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The Crossing Gives Students Second Chance

By Andrea Thomas Published: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 6:10 AM EDT They’ve acquired the go-ahead from local school administrators and have secured a building to facilitate the program. Now, all organizers for the new local alternative school, The Crossing Educational Center, have to do is find at least 25 kids who deserve a second chance. This part should be easy for program executive director Rob Staley and his associates, as they have lists from Clinton Central and Frankfort high schools with the names of hundreds of students who, for whatever reason, have not completed their high school degrees. That’s where The Crossing comes in — it is designed for the students who fall through the cracks in traditional high school settings, the ones who drop out or are expelled, the ones who still have the potential to be successful if engaged in a small and self-paced environment with assistance from state-certified teachers. Staley has made it clear to local administrators that the program does not compete with local schools, nor is it a diploma equivalent, such as the GED. Instead, it is an accredited high school program that partners with local schools — in this case Frankfort and Clinton Central — to essentially offer students a $6,000 scholarship (paid for by students’ former schools, who are reimbursed by the state) to give learning another try. The faith-based, year-round program already is successful in other state regions and, as long as Crossing teachers can locate at least 25 motivated students, will begin here in Frankfort on July 27. These students will be taught beginning at the level where they last left off in their schooling, and their curriculum will include social, emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions. They will also be able to participate in classes for hands-on trades, which Staley says contributes to student success. For example, 93 percent of the program’s 107 graduates have passed the ISTEP test. The school will be located at the former Christian Heritage School on State Road 28 East, 3002 E. Wabash St. “We’re excited about that,” said Crossing community board member Eric Spencer, who also serves as the director of the Clinton County Community Corrections Program. As the director, Spencer is involved with many juvenile and adult clients who are no longer in school or pursuing educational opportunities. “I see it daily,” he said. “There’s a real need for people to get an education, so when I learned about The Crossing Educational Centers and saw the approach they take, I got very excited about the program. It’s not watered down; the expectations are high and they provide support for students to be able to do well and meet those expectations.” The board members, who are charged primarily with fundraising to meet the needs of enrichment programs not funded by the state, will hold a garage sale at the school on June 27. Any community members can donate items that will be sold at the garage sale, Spencer said, and the money will go toward the alternative school. Drop off dates and times are as follows: June 9 — 6 to 8 p.m. June 11 — 6 to 8 p.m. June 13 — 8 a.m. to noon June 16 — 6 to 8 p.m. June 18 — 6 to 8 p.m. June 20 — 8 a.m. to noon (with a pickup service available for individuals unable to deliver items to the school) Anyone who is interested in sponsoring a student, volunteering or making a donation to the school is encouraged to call Spencer at 765-659-2966. For more information about the program, visit]]>