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Crossing News: Twin Lakes backs new alternative school

By February 26, 2013 No Comments

The Crossing was featured in a newspaper article in the Monticello Herald Journal.  The article is reproduced below with permission: Twin Lakes backs new alternative school

By Gwen Rodenberger | grodenberger@thehj.com

Acknowledging that some young adults do not succeed in a traditional school setting, Twin Lakes School Board unanimously agreed to back an alternative school plan in addition to the one it currently operates. “Public school is not for every kid, unfortunately, and our society is having to deal with them,” Dr. Tom Fletcher, Twin Lakes superintendent, told the board during its meeting Tuesday. The Crossing, based in Elkhart, is a faith-based state accredited program that runs alternative schools in nearby Frankfort and Kokomo, as well as Fort Wayne, Warsaw, South Bend, Berne and other northern Indiana communities. Students attend half-day classes and then work at their jobs for the other half days, said Twin Lakes representatives who have investigated the organization. Board member Larry Crabb noted that The Crossing hires experienced certified teachers to instruct the students. Students at The Crossing also receive daily, individualized faith-based counseling sessions, said Jennifer Miller, Twin Lakes High School assistant principal. “I think employers will be happy to have a more educated pool of workers to hire from,” she told the board. “What do we have to lose?” Dave Jordan, of Jordan Manufacturing, who is a part of the local effort to start the alternative school, said that sometimes young people need second chances. “I employ a lot of people in unskilled jobs. I have three supervisors. I fired one multiple times. One quit multiple times. But now they’ve grown up,” he said. “A lot of them have no home life. They have nowhere to go. They end up turning to drugs. It’s so sad to see this. We want to bring in the trades so they can get a GED and a trade so they can go and make a living,” Jordan added. “You will have to tell us where these kids are that have falling [sic] through the cracks. Next, The Crossing will train us and will run the school,” he said. Jordan cited statistics from The Crossing that the cost of educating a young person so he or she obtains a high school diploma is about $5,500 per year. However, the cost of housing that same person in a jail cell is $45,000 per year. “When people lack an education, then there’s a taxpayer cost,” said board member Susan Mrzlack. The Crossing’s local proponents said the program must have at least 35 White County students per year for the program to be viable. Fletcher said that while 35 students may seem like a lot of students, the potential pool of students from Twin Lakes alone is 120. Because most of the students would come from Twin Lakes, the school will have to fund most of the seats in the program, he said. If all four schools participate, Twin Lakes will fund 18 seats. If only three schools participate, Twin Lakes will have to fund 20 or 21. Other White County school boards have discussions on their meeting agendas regarding whether to join the Crossing effort, he said. Delphi and West Central school corporations are also interest, Fletcher said. West Central will probably be involved in an effort with Winamac. However, Delphi may participate with the White County effort, but on a limited basis because of the distance. The students will remain enrolled with the school corporations in whose district they reside. However, the students will actually attend The Crossing classes at a separate location. They then can graduate from their home high school. The group is working with Tom Westfall, Honey Creek Township trustee, to see if the program can be located at the old Reynolds Elementary School. Click to visit the Monticello Herald Journal website:  www.thehj.com]]>