Muncie Community Schools is committed to providing a full service educational environment to all of the students served across the district. Academic, social, medical, behavioral and mental health services are provided for all students based on individual student needs. A dedicated MCS staff collaborates with multiple agencies throughout the district in a variety of community partnerships to meet the needs of all children.
- Exceptional Learners
- High Ability Education
- Social and Emotional Learning
- McKinney-Vento (Homeless Assistance)
- Title I
- Dual Language Immersion Program
- English Language Learners
- Section 504
- Special Education Cooperative
Muncie Community Schools provides special education and related services for students with disabilities, ages 3 through 22 who meet eligibility criteria. Students are determined eligible for special education supports and services through a multidisciplinary team evaluation and case conference process utilizing criteria established in Article 7, Indiana's special education law.
Working closely with families, teachers and administration, the district is committed to educating students in their least restrictive environment. Most students can be educated in their neighborhood school, however, a full continuum of services is offered to meet the diverse needs of our students.
Procedural Safeguards/Parent Rights
Notice of Procedural Safeguards in English, Español and other language translations are available here.
IDOE Parent Survey
The Indiana Department of Education - Office of Special Education (IDOE) is asking for your help with an important survey to learn more about how Indiana families feel about the special education services their schools provide. The survey is easy to complete and asks you to rate various items regarding your experience in working with school staff and about the special education services your child has received. All survey responses are confidential, and no individual information is disclosed.
To take the parent survey after your annual case review meeting: Click Here
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does it cost anything to have my child tested?
No--this service is free of charge and the responsibility of the school corporation. The school can test children starting at age 3 (special rules apply for transitions from First Steps).
2. Who do I ask for testing, and does the school have to test my child if I ask?
You should put your request in writing and give it to a licensed professional, ideally the principal of the school. Be sure to include your concerns in this request. The school has 10 school days to respond by law. The school is required to gather data to determine if there is a need for testing (academic and behavioral). If the school determines there is not any data to support the need for testing they are legally able to refuse. The parent may challenge this following their procedural safeguards.
3. How long does the school have to test my child?
50 school days unless otherwise specified in writing on the notice of initial evaluation.
4. Can you test my child for dyslexia?
A school corporation cannot test for dyslexia. This is medical/clinical diagnosis which must be made by a clinical psychologist at the expense of the parent. The school can test for a "specific learning disability" in the area of reading which is an educational eligibility area.
5. I want my child tested for ADHD. Can the school do that?
A school corporation cannot test for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is a medical diagnosis made by a doctor. A school can however test for the likelihood of attention problems and if these are present and significant enough to impact their educational progress, then the school can provide services to the student under the educational eligibility area of "Other Health Impaired."
6. My child is medically diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and my doctor said he needs an IEP. Is that true?
A student with a medical diagnosis of Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder may or may not qualify for the educational eligibility of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This will depend upon the needs of the student and is a case conference decision after a complete educational evaluation is done. You should call the school psychologist and request testing for an Autism Spectrum Disorder. A Section 504 plan is available to students who have a medical diagnosis but do not qualify under Indiana law for special education and related services.
7. What is the difference between consultation and resource?
A student on consultation has a special education teacher check in with them about grades usually once per grading period, but does not have any direct special education services. This student usually has adequate self-advocacy skills and uses his or her accommodations without prompting. The student's grades are usually passing without assistance or support in the classroom. A student who has resource time needs daily monitoring for organization and assignment completion. The student goes to the resource room each day for a scheduled amount of time (per the IEP) for study skills assistance and instruction in self-advocacy skills. The goal for a resource student is to become less and less reliant on staff to help them with organization and work completion. Students who master these skills in the resource room are usually moved to consultation if that is determined to be the least restrictive environment by the case conference committee.
