NEWS10 in the Classroom: Increasing the graduation rate - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

NEWS10 in the Classroom: Increasing the graduation rate

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HUDSON, N.Y. -- Giving students a second chance is what the city of Hudson's superintendent says an alternative learning facility will give to those who attend the Columbia-Greene Partnership Academy this year.

Governor Cuomo just signed legislation Tuesday that makes the facility official.

Until now, Hudson's superintendent says the construction process had been delayed, unsure of whether it would be signed into law.The superintendent says the school will fill a gap that has exisited since 2010, when the alternative learning program had to be cut because of budget reasons.

"I would have seen myself without a diploma, struggling to get a job somewhere," says Carlton Jackson, a 2009 graduate of the Hudson City School District.

Jackson was a student in the district's alternative learning program, which gives high school students project based learning, in a smaller, more focused setting.

"There were times I overslept and they came knocking on my door, 8'oclock in the morning. So without that push behind me, I don't think I would have succeeded."

The program was cut in 2010 because of budget issues, but the Columbia-Greene Partnership Academy fills the gap.

Hudson's superintendent says it is needed.

"Our graduation rate has been unacceptable," says Maria Suttmeier. "In 2012, our graduation rate was 58 percent with a 22 percent dropout."

Suttmeier and Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, one of the sponsors of the bill, call it a win-win for the students and districts, giving students motivation to come to school.

"A lot of high expectations, a rigorous curriculum, but also very high support," says Suttmeier.

"They've got a secure, safe learning environment, where hopefully they thrive and take advantage of this opportunity that they're being given," says McLaughlin. "It's great for the school so they can expand their reach."

Jackson is now a dietary technician and planning to attend college next year. He says his hope is for students to be able to have the same opportunity.

"Once I got into that program and I saw my teachers really cared and they wanted me to succeed, that changed my attitude," says Jackson.

The superintendent hopes for the alternative learning facility to be ready for students by January.

In addition, students from Catskill will also be attending school there and they hope to continue to expand in the coming year.

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