School News

News for Marion High School

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News After a short but incredibly successful tenure at the helm of Marion High School, Principal Lennon Brown is retiring — again.
He will remain at the helm at MHS through December, which will provide Marion Community Schools flexibility in the hiring and transition process.
“When the dust settles and I reflect on the 41.5 years of my career, Marion will definitely rise to the top, for my stay here was the most challenging and rewarding years of my administrative career,” Brown said.

Marion High School Principal Lennon Brown speaks during commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2013 on May 8, 2013, in Bill Green Arena. (Marion Community Schools photo)
Brown took the lead at MHS on an interim basis in 2010, at the request of longtime colleague and friend Steve Edwards, who had recently taken over as superintendent of Marion Community Schools.
Brown had retired from Anderson Community Schools as assistant superintendent in 2009, but was immediately called back into service there as interim superintendent. When that interim position ended, Brown returned to retirement. But after repeated requests from Edwards, he agreed to take the lead at MHS to help execute a plan to get Marion High School off of probation and out of danger of state takeover.
“Most administrators would have graciously declined coming here after studying the data and the looming threat of state action. For me it was the ‘perfect storm,’” Brown said. “In reality, I may have needed Marion more than Marion needed me.”
Though it was to be a short-term interim position, Brown later agreed to stay on for subsequent years because of the changes he saw happening.
“The more I thought about it, the more I like where I am,” he told the Chronicle-Tribune in 2011. “ … I look at where we are, and I think about where we could be. There’s a lot of great things going on in (Marion High School).” 
Under Brown’s leadership, MHS has risen quickly, from a school labeled as failing for years, to an Indiana Department of Education honor roll school, graded a “B” for the 2012-13 school year, and a bronze medal winner in U.S. News and World Report's 2014 Best High Schools nationwide rankings. Though Brown and Edwards led the charge, both never hesitated to give credit to the students, teachers, staff, and community who made the changes possible.
“I have had the privilege of working with students, teachers, community members and administrators that wanted positive change. They were also willing to do whatever it took to bring about this reality,” Brown said.
The successful turnaround has made MHS a beacon for change, with leaders from other schools in the region turning to MHS and MCS leadership to glean strategies and practices that could help solidify their own success story.
And Brown, along with Edwards, was awarded a Sagamore of the Wabash — the highest honor bestowed by the governor of Indiana — in May 2013, in acknowledgment of the successful turnaround effort.
But as Brown is so often heard to say, “A good school can be better. A better school can be great.”
So when Edwards retired after the 2012-13 school year, Brown opted to stay on for another year.
“Mr. Brown has played an essential role even beyond serving as our outstanding high school principal,” said Superintendent Brad Lindsay, who took over at MCS in July 2013 after Edwards’ retirement. “His high-quality character, integrity, leadership skills, experience, and positive energy have been invaluable not just at our high school, but for our entire school community and the greater community of Marion.”
During Brown’s tenure at MHS, the changes have been remarkable.
“When Mr. Brown arrived, MHS was facing giant challenges,” Lindsay said. “Mr. Brown will be leaving MHS a national premiere high school, as evidenced by the recent U.S. News and World Report bronze medal award, putting us in the top 27 percent of the nation’s high schools. It’s been an amazing transformation, and we’re looking for more giant things to come in the next seven months of Mr. Brown’s leadership at MHS.”
The foundation is set for continued success at Marion High School. But now, with his wife, a fellow educator, also retiring from Anderson Community Schools, Brown is returning to his plans to begin the next chapter of their lives.
“I make this decision with mixed emotions,” Brown said. “Most people arrive at this point in their career with joy and enthusiasm. I have not yet experienced that feeling. What I do have is the realization that I cannot do this forever. Since no one will kick me out of the nest, I must do so myself. Therefore, I am choosing to join my wife in her soon-to-be retirement.”
As for plans, he said: “I know we will travel, spoil the grandchildren. We may even irritate the children in the process. They will forgive us because we are old,” he said with characteristic mischievousness.
It is with much gratitude and respect that Marion Community Schools will bid farewell to Principal Brown.
The search for the next principal of Marion High School will begin immediately. Brown will play a key role in the transition process.
“Today I am reminded of the Apostle Paul, for I feel that I too have fought the good fight for MHS, I have kept the faith for MHS. However, I did not finish the race, but I now pass the torch,” Brown said. “From a distance, I’ll be watching.”
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News The Second Annual Marion Community Schools Kindness Rally has been rescheduled and will now be a great celebration of the end of a successful school year!