8. Does Muncie Community Schools have self-contained classrooms for students who need those?
Muncie Community Schools is able to provide a full continuum of special education services in our district. Grissom Elementary School houses the district self-contained classrooms for those in grades K-5 with the most significant disabilities that are not able to make progress in a general education classroom (per case conference decision). Southside Middle School houses this program for grades 6-8. Muncie Central High School has applied classes for students in grades 9-12+ who are unable to earn a high school diploma due to significant cognitive disabilities.
9. What is Vocational Rehabilitation? When do I apply?
Vocational Rebilitation Services (VRS), a program of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), provides quality individualized services to enhance and support people with disabilities to prepare for, obtain or retain employment. Through active participation in their rehabilitation, people with disabilities achieve a greater level of independence in their work place and living environments. A student with a disability should apply to VRS during the spring of the junior year of high school. Click here for more information on how to apply.
10. What are the different diploma options available to students with disabilities?
All diploma options available to non-disabled students are available to disabled students as long as they meet all of the requirements. To view Indiana diploma options please click here. For further assistance request a meeting with your high school guidance counselor.
Other Interventions Available
Special education isn't the only way to assist a student who is struggling in school. Some students are just experiencing delays in learning or have missed some instruction and can get back on track with their same grade peers.
Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
Students who are delayed or missing instruction in a particular area of academics or social and emotional learning can receive interventions through our three tiered system of supports process.
In Tier I - universal supports are provided to all students such as classroom curriculum in reading, writing, and math, social and emotional learning lessons, classroom management systems and school-wide positive behavior supports. When these universal supports are not enough, teachers can do some interventions themself, and then refer the student to Tier II if no progress is made.
In Tier II - small group targeted interventions are provided and progress is monitored until the student has mastered the skill. This could be academic or behavioral. This is provided in addition to the Tier I supports the student continues to receive. If a student still does not make progress in Tier II, then the MTSS team will refer the student to Tier III.
In Tier III - individual targeted or more intense intervention is provided in addition to the Tier I and Tier II interventions. Hopefully this closes the gap and the student can go back to Tier II, but if not, a referral is made to special education to determine if a disability is present.
The MTSS process is backed by research and ensures that students without disabilities are provided with help to get back on track with their grade level peers, and that students who are not successful with the process are found eligible for an IEP so they have access to specially designed instruction. The process is a win-win for all involved.
Parent Advisory Council
The Director of Special Education meets with the MCS Special Education Parent Advisory Council. (SEPAC) at least once per quarter to hear parent voices on a range of special education topics. If you would like to. be a part of this council and have a student with a disability at MCS, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are unable to be on the council but would like to submit any comments or concerns to the Director, please email her at the same address above. All parent voices are welcome and the Director is willing to meet. with any parent to discuss questions or concerns.
High Ability Education
Indiana’s Definition of High Ability:
A High Ability student is one who performs at or shows the potential for an outstanding level of accomplishment in at least one academic area when compared to others of the same age, experience or environment. A High Ability student is also characterized by exceptional gifts, talents or motivation.
Categories of Eligibility:
MCS identifies students as high ability or the potential to be high achieving in the following areas:
- English/Language Arts
- General Intellectual - both Math and E/LA
"Our daughter loves the High Ability program at EWA. I can tell she is excited to learn and share what she's learning. She has been challenged but also receives plenty of support. It's been amazing to see how much she has grown academically in just a couple of years. The communication between the school and parents has been a great help to us in supporting her learning."
-Emily Skoglund, Parent
"The High Ability program has been a great learning environment for our children. The teachers have built a culture among the students of celebrating one another and enjoying the learning process. Our children want to go to school and want to keep learning when they come home and that will go a long way in developing a lifelong joy of learning and discovery."
-Josh & Whitney Holowell, Parents
- Programs and Services
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Guidance and Counseling
- Program Evaluation
High Ability Identification - How does that work?
