HOPE – The newly-installed superintendent of the Hope Public Schools Dr, Jonathan Crossley told the Hope Rotary Club here July 15 that when his father was promoted to a salaried job in the South Carolina cotton mill where he worked, life changed for him and his family because of the opportunity education gave his father.
“My life got better when my dad got a salaried job; I can remember jumping around in my driveway, it was a family moment,” Crossley said. “I walked a little taller, dressed a little better, had nicer things; and those are surface level things, but for a ten, eleven, twelve-year old that was a lot. So, that pushed me forward to want to be a part of educational equity in my life.”
One of the key attractions to Hope for Crossley is the presence of that same sort of opportunity.
“I believe so wholeheartedly in what the Hope Public Schools are doing that I applied for a job,” Crossley said. “Every day that I dig more and more beyond the surface, I grow more in love with that decision.”
He said the opportunities in place like the Hope Collegiate Academy were a part of a framework that attracted him to Hope.
“What I have seen is that we have so much potential,” Crossley said. “Fast forward to the college; we have so many students that could take advantage of it, we have a two-year associate degree program that not everyone knows about. So, we’re making phone calls right now about the Collegiate Academy, about the concurrent credit option and the Career-Technical.”
The potential exists, he believes, for the Hope Public Schools to close that gap so that within five years every graduating Hope High School senior graduates with transferrable college credit, or an AA degree, a career-technical certification, or a military service readiness.
“Everyone graduates, no dropouts; period, end of story,” Crossley quipped. “And, we the adults should have the support system in place to help them make it across the finish line.”
He said currently only 18 students have applied for the Collegiate Academy 2021-2022 entering tenth grade class and six are enrolled in the Career-Technical Center.
“We hope to have that changed to 60 within the first two weeks of school; that is tangible,” Crossley said. “But, they already have the opportunity at Hope High School through concurrent credit.”
The key is generating the understanding that the opportunity exists.
“We have students who are growing up and they don’t have any idea what the next step should be, and that is a community issue,” Crossley said. “I want us to be part of the solution. We are putting a structure in place where they will know what their ACT or Accuplacer is and where they stand. That is a game changer.”
Crossley began duties as HPS superintendent July 1, having previously served as assistant superintendent in the Pine Bluff School District.