Indianapolis-based nonprofit Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation says an $8.3 million grant from the Indiana Department of Education is accelerating its efforts to help more underserved students access college learning while still in high school. GEO’s newest initiative is a first-of-its kind, statewide virtual/on campus K-12 to college school. The organization says it has altered the trajectory of low-income high school students through its college immersion program.
“The student population we serve really doesn’t have the college experience in their home and the college-going attitude. We need to convince them that they are indeed college capable,” explained Kevin Teasley, founder and superintendent of GEO Foundation and GEO Academies, in an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
Teasley says the nonprofit’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty by providing students and families with access to quality education options. He says the goal is for the students to earn an associate degree before grading from high school.
The immersion program allows students to take courses on a college campus for college credits, while simultaneously earning a high school diploma.
“We take them to Ivy Tech, IUPUI, IU Northwest or Purdue Northwest so that they take real college classes while they are in high school…so that they’re getting a real experience from a college professor sitting next to students that don’t look like them, aren’t the same age as them. And so, they become more college acclimated and ready to go to college,” said Teasley.
Since launching in 1998, the organization has grown to seven academies in Indianapolis, Gary and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The organization has also recently launched GEO Focus Academy, a combination of its charter school system with a virtual school. Teasley says it’ll allow for students statewide to take part in GEO curriculum.