The biggest question our office receives is about how a student can qualify for high ability services. Most are surprised to hear that Indiana defines “high ability” as a student who has outstanding achievement OR the potential to have outstanding achievement. This is the reason we have three different data points we use to determine if a student is eligible. You can qualify any one of these ways--or two of them, or all three. But you don’t have to qualify all three or even two ways. One way can give a student the opportunity to participate.
CogAT Testing - each year the district plan requires universal screening in grades K, 2, and 5 using the Cognitive Abilities Test. This does not measure achievement (math and reading), it measures their academic potential (verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and nonverbal reasoning). Any student who scores at the 75th percentile or higher on this screening tool is recommended to take the posttest to obtain a full CogAT score. Students who score well on CogAT, usually 115 or higher, make it into the program.
i-Ready Formative Assessments - every student takes i-Ready three times per year in grades K-8. We use their percentile scores as a measure of achievement. Students who score well on i-Ready are eligible for the program. We take the highest students from each grade level using local norms. So there is no one cut off score across the board. Every grade level could be different.
Teacher Recommendation Grids - this is a qualitative data piece used to help us find students who may not test very well, but who are doing well in school as far as achievement or potential. Each teacher at MCS fills out a grid and is able to recommend new students to the eligibility committee. All recommended students are added to a spreadsheet with their i-Ready scores and CogAT testing (if they took the posttest). Teachers indicate what qualities the student possesses that are high ability in nature and a narrative about their recommendation is also welcome.
The eligibility committee reviews all of the data and determines the final lists. Letters are sent home to families indicating eligibility. A student can be eligible for math, reading, or both (we call that general intellectual).
The biggest idea to remember is that students may qualify in different ways. This adds to the diversity of the program and encourages students to have a growth mindset. It also helps us remember as educators and parents that not all high ability students are high achievers and not all high ability students are technically gifted (130+ on CogAT). And that is okay. The MCS high ability program is about opportunity, not status. It is about growth and meeting students with the right amount of challenge to meet their individual needs, not about a race to be the best. It is about opening their minds to new possibilities for themselves, knowing themselves as learners, and developing their interests. It is about taking them beyond general education standards to grow in those skills that are so important for employability (teamwork, communication, and collaboration) and for living your best life.
For a look at the full, more detailed identification plan click here.
Programs and Services
Elementary Level - East Washington Academy houses the High Ability Program
Early entrance to kindergarten will be considered on an individual basis by a child study team if requested by a parent and the child will be 5 years old by Dec 1.
Grade skipping will be considered on an individual basis by a child study team if requested by a parent, recommended by the classroom teacher, AND if the student’s achievement data is more than two grade levels above his current grade level in both math and language arts.
Kindergarten-Grade 5: students eligible for high ability services will be served in a separate high ability classroom and core subjects will be differentiated for their needs. Curriculum will be advanced and accelerated. Students are expected to maintain a high level of work ethic and to exhibit high achievement growth. Qualifying for services in kindergarten does not guarantee eligibility for all of elementary school. Data will be examined each year and new testing done in K, 2, and 5. Parents who decline programming when offered may not be admitted again until the next testing year.
Middle School Level
Grades 6-8—Students identified as high ability in the general intellectual domain are placed in an advanced course for humanities (Language Arts, Reading, and Social Studies), mathematics, and science. Students who are only high ability in the language arts domain are scheduled in the advanced humanities courses for middle school. Students who are only high ability in the math domain are scheduled in the advanced math course.
7th graders may take Pre-Algebra; an option is available for honors choir or band
8th graders who passed Pre-Algebra with a B or higher may take Algebra I for high school credit; credits are also possible in Spanish I and College and Careers; an option is available for honors choir or band
High School Level
In grades 9-12, students who are identified as high ability will be encouraged to take honors, Advanced Placement, and dual credit courses each semester.
Teachers will recommend students for placement in honors and can also recommend dismissal for poor performance.
High ability students must be enrolled in at least one honors, AP, or dual credit course to maintain their high ability status.
Any student may enroll in AP or dual credit with permission from guidance.
