Benton Harbor HS graduating seniors improves after early setback

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - After many seniors were not on pace to graduate this year, Benton Harbor High School said it is getting students back on track at a school board meeting Thursday.

“We’re just trying to hold hands along the way, meet with parents, meet with students and get them as involved as we can to get them across the finish line,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lawanna Shelton said.

That is the goal, to reach the finish line, something that Benton Harbor High School seniors were not on pace to do earlier this year.

“A significant number of students just had not passed classes,” Shelton said.

A report in March stated that only 38 of 138 seniors were on pace to graduate this year. Thursday, that number went up.

A total of 95 seniors are now expected to walk the stage in June, while 26 others are expected to walk in August. Shelton, who was brought in to help seniors get back on track, said the key to the solution was finding out why students were struggling.

“Once we discovered that and made sure students had full schedules and they were actually not repeating any courses that they already had credit for, we started to see that the numbers were growing,” Shelton said.

Shelton said two counselors, two graduation coaches as well as an “on track to success program” has been put in place to make sure seniors graduate on time. However, she said the reason some seniors fell behind so early is far beyond what goes on in the classroom.

“When you don’t have a culture and climate and protocols and processes that’s really own grass roots, it does into really matter who comes and goes,” Shelton said.

With less than one month to go before graduation, Shelton said she does expect the number of graduates to change, hopefully in an upward direction.

Graduation for Benton Harbor High School seniors will be held on Friday, June 7.