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Gary, EdisonLearning tout new ‘shared vision’ at Roosevelt

The Gary schools EdisonLearning have reached an agreement operations Roosevelt College Career Academy.  |  File photo

The Gary schools and EdisonLearning have reached an agreement on operations at Roosevelt College and Career Academy. | File photo

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JOINT STATEMENT

ISSUED BY Dr. Cheryl Pruitt Pruitt superintendent, Gary Community School Corp.

THOM JACKSON, president & CEO, EdisonLearning

 

July 24, 2014

 

Over the past two weeks, we have talked by phone and met in person, representing our respective organizations – and agree that we are not just concerned about the nearly 8,000 students we are charged with educating, we want all students to achieve. That’s why we are excited about our new partnership – and the shared vision of academic excellence, compassion, focus and commitment that has brought the Gary Community School Corporation and EdisonLearning to the table.

 

By changing the conversation, we have helped minimize our differing viewpoints, and have provided greater clarity to the respective roles and responsibilities each of our organizations need to carry out specifically for Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy, and for the entire Gary school district.

 

EdisonLearning is in Gary to improve the academic outcomes of the students at Theodore Roosevelt.  The Gary Community School Corporation provides the facility that allows this effort to successfully operate.  However, we stress that these roles are not separate – they are very much linked together.

 

Therefore, we have together resolved the issue relating to the water at Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy, and the water service to the school has been restored.  We will continue to work collaboratively to address other issues.

 

A partnership is seen as the way to become truly outstanding. We believe that the solution to the challenges facing education in Gary today will be found in honest collaboration that can unlock the capacity, innovation and wisdom required to drive schools and students to achieve their utmost potential.

 

Regardless of the various news reports and apart from the debates around the school turnaround efforts taken by the State of Indiana – this is first and foremost about the young people of the Gary community, and their educational journey. We therefore encourage the news media, and the community as a whole, to focus more on the positive academic outcomes of the students in the Gary schools and those at Theodore Roosevelt.

 

For us, it’s about coming together and working together to offer the best educational opportunities available to our children. As such, the conversation changes because we’re in this together. We believe that if one school fails, we’ve all failed our children.

 

 

Updated: August 26, 2014 6:38AM



GARY — Water finally is flowing again at Roosevelt College and Career Academy, and officials attributed the breakthrough to a new “shared vision” between the school district and EdisonLearning Inc.

The two previously bickered in court and in the media over the operation of Roosevelt College and Career Academy, taken over by the state in 2011.

On Thursday, both sides issued a joint press release announcing the new partnership.

“Over the past two weeks, we have talked by phone and met in person, representing our respective organizations — and agree that we are not just concerned about the nearly 8,000 students we are charged with educating, we want all students to achieve,” the statement said.

It added the two entities now have a “shared vision of academic excellence, compassion, focus and commitment.”

EdisonLearning spokesman Michael Serpe said water was turned back on at Roosevelt on Wednesday after a month of arguing over whose responsibility it was to pay the bill. The thaw happened when Gary Community School Corp. Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt and new EdisonLearning owner Thom Jackson started having one-on-one conversations.

Serpe said Jackson, a native of Hamilton, Ohio, is president and CEO of EdisonLearning, the for-profit education management company he purchased in January. Previously, he served as general counsel and chief operating officer.

“As a result of Thom’s ownership, we believe we’re the only minority-owned education service company,” Serpe said.

He said Jackson was in Gary last week and spent two days meeting with Pruitt.

EdisonLearning has battled the school district over routine maintenance issues ever since it began running the school in 2012. Pipes burst last year closing school. Similar problems again arose this past winter, bringing a visit from State Superintendent of Instruction Glenda Ritz.

EdisonLearning was named by the State Board of Education to run Roosevelt after the state removed it from district control after years of poor academic performance.

EdisonLearning receives state tuition support and other grant monies that typically would have gone to the school district.

Serpe said enrollment is picking up for the new school year that begins next month. “The reality is the majority of people in the community would like their children to go to the neighborhood school. That was another motivating factor between Thom Jackson and Dr. Pruitt to get together.” said Serpe.



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