Early College--students who apply for the early college program in 8th grade may earn a one year certificate or two year degree from Ivy Tech that transfers to state schools.
Curriculum and Instruction
Indiana mandates that high ability students be given access to enriched and accelerated replacement curriculum in the areas of English/Language Arts and Mathematics. Because high ability students are at many different instructional levels, students in high ability classes need differentiation in content, processes, and products.
High ability curriculum is qualitatively different in all aspects:
In Muncie Community Schools we expect not just growth of our students, but high growth. Where a typical student would be expected to grow one grade equivalency each school year, Muncie expects 1.5 years of growth. In order to do this, high ability teachers compact the curriculum wherever possible and much of the school day is spent on learning that is individualized for that student’s needs. Workshop approaches to learning are the norm in a high ability classroom. Whole group instruction is still present, but cannot be the main method of content delivery due to the variety of different levels even amongst high ability students. For this reason, high ability students must demonstrate good work ethic and the ability to self-monitor to get the most out of high ability classes. Students who lack skill in these two areas will need intervention in order to achieve success.
Considerable time and resources were spent in carefully choosing the curriculum materials for high ability student use in Muncie. This link lists the curriculum materials used to teach our students and links to websites for further exploration. This is a living document that will be updated annually as we reevaluate the program and the materials we use.
Guidance and Counseling
Muncie Community Schools recognizes that each child, regardless of ability, has his/her own affective characteristics that lead to their unique social and emotional needs. Children with high abilities, however, may have additional affective needs resulting from their increased capacity to think beyond their years, greater intensity in response, combinations of unique interests, personality characteristics, and conflicts that are different from those of their age level peers.
Muncie Community Schools is committed to providing a systematic and differentiated approach to school counseling services offered in all grades, K-12. In providing a proactive approach, we strive to facilitate our high abilities students’ social adjustment and promote development of their high potential.
Elementary Level: K-5
School staff, including the school counselor, teachers and administrators participate in ongoing professional development focused on the social-emotional needs of gifted students.
- Classroom Lessons: All high ability classrooms receive weekly SEL lessons provided by the classroom teachers, as well as monthly lessons provided by the school counselor. Topics of these lessons address common social/emotional issues faced by high ability students through books, videos and role play. Ripple Effects, an online SEL program is also available to students for individualized support at home or at school. Topics of classroom lessons include:
- Overexcitabilities: Heightened emotional sensitivity is addressed through lessons on empathy, peace, patience, kindness, and perfectionism.
- Asynchronous Development: Lessons focused on social skills and friendship, with emphasis on handling strong emotions.
- Perfectionism: Classroom lessons in grades 3-5 address testing anxiety, growth mindset and handling disappointment.
- Self-Esteem/Identity: Monthly character themes also cover responsibility, integrity, and confidence building.
Small Group and Individual Counseling:
Small group counseling is offered in grades K-5. Topics include anxiety/worry, friendship, family dynamics.
Individual counseling is available on an as needed basis through self, teacher or parent referral.
After school activities for high ability students include academic groups such a Math Bowl, Science Bowl and Spell Bowl.
Middle School Level: 6-8
School staff, including the school counselor, teachers and administrators participate in ongoing professional development focused on the social-emotional needs of gifted students.
Counseling services, with a focus on high abilities students' unique social-emotional needs, are provided through self, teacher or parent referral. Ripple effects, an online SEL program, is also provided to support individualized needs.
Honors level courses in English, Math, Science and Social Studies are offered for high ability students in grades 6-8. Algebra I and Spanish I are offered in 8th grade with the opportunity to earn high school credit.
The National Junior Honors Society at the middle school level recognizes high ability students’ academic excellence, leadership, character, and service.
Both Northside and Southside Middle School offer a wide variety of after school programs to meet the diverse interests of our high ability students.
