U.S. Secretary DeVos Visits GEO's Gary Schools

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This was an AWESOME day in Gary, Indiana! U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos visited both GEO Academies focusing on their innovative approach to accelerate students through college while in high school. She started with a tour of Gary Middle College, our alternative education program for students needing flexible school schedules AND who want to go to college and/or earn a career certification. She then toured 21st Century Charter School, our K12 school that accelerates high school students through college by providing staff support, paying for the college tuition, textbooks and transportation and creating a flexible high school schedule that supports students taking college courses while in our high school. The picture above is of a meeting with Secretary DeVos and our many high school students who are already taking college courses. Our approach has resulted in 14 students earning their Associate Degree in recent years and one student earning her Bachelor degree from Purdue this year BEFORE graduating from our high school.

GEO believes that if we are to beat poverty, we must go beyond the talk of college prep and toward putting students in college courses as early as 9th grade. High schools need to expose students to college classes, not just tour campuses. Our students learn the rigors of college and gain confidence while in our high school. If they fail, we are there to pick them up, remediate and to encourage them to try again. We are their safety net.

Secretary DeVos heard from several freshmen today who are already enrolled in college classes and are doing very well. One plans to earn her Bachelor degree by the time she graduates from our high school, too. DeVos heard from another student, a sophomore, who transferred into our school because she, too, wants to earn her Bachelor degree while in high school. DeVos heard from another three students who will have already earned their Associate degree by the time they graduate in 2018, too.

It is our hope that the Secretary's visit will help start new conversations across the country about how we "rethink school." That's the focus of her back to school tour. We were honored to be part of the conversation and to be joined by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson, Ball State Charter Schools Director Bob Marra, and many other key leaders from Gary.

Here are some links to great articles about the day's events. Click this link to read the article posted by the Northwest Indiana Times. Click this link to read the article from The Indianapolis Star. This is the link to the Gary Post Tribune article.


Kevin Teasley


GEO Foundation


Twitter: @teasleygeo

GEO Foundation supports schools in Gary, Indiana, Colorado Springs, Colorado and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

PS: Yes, it's a wonderful life!

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