Kelsey Pavelka reads with students in her class April 16, 2021, in West View Elementary School. Pavelka is a teacher in the Dual Language Immersion Program, which teaches students Spanish and English simultaneously to foster early language development. Andy Klotz, Photo Provided

West View Elementary School teaches students English and Spanish at the same time

Vibrant colors of orange, yellow, green and red cover the walls from floor to ceiling in forms of flags, posters and papel picados. Cubbies line the walls and desks are spread out like a typical elementary school classroom, but, sticking true to the program, there are hardly any English words displayed. Instead, they are replaced by a buzz of activity from the teacher reading in Spanish to the excited chatter of the students. This is what it’s like to walk into Kelsey Pavelka’s elementary dual language immersion classroom.


Rhonda Ward, MCS director of diversity and assistant principal at Muncie Central High School takes a phone call in her office April 14, 2021, at Muncie Central High School. Ward was born and raised in Muncie and found herself moving back after graduating from Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Jacob Musselman, DN

Rhonda Ward makes strides in promoting diversity in Muncie Community Schools

At the bottom of every email she sends, Rhonda Ward closes with a quote from Vice President Kamala Harris: “Our unity is our strength, and diversity is our power.” As assistant principal of Muncie Central High School and Muncie Community Schools’ (MCS) newest director of diversity, Ward starts every day with the power of diversity pushing her forward and the goal to ensure equality and equity for all MCS community members. 


Catherine, a third-grade student at East Washington Academy, uses her laptop to learn about thermometers during her class April 19, 2021. The High Ability Program teaches an advanced curriculum to gifted learners in a separate classroom from the general education population for the whole school day. Jaden Whiteman, DN

Muncie Community Schools staff members discuss a unique program for gifted students

When Cindy Miller’s son, David Miller, was in kindergarten, she took him to the Levi Coffin House in Fountain City, Indiana, to learn more about the Underground Railroad and its history in Indiana. In school activities, David Miller, now 10 years old, participates in math bowls and writing camps as a student in Muncie Community Schools’ (MCS) High Ability Program.


Junior quarterback Max Pittman (17) hands the ball off in the second half of the Muncie Central homecoming football game Sept. 20, 2019. Muncie Community Schools outlined its phased plan to bring back its athletics during the fall 2020 semester. Paul Kihn, DN

Here’s how athletics will return for Muncie Community Schools

At the Muncie Community Schools (MCS) board meeting Tuesday, Muncie Central High School Principal Chris Walker, and athletic director, Tom Lyon announced the return of athletics in the school district and how it would happen. The plan will occur in three phases beginning July 6.


Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, Director of Public Education and CEO of Muncie Community Schools (MCS) sits at her desk Jan. 22, 2020, in the MCS Administration Office and Area Career Center. She has worked at the schools for almost 10 months and has previously worked in teaching, administrative and state-level positions. Jake Helmen, DN

MCS addresses issues of diversity, inclusion and racism

In the wake of the recent death of George Floyd, Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, director of public education and CEO of Muncie Community Schools (MCS), sent out a statement Monday about Muncie Community Schools' plan to address issues of diversity, inclusion and racism in the school district.


Sean White, student assistant coordinator, poses with his wife, Heidi, and his husky, Nanuk, May 14, 2019, at the "Bark in the Park" event for the Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs game. White said he calls Nanuk "Nana," and she is enjoying the extra attention she is getting because he is home due to COVID-19 concerns. Sean White, Photo Provided

Looking past the label

Every morning, Sean White sips his third cup of coffee while greeting students with encouragement as they file into the halls of South View Elementary in Muncie.


Peers become Pals

Most special education teachers spend their days helping students learn core subjects; however, recent studies have shown that students with disabilities often have lower confidence and self-esteem because it can be hard for them to “view their disability as one component of their lives, not the only component.”


Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, director of public education and CEO of Muncie Community Schools (MCS), speaks with the Student Advisory Board Jan. 22, 2020, at Muncie Central High School. Kwiatkowski said she makes a point to speak with a variety of stakeholders throughout MCS and the Muncie community to make sure she is serving the schools in every way she can. Jake Helmen, DN

Can do, we'll do — together.

“Help me understand that more.” Five simple words that reveal the character of the person making the request. Genuine vulnerability, leadership, humility and confidence are conveyed to those on the receiving end.  It’s a request for insight Lee Ann Kwiatkowski makes of almost every individual she meets — community members, administrators, teachers and students alike. 








Digital Issue