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The Crossing expanding again

SOUTH BEND — At this private, faith-based alternative school, prospective students are virtually never turned down for admission. That’s the mantra of the staff of The Crossing Educational Center, said Rob Staley, executive director. As such, the school, which serves high school dropouts and partners with South Bend schools — among other districts — has seen steadily rising enrollment numbers. Now, two new locations are being added in South Bend, increasing The Crossing’s presence here to four campuses. An “East’ campus is set to open soon at Gospel Center Missionary Church on 30th Street in the River Park area. A campus will also be added at the Juvenile Justice Center for students who are affiliated with the center’s transition program. And, Staley said, a potential location at the new Kroc Center, 900 W. Western Ave., is in the works as well. Campuses, he said, are set up to be located within neighborhoods and to serve smaller groups of young adults than a typical high school. Students who live in South Bend can come to The Crossing in several different ways. South Bend Community School Corp. contracts with the school to serve 62 students, said Sue Coney, spokeswoman for the district. The school board recently voted to amend its contract with The Crossing, allowing the private school to serve 20 additional students at the JJC, she said. South Bend pays The Crossing $5,500 per student. Staley said once those students complete the various graduation requirements, they’ll receive diplomas from their home high schools in South Bend. The Crossing has a similar contract with South Bend Career Academy and even has a location within the confines of the area’s newest charter school. Finally, Staley said, students who don’t meet other criteria — for example, they enroll in the middle of the school year — are eligible to attend via scholarship. Families are asked to make some sort of financial commitment, Staley said, but it’s based on their income and could be as little as $25 a month. Last school year, The Crossing served 134 students from South Bend. Including South Bend, The Crossing contracts with 21 Indiana school corporations and has 15 campuses throughout the state. Despite the school’s other successes, a new middle-school campus in downtown Mishawaka closed at the end of last school year, Staley said. The Crossing’s current educational model, which is partially computer based, he said, has been determined not to work well with middle schoolers. Students interested in enrolling in one of South Bend’s Crossing campuses, can call 574-226-0671 or complete an “Intent to enroll” form on The Crossing’s website at Staff writer Kim Kilbride: 574-247-7759 ]]>