Shalabi says students stick it out through graduation thanks to “our smaller numbers. We are able to work with each student individually. Whenever a student is not performing, we have plans in place that involve the teachers, administration, and parents to make sure they graduate.”
Only two of the thirty-six teachers are Muslim, the opposite of the student mix. “We get our teachers from all over,” Shalabi says, “from Pinckney, Howell, Ann Arbor, Egypt, all over.”
Kristie King-Freyre came to Central Academy fourteen years ago after teaching at high schools in Houghton and Hudson. “I left the public schools because I was frustrated with the bureaucracy,” she says. “And I love it here. I love these students.”
“During spring break, Ms. King-Freyre called a student who didn’t turn in a project on time and came in on her own time to finish it with the student,” Shalabi confirms. With teachers chasing students down, no wonder it’s hard to flunk out.
[Originally published in June, 2012.]