On April 1, the Plymouth School Board considered presentations from the Crossing. The Crossing’s Rob Staley, executive director, and Nate Lowe, school development director, outlined the program geared towards students who dropped out of high school for a variety of reasons.
Staley said approximately 40,000 students drop out of Indiana schools every year. Some of the reasons for dropping out include poor grades, attendance, discipline issues, relational concerns, addictions, emotional stability issues, learning disabilities, and problems with the law.
Staley said, “Every kid deserves a second chance at life.” He added, “Our goal at the Crossing is not merely to graduate our students with a diploma, but to transform their lives and turn them into productive members of society.”
According to the representatives of the program, students are guided through a post-secondary track that could include career internships, core academic classes, dual college credits and multiple vocational offerings.
School corporations are asked to allow students to enroll in their high schools; however, the responsibility of their education classes, along with other services, is left to personnel of the Crossing. School corporations would then transfer $5,500 of the state reimbursement to the Crossing. The Crossing staff uses, in part, lists from the schools of students who have dropped out to locate potential enrollees.
If students of the Crossing complete the academic work that is internet based with 80 percent mastery or above, they receive a high school diploma. Additional offerings include business internships that provide for ten-to fifteen hours per week for a ten-week period utilizing mentors, coaches, and work teams. In addition to the paid Crossing staff, volunteers act as mentors and support help.
The Plymouth School Board agreed to guarantee payment for 15 students. Staley said they will have to have at least 35 students county-wide to start the program in the county. Staley and Lowe indicated that they have verbal agreements with Triton, Union-North and Argos School corporations as well. Although a facility has not been finalized as yet to house a Marshall County program, those involved believe that the partnerships will become a reality before the proposed start of classes on August 4. 2014. Classes are offered on a balance school calendar that would run year round.
Staley said, “We want to be the last safety net.”
Carol Anders Correspondent