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Rise Up students forced to retake class for credit

Published On: Nov 01 2013 04:51:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Nov 01 2013 05:38:45 PM CDT

Some controversy at Rise Up Academy, an alternative high school in South Bend. WSBT's Annie Chang reports students found out they won't graduate unless they retake 12th grade English.

SOUTH BEND -

Several Rise Up Academy students will have to retake their English class this year if they want to graduate.

Because the senior-level English 12 class was taught by an unlicensed substitute, it will not count as a required credit toward the students' diplomas but is considered an "elective credit."

Rise Up Academy, an alternative high school for students who struggle academically, did not have enough teachers for the first nine-week grading period of this school year.

Sue Coney, spokesperson for South Bend School Corporation, said enrollment was too low at the start of the school year.

The corporation did not want to "overhire," Coney said.

Teresa is a mother of a senior at Rise Up Academy who did not want her last name identified in order to protect her son's identity.

Her son's teacher told him he'll have to take English 12 again, which is discouraging, Teresa said.

"You're in your senior year and you're trying to finish out," Teresa said of her son. "It's a little discouraging knowing that not only my child, but you have other kids at the other school, it's like the school is not a priority for anyone."

Teresa said her son still wants to graduate this spring and go to college, but it's hard for him to stay motivated after this quarter's let-down.

"It's just the idea that he has to go through this again," she said. "And you know, who wants to take a class for nothing?"

Coney said everything was back to normal as of Monday when the second 9-week grading period began. All classes are now being taught by teachers or licensed substitutes, she said.

But School Board member Bill Sniadecki said the situation was still unfair to Rise Up students who already need extra attention when it comes to education.

"These kids are struggling the way it is," Sniadecki said, "and to go a whole semester and not get any credit for the class they're attending, that's discouraging."

Teresa said her son isn't enrolled for English 12 this quarter, but she hopes he will stay on track despite the setback.

"There's not much you can do. I can just encourage him, tell him, 'You're still gonna make it,'" she said. "But this situation, it is what it is."

Coney said the corporation did not hire any additional teachers this quarter, but shifted the current staff so that all courses will count for credit for the rest of the school year.

This is the first time this has happened at Rise Up Academy, she said.