New charter option possibly coming for high schoolers in South Bend

NOW: New charter option possibly coming for high schoolers in South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- An official with Success Virtual Learning Centers confirmed on Thursday the secondary education charter school system is looking to add a high school in South Bend by Fall 2020. 

Kristen Crawford, Vice President of Community Relations, said they have not selected a location yet. However, they are far in the process of attaining sponsorship by authorizer Ball State University. 

“We want to be a support to the community,” Crawford said. “We want to contribute to the community, we want to partner with your current schools and we just want to inspire hope within those students.”

Success VLC has charter schools in the Michigan area including Three Rivers, about an hour from South Bend. Crawford said the schools offer a non-traditional school environment to student are not thriving in traditional school setting.

“The students will all be issued a laptop and WIFI so their curriculum will be fully online,” she said. “They can complete all of their school work from or they can come into the center as often as they like.

There are three charter schools in South Bend: Career Academy, Success Academy, and adult education charter, The Excel Center. Tyrone Watson, a former SBCSC parent, said he has no doubt in charter schools.

“I think they’re alright,” he said. “Anything that’s going to help the kids no doubt.”

Members of Community Action for Education (CAFÉ) said historically charter schools have hurt the students and school district.

Crawford said she has a meeting scheduled with South Bend Community School Corporation’s Superintendent-elect Dr. Todd Cummings in late March. ABC 57 News has reached out to SBCSC for a comment. 

If the Success VLC is sponsored by BSU, the charter school will be completely separate from the corporation, according to Crawford. She said she would encourage the corporation to send referrals their way.

“As long as they help the kids out,” said Jame Fockler, who lives in Mishawaka. “That’s the main part, the kids.”

Crawford said Success VLC targets at-risk students including those with truancy issues, those who are behind on credits and those who have been expelled. She said the graduation rate of Success VLC is around 60 percent. 

The Michigan Department of Education reports in 2018 that Success Virtual Learning Centers of Michigan had a four-year graduation rate of 13.47 percent

“We want to make sure that we’re helping those students earn a high school diploma and become contributors in their community,” said Crawford. 

She said Success VCL is accepting resumes for administration and teaching positions. If you would like to submit a resume, email [email protected].

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