Operation Education: Assessing the Empowerment Zone after its first year

The South Bend Empowerment Zone’s first year has come to a close. Zone leaders are now evaluating what was accomplished, and what’s left to be done. 

The Empowerment Zone consists of five chronically underperforming schools — Navarre Middle School, and its four feeder elementary schools.

This is the first of five years for the Empowerment Zone.

One teacher who came from Fort Wayne says she had heard about low test scores, a transient student and teacher population, and inconsistent leadership. But after this year, she’s decided to stay because she sees the right ingredients for change.

Reporter Tolly Taylor asked Zone Chief Cheryl Camacho what letter grade she’d give the Zone after Year 1.

“I’m going to give us an A-plus for boldness and for remaining student and family-centered,” said Camacho.

Cheryl Camacho is finishing up her first year as the South Bend Empowerment Zone chief. But when she talks about changing the zone’s schools, it seems like she’s been there much longer.