The students in the picture above were kindergartners in our Gary school back in 2007-8. This year, many of them were still with us and graduated in May (pictured below). What a life they have endured so far, and this year is no different….ok, maybe it is VERY different.
Many of these children were born during 9/11. This year, they have endured a pandemic that has changed everything we know about a traditional way of life. Add to the pandemic the unrest and protests surrounding police and race issues (everyday life for many of the families we serve), and now, the challenges states face meeting their budgets and you have a real recipe and demand for a change in just about everything we do. Where does GEO fit in? Do we?
GEO is built to meet these challenges. Our network of schools are nearly pandemic proof. How? We support students growing educationally at a pace faster than traditional expectations. This past year, while many of the nation’s high school students lost ground educationally, our high school students excelled and some earned as many as 59 college credits in one year. We had 56 students in our Gary high school of roughly 300 students earn an average of 17.5 college credits during the Covid-19 school shut downs. In Baton Rouge, 30% of our inaugural freshman class earned nearly 12 college credits. These students didn’t lose ground. They closed the achievement gap.
Empowering students to do more than tradition expects, positively changes the dynamics in communities. For example, during the George Floyd protests, our students were speaking out against looting and riots and promoting peaceful protests and participating in constructive conversations.
GEO’s model can help states address their budget issues, too. While Covid-19 cuts into state tax revenues and K12 budgets, GEO’s model focuses on student needs and that’s why we achieve K-14 (and K-16) results with K-12 dollars. We stretch tax dollars to get as much education as possible for our students. Students benefit. States benefit. Taxpayers benefit.
So whether you are looking for a unique school approach focused on outcomes (not inputs) to addressing the Covid-19 crisis and not only keeping up with the achievement gap but closing it, or you are looking for a meaningful way to address continued racial equity and inequality issues, or you are trying to help states meet their budgetary obligations, I think GEO fits in. We are ready to expand, and indeed we are. We are opening a new school in Indianapolis in August, expanding our enrollments in Gary and Baton Rouge and we are talking to leadership in other states about unique school district partnerships, too. Please let me know if you want to help us expand.
Yes, it’s fun changing the world together! Join us. You will be glad you did!