High School: 9-12
School staff, including school counselors, teachers and administrators participate in ongoing professional development focused on the social-emotional needs of gifted students. Muncie Challenging coursework, including over 35 Dual Credit and 15 AP courses are offered to allow high ability students to earn college credit. The Early College program provides many high ability students access to higher education courses in a supportive community setting.
Counseling services, with a focus on high abilities students' social-emotional needs, are provided through self, teacher or parent referral. High ability students also work with counselors to develop 4-year plans that focus on maximizing their unique academic and personal potential.
The corporation‘s Broad-Based Planning Committee (BBPC) meets at least one time each school year and determines areas for focus, improvement, and/or growth. The BBPC may appoint subcommittees with the approval of the Director of High Ability Education to work on grants or projects for the improvement of the high ability program. Broad-Based Planning Committee Members may recommend short term and long term program adjustments for the Muncie Community Schools High Ability Program.
Annually, district-wide data will be collected and made public concerning the following:
- The percentage of students taking AP classes at MCS who scored a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam
- The percentage of seniors graduating with an Academic Honors Diploma
- The number of identified High Ability Students in Muncie Community Schools who are receiving High Ability Services
At least once every seven years, Muncie Community Schools will invite an outside expert to analyze the effectiveness of the High Ability Program (or one aspect of the High Ability Program). Those results will be shared with the BBPC and school board with an implementation plan for improvements. Internal program evaluation will happen annually by the Director of High Ability Education with results shared with the members of the BBPC.
Broad-Based Planning Committee—
Dea Young, Director of Elementary Education
Jenny Smithson, Director Special Education and High Ability Education
Sarah Anglin, Principal at East Washington Academy
Chris Walker, Principal at Muncie Central High School
Eric Grim, Principal NMS
Mike Raters, Principal SMS
Zachary Schafer, Guidance Counselor MCHS
Cindy Miller, EWA Interventionist
Courtney Williams EWA ELP Teacher
Sarah Finn, EWA ELP Teacher
Allison Carty, Honors Teacher NMS
Sherri Dyer, Honors Teacher SMS
Andrew Wood, AP/Dual Credit Teacher
Jim Williams, School Board Member
Elizabeth Jared, Parent MCHS
Christina Smith, Parent EWA
Krista Stith, Director, Center for Gifted Studies and Talent Development, BSU
Dr. Rachel Geesa, Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership, BSU
Ben Smith, Community Member (local CPA)
Kelsey Pavelka, Community Member and BSU PDS Liaison for EWA
Social and Emotional Learning
Students’ cognitive development and academic learning are strongly linked to social and emotional development. Over two decades of research reveals the positive effects of students’ SEL:
• Increased academic performance
• Improved classroom behaviors
• Increased ability to manage stress and depression
• A better attitude about self
Students who participate in SEL programming experience improved academic performance, conduct, and emotional wellbeing for at least 18 years after the experience. Those students are also less likely to reside in public housing, receive public assistance, and participate in criminal activity as adults. MCS has SEL programming for all grade levels, PreK–12, in five core skill areas: self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationships, decision-making as determined by the research from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning—CASEL.
Examples of self-awareness: understanding and identifying your feelings, strengths, and areas of challenge, identifying your own values and how those values influence your behavior
Examples of self management: expressing your feelings, needs, and challenges in socially appropriate ways; soft skills like time management, prioritizing, handling stress, managing your emotions in healthy ways, goal setting and moving toward reaching your goals
Examples of social awareness: understanding perspective taking and empathy, unwritten social cues and rules of behavior, knowing who is a friend and who is not a good influence, recognizing peer pressure and being assertive, recognizing and defining bullying and harassment, consequences of negative social behavior
Examples of relationships: making and keeping friends, seeking help or offering help to others, recognizing and standing up for others being bullied or harassed, conflict management, listening to others, communicating clearly, cooperation/teamwork
Examples of decision making: Using your knowledge of other SEL skills to inform responsible decision making in daily routines and life inside and outside of school; advocating in appropriate ways for your own needs or for a cause you believe in; taking ethics into account when making decisions; keeping yourself and other safe when making decisions
Links on this website to meta-analysis research on SEL.
