal of credit for the success of the students to the community. He said, “We are surrounded with very hard working people.”
No less significant in the eyes of Mortin is the importance of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. He said, “The arts help to make productive young citizens.” He said, “One of every five students is in the band and others are in a variety of activities including athletics.”
In recent years they have turned their attention to more writing. He said, “Every teacher works on writing by not only teaching it, but also by assessing it.” He said, “Our goal is for every teacher to contribute and collect data on the progress of the student’s writing.”
Although Mortin remains very modest about the Four Star rating, he did echo the voices of many across the state. He said, “For a high school, that’s really something to attain. We’re very proud”