Media Center

GEO's Gary Middle College Wins Appeal!

on Thursday, 25 January 2018

 

Today was a great day for Gary Middle College! GMC is a school we started in 2012 with the expressed intention of supporting nontraditional students who want to earn their high school diploma and get prepared to go to college and/or to go into a career. There are many high school students who can't attend a traditional school due to family issues and demands. Even our traditional school has trouble serving these students due to our daily schedule. Some students need flexibility and more individual attention than traditional schools can provide and many of these students don't see a need, nor have an interest in programs traditional schools provide such as sports, clubs, and other enrichment opportunities. Enter Gary Middle College (some of our graduates are pictured above).

 

Gary Middle College provides a flexible, year round schedule with three sessions a day--morning, afternoon and evening--and we cater to students who may have babies or families to support but want to complete high school and go to college or earn a career certification. Yes, we provide child care free of charge to our students. We currently serve 240 students each year and every student who graduates not only earns their high school diploma, they also earn at least three college credits or a career certification.

 

So what happened today? Even though there is a great need for GMC, the State of Indiana isn't really prepared to give GMC an accountability grade that accurately reflects our performance. Earlier this year, the state gave GMC a grade of "D." The reason they gave us a "D" was because they held GMC accountable to traditional school models.  That isn't fair nor appropriate. Most of our students are already out of their graduating class cohort and most of our students are older than 18 years of age. We appealed. Today, we won! After months of filing data and talking to hearing officers and State Board of Education staff, the State Board of Education staff agreed with us and asked the members of the State Board of Education to approve their recommendation that GMC be held accountable under the state's adult high school accountability model. In fact, the staff was simply asking the members of the Board of Education to follow the state's law. We won with a 10-1 vote in our favor. Unfortunately, the lone vote against us was State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick. That's very unfortunate given that state law explicitly defines what an adult high school is and explicitly defines how an adult high school is to be held accountable. No matter. We won! We are very proud of the life changing educational opportunities we provide at GMC and we are very excited to see GMC finally get the grade it earned last year--a "B."

The school has caught national attention, too. In September of 2017, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
(pictured above) traveled to Gary, Indiana (on her own dime) to visit both of our schools in Gary, including GMC. She heard many stories from our students aspiring to earn as many college credits and career certifications as possible while in our schools.

GARY U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos put Gary on the map in a big way Friday when she visited local charter schools, complimenting the students' education and the ability of parents to make a choice in their children's education.

DeVos visited Gary Middle College and 21st Century Charter School as part of her 2017 Rethink School Tour. DeVos concluded her tour in Missouri and Indiana Friday. Throughout the week, DeVos has highlighted the unique ways in which educators across the country are meeting the needs of individual students.

The two charter schools are operated by Indianapolis-based GEO Foundation. The foundation's CEO/founder Kevin Teasley, along with dignitaries, politicians and educators from across Northwest Indiana and the state, were on hand to greet DeVos and listen in on a panel discussion where several 21st Century Charter school students talked about the number of credits they have earned on the road to a associate and bachelor's degree.

21st Century's Johnell Davis

on Thursday, 06 April 2017

GARY — Rodney Williams and Ricky Haskins were talking about the starting lineup for their 21st Century boys basketball team right before sectionals began a couple weeks ago.
The subject of freshman guard Johnell Davis — a fresh-faced 15-year-old — came up. Haskins, an assistant coach, brought up the idea of not starting the lad and bringing him off the bench with all the looming postseason pressure.

Dual Credit Derelict

on Thursday, 06 April 2017

American high schools don't seem to be working in the real world. As a dad, I'm part of the problem. I remember what it was like when I went to high school, and now that I have kids in high school, I'm looking for something that resembles what I experienced. Im guessing Im not alone. But this approach is actually misguided.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations Early College High School Initiative has supported the creation or redesign of nearly 300 schools that serve more than 80,000 students in 31 states and the District of Columbia since 2002. Even more schools and districts have taken on this early college high school design challenge outside the auspices of the Gates Foundation. The exact design of these schools varies based on partnerships between schools and local colleges, but the foundational concept is that students can graduate from high school with a college credential as well.

The past few weeks have been filled with terrific school pride events that often don't get talked about in the media so I thought I would share these five pictures with you directly.

In Baton Rouge, our January board meeting featured performances from our cheerleaders and dance team. Our Baton Rouge school serves grades K-4 this year.

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