Harding H.S. Receives Failing Grade

By John W. Davis

April 21, 2011 Updated Oct 21, 2013 at 10:03 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - "There was not a plan in place to improve Paul Harding High School," revealed an Indiana Department of Education progress report.

The Indiana Department of Education gave Harding High School a failing grade, during a follow-up visit because of the school academic probation status.

The IDOE contracted the Cambridge group to visit Harding in 2009, where an in-depth report full of educational suggestions where given to the East Allen County Schools district.

"The lost opportunity to be able to make improvements," commented Indiana Department of Education Director of School Turnaround Lee Ann Kwiatkowski.

"When I go into schools and I see great kids and then I also talked to some teachers that had quite a bit of passion for the work their doing," continued Kwiatkowski, in a 15 minute phone interview with Indiana's NewsCenter on Thursday afternoon.

"But there weren't systems in place. We didn't see the high expectations for the students. When you go in and you just see that the students are not receiving the best education that would be possible for them, that's disappointing," concluded Kwiatkowski.


The following are direct excerpts from the Indiana Department of Education Report, concerning the follow-up visit that was made to Paul Harding High School on January 14, 2011.

Areas of Concern

"New administrative staff appears to have taken steps backwards... District said smart boards were still boxed up and waiting to be installed where there was a snow day. Minimal technology is available in classrooms."

Walkthroughs and evaluations

"Even though the principal said that he was in classrooms regularly, teachers said he might pop in for a few minutes. There is no formal walk-through form or feedback to the teachers. The district reported observing classrooms. Again, teachers either did not remember any district staff being the classrooms or any feedback."

Quality of Instruction

"Many students seemed disinterested in the lessons being provided, and differentiated instruction was not observed. In some classes, teachers were disengaged from the students, sitting at their desks grading papers or reading while students worked alone for quite a long period of time.

Student achievement

"Most knew how they were doing in classes based on the on-line grade system. However, many students said that teachers do not return assignments very quickly and they do not know how to improve their work."


Meanwhile, North Side High School and South Side High School, which are in the Fort Wayne Community Schools district received positive feedback and excitement from state officials, during their January 2011 visits.

Kwiatkowski said FWCS received the glowing report because they held their principals accountable.

FWCS also negotiated with their teachers union, to make curriculum changes, including the introduction of project based group learning, instead of the teacher-based lecture style learning found at Harding High School.

The decision to close Harding for the 2011-2012 school year, was made by the East Allen County School Board in October 2010.

So the question remains, what has the district done to increase student achievement at Harding High School, since it was announced the school was closing?

Indiana's NewsCenter has tried to answer that question for the past two days, by calling and leaving voice mail messages with the East Allen County Schools administrative office.

As of Thursday .April 21, no one from the East Allen County Schools district has returned our calls.

If you would like to read the full Indiana Department of Education Reports for Harding H.S., North Side H.S. and South Side H.S., visit the related content section of this story.

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