Home / Bear Tracks Newsletter / December Newsletter 2018 Volume 7 Issue 4


Emma Donna’s History. The Journey to Greatness Starts Here!

Emma Donnan, affectionately known to the south side community of Indiana as school 72, has been an important staple in the area for years. Though facts about the woman behind the name are hard to come by, what we do know is that Emma Donnan was such a beloved teacher for the Indianapolis Public School system in the early to mid-1900s, that this school would be named in her honor.

As the educational home and springboard to thousands young and old, many re-call with fond memories, their own years of attending the aptly named school. As an institution, Emma Donnan, like many of those who’d walked its halls, would deal with its own share of ups and downs, successes and failures. In the early 2000s, the Indiana Department of Education began giving schools accountability grades. Donnan, along with several other schools, would see its progress habitually stalled, remaining on the department’s failed list for years to come.

With years of no progress and a low achievement reputation to boot, the state would intervene in 2011, allowing control of Emma Donnan to be managed by Charter Schools USA, an educational management company based out of Florida. The first task for the 2012 – 2013 school year would be to create a new and positive culture for students, parents, and staff, while simultaneously gaining the support of the community for this new “Turn-around Academy”.

It wasn’t easy. There would quickly become a realization both in and outside of the school of how difficult it would continue to be in improving the academic performance of our students, when each year, over 50% of our student body was adversely altered due to circumstances beyond our control. We’d need a direct feeder in order to effect real change. With that in mind, Emma Donnan entered into an innovative contract with IPS that allowed Donnan to operate 2 schools in one building.

The fall of the 2015-16 school year would usher in a new era as Emma Donnan Elementary opened, operating on the first floor of Emma Donnan and moving the Middle School to the second. It was the firm belief of CSUSA leaders Jon and Sherry Hage that our students’ academic growth would
be able to climb if we were able to reach our students earlier, teaching them our curriculum in elementary and guiding their steps through consistency as they made their way up the scholastic ladder.

After years of hard work and dedication from our staff, parents, students, community, and the leadership of CSUSA, we’re happy to announce that Emma Donnan Middle school has now been removed from the state’s failing list, (the first time in over a decade) receiving a letter grade of “C” for the 2017-18 school year. Not only that, but Emma Donnan Elementary School has added to its own success, receiving its second consecutive “A”. We’re not done yet!

With continued support from our parents, students, staff and community, alongside the leadership of CSUSA, we plan to continue to re-write the history of Emma Donnan

Read the rest of the newsletter: 122018newsletter (pdf) and Newsletter_insert2018 (pdf)



Share This