U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski is taking a look at local schools in her district, to see what steps they are taking to increase graduation. One of her stops Monday was at North Judson-San Pierre High School. That school district has been challenged by budget issues, but school officials are working to keep programs in place to help struggling students graduate.
For instance, students who fail a class have the chance to take it again online, but Susie Matzat, one of the program’s teachers, says that system helps other students, too, “Our credit recovery we do use for students who fail courses, but occasionally we use it for that student who’s in band, choir, honors English, calculus, their schedule won’t work. So they sometimes take an online class through that as well. I administer that program, and I can make the class more difficult or easier, depending on the needs of the student.”
There is also a similar system letting students take classes online that are not offered at the school. For example, due to budget cuts, there’s no longer a German teacher at the school, but students can keep taking German classes online.
Walorski is focusing on education because she says the biggest issue among manufacturers in her district has shifted from uncertainty in the market to a gap in the labor pool, “Schools are the bridge to employment, and we can do all kinds of things at this level, but when we have a shortage of workers like we do right now sitting on such an expansion of jobs, this is the place that the attention has to be paid.”
She also praised the school for its efforts to teach students skills they can use in the manufacturing and agriculture industries.