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Struggling Students Get a Second Chance at Education

By Andrea Thomas Published: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 6:09 AM EDT in Frankfort Times MICHIGANTOWN The list containing the names of students who have dropped out or been expelled from Clinton Central High School since 2005 is four pages long, single-spaced. Oddly enough, the students who are on that list are in luck they are about to be offered a second chance. At a meeting Monday night, the Clinton Central School Board gave its approval for an administrator of an accredited alternative school, The Crossing, to solicit some of these students for his program. It is a curriculum that addresses mental, social, physical and spiritual dimensions of its participants, with a mission to assist struggling individuals in becoming transformed, fulfilled and contributing members of society. The board for the Community Schools of Frankfort already has signed a contract with The Crossing, as it is meant to be a partnership with local public schools and not competition. Basically, the public schools pay students tuition, $6,000 per individual, an amount that later is reimbursed by the state. Clinton Central has decided to partner with Frankfort in the endeavor because, as Superintendent Phil Boley pointed out in Monday nights meeting, there don’t seem to be any drawbacks for the school. This gets right to your heart, Boley said, acknowledging the success stories of students who have been helped by the alternative school. I’m sold I think this is a wonderful program. Right now, the contract is between The Crossing and Frankfort, so any risk being incurred is Frankforts. Well start with a few, maybe get eight and say, Thats enough for now. And if everything goes well, we may contract ourselves. Boley noted Clinton Central does not get as much state support as Frankfort, which would mean that the school would have to spend about $100 for each participant. But $100 is a small investment to make a kid successful, Boley said. Rob Staley, executive director of the program, said public schools benefit as well as the students because they get to claim the statistics of those who graduate and earn high marks. Its a 180-degree change many parents see in their children, and one mother testified as such at Mondays board meeting. Her son, who is in the program, is intelligent, she said, though he doesn’t always perform well in the classroom setting. It’s a story Staley has heard many times. Students come to us without hope,he said. Their parents are in survival mode; they don’t know what to do anymore, they’re just trying to get by… but we get students back on track, so hopefully they can return to your schools and be successful.]]>