- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) - Jalyn Braxton is 17.

She has a 20-month-old daughter, MaKiah.

Her mother, who helps care for her daughter, is sick.

But Braxton said she’s never thought about quitting school.

She sees it as her duty not only to finish high school but also to attend college.

It’s for her daughter and herself, she said.

“It’s been a journey,” Braxton said. “It has. But I think it’s important to finish, to lead my baby down the right path and show other teen parents that if you set your mind to it, you can do anything.”

Braxton moved to Janesville from Tennessee about four and a half months ago and found the services at Rock River Charter School to be exactly what she needs.

“My mom is sick, so sometimes I miss a lot of days of school,” Braxton told The Janesville Gazette (http://bit.ly/1gYwgIu). “Since I got here, I’ve been doing so much better. There are not only less students so teachers can help you, but they put more of their heart into it than regular high school. They are so flexible.”

Braxton said she hopes to one day become a registered nurse with the help she’s gotten from Rock River Charter.

“They have a lot of different programs for teen parents,” Braxton said. “Whenever I start getting overwhelmed, I just stop and I think, ‘If you don’t go to school and succeed, there will be nothing to look forward to in the future.’ I think to myself that anything is better than nothing.”

It’s students such as Braxton who will benefit from a $103,500 InSPIRE grant recently received by the Janesville School District from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, said Lisa Peterson, principal at Rock River Charter.

“We’re excited to develop the program,” Peterson said. “Getting kids successfully to graduation and towards post secondary education is our goal.”

Peterson said the grant will help the school improve coordination of services, education and pregnancy programs for students. About 73 percent of the students live in poverty.

“Some parenting teenagers choose to come here, some do not,” Peterson said. “They can stay at their home high school, come just to Rock River Charter or dual enroll at both. It’s wonderful to have the option to provide services for both.”

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