Mark your calendars now! The Kindness Rally will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 22 — the last day of classes for MCS students. All students, families, and anyone in the surrounding community is invited to come join in the fun!

Features will include bounce houses, an obstacle course, dunk tank, food, and more.

Tickets to be used for the carnival attractions will be four for $1, and proceeds will fund continuing anti-bullying efforts throughout the school system. The Marion High School FOR TAXII Club (Friends of Rachel / Teens Against Xtreme Inappropriate Interactions), which helps organize and run the Kindness Rally, will also be selling T-shirts and bracelets as a fundraiser.

Doors will open and ticket sales will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The Chain Reaction Ceremony is set for 6 p.m. The ceremony will feature the first ever Kindness Awards, to be presented to one student at each building who exemplifies the difference kindness can make. Students from each school will also participate in the parade of kindness chains from each school, with each link in the chains representing a kind act noticed this school year.

Marion Community Schools is proud of our students and staff who are starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion and making positive changes in our schools and community. The Kindness Rally will be a great end to the school year; and we hope that students of all ages and their families, along with community members, will come and help us celebrate!
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News All students already in the MHS band (and anyone interested in joining next year), along with their parents, are asked to attend an important informational meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at Marion High School. 

Come out and meet our new Director of Bands, Mr. Huff, and hear about his exciting vision for the future of the MHS marching band!

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News U.S. News and World Report has awarded Marion High School a bronze medal in its rankings of more than 19,000 public high schools across the country. This puts MHS in the top 27 percent of high schools in the country, according to this ranking!

You may be familiar with U.S. News and World Report for its rankings of higher ed institutions (such as Grant County’s own Taylor University, which has been named the No. 1 Midwest University in the category of Best Regional Colleges for seven years straight). The high school rankings released recently use data, primarily state proficiency tests and AP or International Baccalaureate testing, as the main benchmarks to sift out the best high schools in the state and the nation.

“When you think about where we were a few years ago to where we are today, this is honestly fantastic news,” MHS Principal Lennon Brown said. “Going from being in danger of state takeover to being mentioned in a national publication’s list of high-quality schools just a few years later, it’s definitely something worth celebrating.”

The rankings methodology, according to U.S. News, “is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.”

The top 500 high schools in the nation, based on highest college readiness (as reflected by AP / IB test data), were awarded gold medal status. About 1,700 other high schools earned silver medal status. Fewer than 3,000 high schools earned bronze medal status. That means according to this ranking, MHS is in the top 27 percent of high schools in the country.

“It’s a credit to our staff, it’s a credit to our students, it’s a credit to our community,” Brown said. “But we’re not resting on our accomplishments. Good schools can become better. Better schools can become great. That’s what we strive for every day.”

And one recent piece of data does indeed reflect continued improvement: the MHS graduation rate.

Finalized numbers recently certified by the state confirmed what leaders at Marion Community Schools had projected: in 2012-13, the graduation rate jumped again, to more than 95 percent — far higher than the state rate, and higher than three of the four other Grant County high schools.

For the 2012-13 school year, the MHS graduation rate was 95.4 percent. That’s 4.3 percentage points higher than the previous school year’s 91.1 percent rate, and it’s 7.1 percentage points higher than the state’s overall rate, 88.6 percent.  (Mississinewa’s 97.7 rate is the only one higher in the county.)

The number is a reflection of the continued success at Marion High School, now an Indiana Department of Education honor roll school, earning a “B” on the most recent grade card.

“The national recognition in the U.S. News and World Report rankings is really a reflection of the hard work of staff and students, and the support of our community,” said MCS Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Instruction Amy Rauch, also the district’s chief academic officer. “The improvement over recent years at MHS has not happened by accident. It has taken serious, unflinching conversations, tough decisions, intentional action. This ranking reiterates that hard work and dedication is paying off.”

The accolade is one for the entire Marion community to take pride in, MCS Superintendent Brad Lindsay said.

“This is another distinction of excellence for Marion High School!,” he said. “I am thankful to our Marion Community Schools team for growing the extra-mile to meaningfully and productively engage the hearts, minds, behaviors, and habits of each student, each day!" 
Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News Marion Community Schools is pleased to announce the 2014 inductees to the Marion High School Hall of Distinction. The three inductees are giants in the education, finance, and aviation fields.

The MHS Hall of Distinction gives lasting recognition to alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the achievements and prestige of Marion Community Schools. It also serves to help inspire current students to aspire to similar success. To learn more about the Hall of Distinction, including past inductees and how you can submit nominations, click here
>> YOU'RE INVITED! Click here for details about the 2014 MHS Hall of Distinction Induction Ceremony and Banquet