Parents, residents question E.C. School Board about graduation-related troubles

2012-05-22T22:45:00Z 2012-05-22T23:15:06Z Parents, residents question E.C. School Board about graduation-related troublesBy Carmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

EAST CHICAGO | Several residents questioned the School City of East Chicago board at Tuesday's meeting about the number of students who were eligible for graduation at Central High School.

A couple of weeks ago, high school administrators put up a notice for students listing more than 200 students who needed one or more credits to graduate. There are about 330 seniors altogether.

The students who needed credits were scheduled to go through a computer-based credit recovery program. At that time, Principal Wendel McCollum — no relation to Times staff writer Carmen McCollum — said he expected many of the students to obtain the credits they needed to graduate.

Charlene Mahone, president of the East Chicago branch of the NAACP, said she has joined with the Northwest Indiana Federation of Interfaith Organizations in questioning what the School Board is doing about the graduation rate.

"The board and the superintendent has to be held accountable," she said. "I am concerned about the students who are ineligible to graduate. I am concerned about the credit recovery program. I need for the board to give us an explanation."

Parent Sheila Coles said her daughter is at a charter school but will attend the high school in the fall. She questioned how so many students could be without the number of credits needed to graduate.

"How did so many seniors get off track?" she asked.

The board listened to more than a dozen speakers who commented on the credit recovery program, the success of Lincoln Elementary School's 8-Step process, McKinley Elementary School's success and a parent-student meeting held at the high school a few weeks ago.

At the request of some parents, a couple of local ministers tried to attend the meeting but were turned away. One School Board member said after the meeting the high school meeting was not open to the public but was designed for parents and students.

In other action, the School Board approved putting a written reprimand in Superintendent Michael Harding's personnel file. After the meeting, Board President Fernando Trevino said he could not disclose anything about the reprimand because it was a personnel matter.

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