Private school to focus on teen dropouts

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - The Urban League of Battle Creek is opening a small, private school this month to serve teens who have dropped out of, or been expelled from, traditional and alternative schools, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer.

Focus Academy will enroll at most 14 students. Tuition is free, and the daily schedule will include exercise, group counseling and individualized academic work, the Enquirer reported.

"We're serving kids that other aspects of the community, for whatever reason, have chosen not to," Carlton Lartigue, a member of the Urban League's board of directors, told the Enquirer. Urban League officials said that donors and community organizations supporting the school wished to remain anonymous, the Enquirer reported.

Kyra Sichinga, formerly with Battle Creek Public Schools and now managing director of the Urban League, will oversee the operation.

"This is really a holistic approach to education," she told the Enquirer. "We know it's not just going to be the classroom piece."

Battle Creek Enquirer, "Focus Academy to aid dropouts, expelled students," Jan. 8, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, "United Way starts program to curb dropout rates," Aug. 13, 2008