ROC Charter named in report - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Crystal Oko

ROC Charter named in report

ROCHESTER, MN (KTTC-DT) -- A Rochester High School will have to make some drastic changes if it wants part of a $34 million federal education grant.

The news comes on graduation day.

Students at Rochester Off Campus Charter High School are students who couldn't fit into the traditional high school set-up now the school itself is having to make some tough choices.

Graduation Day is a day most students look forward to.

But for the students of Rochester Off Campus Charter High School, graduation means so much more.

Senior, Jonah VanProosdy, says it was ROC that saved him.

"J Mart once told me that he did not perceive me as I was when I was making the wrong decisions. But as all that I have and have the potential to be when making the right ones," said VanProosdy.

J Mart better known as Principal Jay Martini, says students at his school are already making the right decision by simply stepping through the door.

"I want to get back in school and I want to graduate. So is that child behind? Hm-hm. But light years ahead of other kids I've worked with in terms of growing up," said Martini.

But on the same day students are donning their cap and gown. the Minnesota Department of Education announced the school is struggling to keep up with state standards - tough news for a school that's helped so many.

"When people ask me why I wasn't more nervous about the quality review it was because of these guys right over here. All I had to do was spread my arms, close my eyes and trust in my kids," said Martini.

It's not all bad news though.

The report says a lot of good things about ROC - stating it's highly successful in preparing students to be responsible and respectable adults.

"Regular school wasn't working for me. It wasn't for me," said one student.

The 32 schools named in the study have a month to submit a turnaround plan if they want part of a 34-million dollar federal education grant. That plan could include such drastic measures as replacing the principal, school staff, or even closing schools.

"I am very, very excited for this effort," said Alice Segren of the Department of Education.

Still though, it's not surprising that a school where students are just trying to keep their heads above water would by some standards appear to be struggling.

The turnaround plan is not mandatory for any school named on the list.

But applications with implementation plans are due on July 1st.

Not word on if ROC has any plans on participating.

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