An Open Dialogue About Our Schools

by Nick Molnar on October 12, 2006

Schools are important. Families choose where to live based on jobs and schools, and later choose a house based on a host of other criteria such as price. I work with many people relocating their families to the South Bend Area and hear many questions about the school districts. They sometimes have encountered news articles that detail discipline problems and graduation rates or heard statements from their colleagues like “Don’t send your kids to Penn if they want to play sports.”

My standard advice is for families to visit schools and make their own determination of where they want their children educated. However this is often impractical or impossible and the families finally make their decision based on the advice they receive, true or not.

Because many people researching the South Bend Area for a potential move find this Web-site I’d like to encourage dialogue between transplanted families and the schools. I’ve sent a letter to every principal, assistant principal and associate principal of every high school in the South Bend, Mishawaka and Penn-Harris-Madison School Districts, as well as to the private high schools St. Joe and Marian. These are busy people but they are overwhelmingly responsive and dedicated. I hope to hear from many of them in the coming weeks and pledge to post their responses intact and in full on this site.

Click here to view every education tagged article in the blog and here for links to maps and statistics of area schools. If you have any questions for the schools, you can make a comment or e-mail me at and I will include it in the discussion.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kerry April 9, 2008 at 1:22 am

A lot of people put down South Bend Schools because of test scores, perceived violence, etc. A lot of these people have also not had any contact with the South Bend School for years if ever. My advice to you (as a teacher in a private South Bend school) is DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR!! If you have a child who is doing well in school, involved in extra-curricular activities and you value diversity, then by all means, send your kids to South Bend Schools. I graduated from Washington High School, and can tell you that the education I received was second to none. I graduated from Saint Joseph’s College (ranked #17 in Money magazine’s college ratings) with honors, and I believe with all of my heart that my academic success comes straight from the education I received in the SBCSC. Besides the academic aspects of the overall learning environment, I also learned to deal with people of many different races, cultures, religions and orientations. This has proved invaluable in my adult life, as I realized early on that the world isn’t made up of people just like me and my family. I never had a problem getting answers to my questions, I never felt unsafe and I always felt like my needs were being met. I’m not telling anyone to avoid Mishawaka, PHM, etc. I’m just saying that statistics don’t necessarily do our local school system justice. Test scores are on the rise. The magnet programs are proving to be quite successful, and morale in the school corp. is increasing. Don’t judge a book by its cover and give South Bend Schools a chance.


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