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8/21/2017 10:59:00 AM
Elkhart schools rethinks its delivery model; from two high schools to one
Elkhart Memorial High School will eventually become the city’s primary high school serving grades 10 through 12. Elkhart Central High School will be converted into a freshman campus. Staff File Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES
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Elkhart Memorial High School will eventually become the city’s primary high school serving grades 10 through 12. Elkhart Central High School will be converted into a freshman campus. Staff File Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES

Marshall V. King, South Bend Tribune Columnist

ELKHART — Superintendent Rob Haworth isn’t interesting in business as usual at Elkhart Community Schools.

As the school year begins for around 13,000 students, Haworth is leading a school system on its way to somewhere new.

Within a few years, ECS is likely to have one high school rather than two. Students will go to elementary schools for kindergarten through fifth grade, middle schools for grades six to eight, and then to a freshman campus at what is now Elkhart Central High School. The single high school for grades 10 to 12 would be where Memorial High School is now.

The school system is planning to focus on workforce readiness, pathways to careers and the “soft skills” employers want from a new generation.

Since Elkhart High School was divided in 1972 into Central and Memorial, some in the community have continued to discuss the good old days and play the what if game. What if EHS had remained and could take down Penn High School in football? What if Elkhart Central hadn’t been allowed to keep the EHS Blue Blazer mascot?

History matters, but in Elkhart what matters these days is how the school system competes academically. How a city educates all its children in a way that can help them be successful in a global economy is a question that won’t be answered with models from the 1970s.

Haworth and those around him are working to adopt new models in a five-year strategic plan that will reshape the school system that is in the top 10 percent in the state in terms of size, but not in terms of achievement.

“It is rethinking our delivery model with the needs of students in mind,” he said.

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