Senior staff writer
Manual pride continues to grow. Under an Indiana Department of Education mandate and pact with Charter Schools USA in 2012, the school shows progress: a grade of a C from the department in 2017; doubling of the graduation rate to 80 percent; higher scores in state tests; increased student participation in extracurricular activities; and more interaction among students with alumni and the community.
“We are witnessing a regeneration of the rich history of this high school,” Principal Misty Ndiritu stated. “Today’s students are bringing back the traditions of Manual.” Among those traditions, Ndiritu pointed out academic success, increased college and workplace readiness, highly competitive athletic teams, a viable music program that is enjoyed by the community and continuation of the highly valued Junior ROTC program that is in its second century.
“Over time, the culture of Emmerich Manual is changing,” she observed. “Wonderful things are happening (because) there is great potential to keep growing and providing for our students.”
Student academic proficiency is the goal of administrators, counselors and teachers. Most students are on the Indiana Core40 track with additional courses leading to an academic honors diploma and technical honors diploma. Manual offers students a variety of college readiness and college credit programs through IUPUI and work-related readiness through Ivy Tech course credit programs.
Those pathways include agricultural sciences, business education, family and consumer sciences, nursing and welding. Students can earn dual credit in English and U.S. history courses. This is the second academic year for an eight-step process of remediation for students having difficulty in math and language arts.
Extracurricular activities are putting more and more students in a favorable spotlight throughout the community, according to Ndiritu. She pointed out the JROTC color guard’s participation at public events, the performances of choral students with the ManualAires and the competitiveness of the football, baseball and boys basketball teams. And she emphasized the willingness of students to participate in various sports for the first time.
“Anytime our students are in the community performing, we are showing the great faces of Manual,” Ndiritu said. “They take pride in representing Manual.” She praised the school’s Alumni Association for its support and encouragement of today’s students. Established in 1895, Manual has a great history. The school moved to its present site on Madison Avenue in 1953 from Meridian Street in Downtown. The former site served as Harry E. Wood Vocational Training School through 1978. F
or many decades Manual was the epitome of secondary education on the Southside. However, six consecutive years of an F grade from the Department of Education led to a state takeover with Charter Schools under the guidance of the Noble Education Initiative. The turnaround reached a milestone last year when Manual earned a C. The pact between Charter Schools and the department extends through the 2019-20 academic year.