ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The drop-out rate continues to be a big problem in Rockford. In fact it's higher than the state average. But now that a local alternative school is expanding, there's hope to get more drop-outs and students who are struggling in public school, back into the classroom.
Two months ago D'Angelo Kimbrough made a major decision. He left his friends at Jefferson High School to attend Lydia Urban Academy in Rockford, a private school for kids who are struggling.
"I wanted to get away from the public schools because it was a lot of people, a lot of people holding me down," said student D'Angelo Kimbrough.
Even though Lydia's new, larger location in the Rockford Housing Authority building is farther from Kimbrough's home, he's never late, and he's making good grades; a change from when he attended Jefferson.
"It was a lot of distractions at Auburn," said Ned Reed.
17-year-old Ned Reed has been at Lydia for two-and-a half years, and will graduate in January.
"Coming here that's what helped me because I didn't know what to do at first, I didn't even know if I wanted to go to college. Came here, and now I know what I want to do in life and know how to do it," Reed said.
Reed wants to be a welder and Kimbrough, a pediatrician.
“Make goals in life and try to stay focused and stay away from all the negativity and try to stay positive," Reed said.
Now that Lydia has partnered with RHA and has more space, they hope to start an alternative middle school next fall. Right now, they serve ten students, but they have room for 20.
To learn more about Lydia Urban Academy-Rockford visit www.lydiahome.org/Rockford. or call 815-966-0039. To learn more about the Rockford Housing Authority, visit www.rockfordha.org. or call 815-489-8500.