When you commission a study on your academic performance, you really don’t know what results you are going to get. So, it’s a bit of a gamble. You think you know things are going good, but you really don’t know until you see the data.

So, today was a BIG day at GEO.

Last August, we commissioned a nationally recognized education research group to review the math and reading scores of our students in Gary and Baton Rouge to see how we did during the pandemic. The national news has been reporting huge learning loss during the pandemic so we wanted to know what impact the pandemic had on our students and how we stack up against “like” students.

Today, Bellwether Education Partners reported three BIG findings from their research.

  1. Our students outgrew “like” students across the country in reading and math during the pandemic.
  2. Our special education students continued to grow and actually narrowed the gap with non-special education students.
  3. Our boys narrowed the gap between them and our girls to nonexistent.

These are BIG findings by a very reputable research firm. And yes, quite a relief. Don’t get me wrong, our students suffered learning loss during the pandemic, just not as much as others across the country.

I’m excited not only by these results, but by the fact that this fills out “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey would say.

You hear me talk quite a bit about our high school students outperforming their counterparts when it comes to college and career readiness (earning college degrees in high school) but you don’t hear me talk as much about our K-8 students. Why not? Well, the state tests haven’t been reliable in my opinion.

I’m not a big believer in state standardized tests–at least not lately. Indiana has changed their state test 4-5 times in the past 10 years causing nothing but headaches for educators, students and families. By changing tests as often as the state has, it is hard to have reliable data. For instance, one year more than 70% of our students passed the state test, then the state changed the test and the next year we were knocked down to little more than 30% passing. Really? What happened? And it wasn’t just us. The entire state saw a huge drop.

So national data and national research results are important to us.

I’m very proud of the efforts of our teams in Indiana and Louisiana to limit learning loss during the pandemic. When Covid hit, we had laptops and hot spots deployed within weeks, not months. Our teachers and leaders were already prepared to provide blended learning, online, virtual and in class. We made home visits, phone calls, held numerous zoom and google classroom sessions, and more. Our leaders, mentors and master teachers supported teachers with their new online learning platforms and students still learned. We changed daily and weekly schedules, too.

And now we celebrate the hard work. Yes, I’m very proud of the many efforts by our GEO Team. This past year has been one big nightmare–Covid, the election, the weather, the racial unrest and more. But our team stood up and supported our families and students like the champs they are. Above are some great pics of our team going above and beyond the call of duty, delivering supplies, making home visits, zooming with the students, and more. I love our team. I love our family!


Kevin Teasley

Founder & President

GEO Foundation