McKinney-Vento (Homeless Assistance)
The Principal for each school is the liaison for The McKinney-Vento Program. Use the link below to send a message to your liaison.
One of the most important things parents can do for their children is prepare them for kindergarten by age 5. Statistically, those students are 17% more likely to graduate high school and four times more likely to graduate from college, which is why it is one of the five pillars of focus in our Strategic Plan.
To learn more about the MCS preschool program and submit an application, please click here.
Title I is a federal grant that provides financial assistance to local educational agencies and schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families. Its purpose is to provide all children a fair, equal and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education. For more information, please click the link below or contact MCS Director of Elementary Education Dr. Dea Bell at email@example.com
Dual Language Immersion Program
El Programa de Inmersión en Lengua Dual (ILD) de las Escuelas Comunitarias de Muncie (ECM) educa a los estudiantes bilingües emergentes para alcanzar la excelencia académica en español e inglés. Desarrolla las competencias interculturales necesarias para tener éxito en una sociedad multicultural y en una economía global.
- Memoria de trabajo mejorada y intervalo de atención
- Mejores habilidades para resolver problemas
- Habilidades de alfabetización más sólidas
- Habilidades de comunicación mejoradas
- El futuro aumentó las oportunidades de becas y la empleabilidad
The Dual Language Immersion program at West View Elementary is an in-depth English-Spanish curriculum that begins in kindergarten, enabling students to develop proficiency in both languages. It's proven to strengthen academic achievement and cultivate an understanding and appreciation of different cultures. Other benefits include:
- Improved working memory and attention span
- Better problem-solving skills
- Stronger literacy skills
- Improved communication skills
- Future increased scholarship opportunities and employability
"My daughter is a high achiever and I credit the Dual Language Immersion program for instilling these basics to make learning more fun and interesting."
- Monique Mitchell, parent
"I highly recommend the program to anyone... watching them learn to process and translate at such an early age is amazing."
- Gisela Hernandez, parent
Folleto de inmersión en lengua (español)
English Language Learners
The English as a New Language (ENL) program at Muncie Community Schools serves students whose first (or primary) language is not English. These students are often called English Learners (EL). There are over 15 different languages represented among our K-12 student body.
Goals of ENL Education
The Muncie Community Schools EL program is committed to the educational advancement of its ENL students both academically and socially in English, while honoring their rich heritage of language and culture. Specifically, our goals include:
- To teach English for specific academic purposes so language can be applied to academic contexts to maximize student achievement.
- To provide opportunities for students to grow socially through their home school and community.
- To enable students to construct meaning through appropriate instructional strategies.
- To provide administrators, teachers and staff with innovative professional development to maximize student achievement.
The Muncie Community Schools supports the EL students’ instructional and family communication needs. All staff are trained specifically to help students acquire English while they learn other subjects such as reading, science and math.
For more information: Contact Kelsey Pavelka, MCS Director of English Learners, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (765) 747-5290.
Ingles bilang isang Bagong Wika
Inglés como nuevo idioma
Some students who have a medical diagnosis from a medical professional may receive reasonable accommodations in the school setting as a civil right.
This is called a 504 Plan. This is a general education plan which requires the school to provide accommodations for their medical need, so they can access their educational program. 504 plans can be temporary or used each year until graduation and into college.
Talk to the principal of the school if you believe your child needs a 504 plan. You will need to provide the medical information/diagnosis from the doctor and then the school team will meet with you to determine if your child is eligible and to create a plan to provide accommodations.
The district 504 Compliance Officer and Coordinator is Jenny Smithson, Director of Special Education. Email Jenny (email@example.com) with any concerns about your child's 504 plan or 504 evaluation.