A new semester started last week at Starke County’s newest alternative school.
The Crossing Educational Center began operations in August of last year, and resumed classes for the spring semester last Monday. The school provides an alternative setting for students who often find themselves struggling in public schools.
What started with 17 students has, in a few months, grown to over 50 students in attendance. Courtney Gant is the Campus Administrator in Starke County. She attributes the school’s enrollment increase to its family environment.
“Our atmosphere is a family atmosphere, and that’s something we kind of really push with the kids a lot: is the family,” says Gant. “And if this school is going to work, then we’re going to act as a family and we’ve got to push each other in academics, and we’ve got to push each other in the big life issues too.”
The Crossing, as far as the Oregon-Davis School Corporation is concerned, fills a need outside of the public school system.
Superintendent Greg Briles says The Crossing supplies them with the same documentation as a vocational class.
“The Crossing, for Oregon-Davis, has kind of been another location that will allow those students who don’t quite fit into our school corporation to be successful,” says Briles.
The Crossing has signed contracts with several school corporations around the area and is compensated with public dollars for their efforts. Religious study is funded privately for certain portions of the day.
Gant says they try to provide the public schools with as much information as possible.
“That can include progress reports, or a lot of times, it’s e-mails letting them know how they’re doing,” says Gant. “Really the big push for documentation comes toward the end of the year and the end of semester, but they can have access to the report cards and things like that as much as they need to.”
Among the contracts The Crossing has signed is with Eastern Pulaski School Corporation in Winamac.
During last week’s School Board meeting, it was stated there had been almost no communication for an entire semester. Eastern Pulaski Superintendent Dan Foster says that shouldn’t be happening.
“It is a service that we’re paying for and we just want to make sure our students are getting what they deserve up there, so we just wanted to check in on things,” says Foster.
The contract says The Crossing should provide reporting on grades, ISTEP scores, classes, and other behavioral items. The Crossing did provide updates to Eastern Pulaski Schools upon request, and say they are working in the third quarter to increase communication.
Superintendent Foster is confident a change has been made for next semester with weekly updates anticipated.
The spring semester ends in June for The Crossing.