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Allen County Schools Look to Crossing for Help With Troubled and At-risk Students

By June 14, 2009No Comments

Published: 6/14/2009 12:00:00 AM in Elkhart Truth FORT WAYNE — An Allen County school district is turning to a private, faith-based school to help troubled students who have been incarcerated, expelled or dropped out of school. Last year, more than 700 students from East Allen County Schools were either dropouts or had an unknown graduation status. Beginning this fall, some of them will be attending the state-accredited Crossing Educational Center. The private school was approved by the EACS school board in April, and Rob Staley, executive director of the Crossing, has already begun recruiting students and is looking for a school facility in the New Haven area. Staley said the school works hand-in-hand with public schools in the communities it serves. EACS board president Stephen Terry said he and others hopes the district’s Crossing school can produce the same results that’s been seen in other northern Indiana districts that also have Crossing schools. In Elkhart alone, the Crossing has helped cut the district’s dropout rate by 45 percent. “In a traditional classroom setting, it just didn’t work. Now, we have a nontraditional method where we do life first,” Terry said. “I believe we’re going to give more people in the community a second chance at life.” The Crossing takes 25 students at a time — whether in separate sessions or separate classes — and teaches them academics, character development, leadership and career development. For a half-hour each day, the students discuss life issues, such as the death of a parent or other things the students might be facing. “We literally say we do life first and then school,” Staley said. The Crossing program began with five students in Elkhart in 2003. By next year, it will have grown to 350 students at eight campuses in 11 Indiana school districts, Staley said. Schools in East Allen and Frankfort will be the latest additions to the Crossing chain, but Staley hopes to expand to Fort Wayne, as well. —- View Elkhart Truth Article: Click Here]]>