INDIANAPOLIS STAR: Early start to college keeps them in school

The Star is right to focus on the importance of funding Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program (“Dig deep for dollars for scholars,” Sept. 7). The fund is important to help reduce the dropout rate and increase the state’s high school graduation rate, especially for low-income students.

But increasing state funding of the program is only part of the solution. To radically improve the high school graduation rate and college-bound success rate, we must engage students earlier in their academic careers. All Indiana high schools should start using their current dollars to enroll students into real college courses as early as 10th grade.

The biggest drop in high school enrollment statewide occurs between 10th and 11th grades, and the dropout number is highest among low-income families. Many low-income families we serve come to us not knowing or ignoring the value of a high school degree, much less a college degree, and to the extent they do understand it, many don’t believe they are college material. So why should their students finish high school? Yes, I’ve had parents ask me that question.

To remedy this, all high schools — or at least those with high numbers of students from low-income families — need to start showing their students that they can indeed take college classes and be successful. Every eligible student at Fall Creek Academy is signed up for the 21st Century Scholars program, but that doesn’t mean they have to wait to graduate from high school to start their college career with 21st Century Scholars money.

Fall Creek Academy, one of a handful of “early college” high schools in the state, starts sending many students to college when they are in 10th grade. The school spent nearly $50,000 of its state-provided K-12 tuition support money to pay for more than 50 high school students — all of whom qualify for the 21st Century Scholars program — to take courses that counted for both high school and college credit. These are earned credits that won’t need to be paid for by 21st Century Scholars funds. Imagine the financial impact if every high school did this. In the future, Fall Creek Academy students will earn their high school degrees and as many as 60 college credits. Last year’s 17 graduates of Fall Creek Academy earned more than $320,000 in scholarship funds outside of the 21st Century Scholars program.

Why should high schools duplicate a class with state dollars when a similar class is offered at the college level and counts for both high school and college credit? Imagine the impact on college mentoring programs if high schools were to go beyond signing up students to participate in the 21st Century Scholars program and actually start funding students to take college-level classes and supporting the students while they take the classes. This would change the conversation between mentors and students. It would give students who are thinking of dropping out of high school the experience in college they need and a reason to finish high school. And the dual credits allow students to graduate from high school early, too.

So, yes, continue to fund the 21st Century Scholars program, but all high schools can be a big part of the solution, too.

By Kevin Teasley, published by Indianapolis Star


Aplica Ahora

Grade Level

GEO Prep Academy utilizará el sistema en línea EnrollBR para el proceso de inscripción 2021-2022. EnrollBR es un proceso de solicitud común que brinda ayuda a las familias con la correcta elección de la escuela que satisfará las necesidades que sus hijos tengan. Los padres deben seguir las instrucciones a continuación para registrarse para el año escolar 2020-2021.

  1. Haga clic aquí para ir directamente a EnrollBR y comenzar su aplicación.
  2. Necesitará una dirección de correo electrónico. Si no tiene uno, aquí le brendaremos instrucciones para ayudarlo a configurar una cuenta de gmail de Google. Haga clic aquí
  3. Para obtener instrucciones sobre cómo completar la solicitud de inscripción ante de, Haga clic aquí

Para el año escolar 2020-2021, GEO Prep Academy inscribirá los grados K – 8o. Las escuelas están ubicadas en:

  • Grados K-2do – 4006 Platt, Baton Rouge, LA 70814
  • 3ro – 8vo Grados – 2311 N. Sherwood Forest Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70815

Para obtener información sobre cómo inscribirse en el actual año escolar, comuníquese con la escuela. Se puede contactar a ambas escuelas al número (225) 927-1500.

Apply Now

Grade Level

GEO Prep Academy will be utilizing the EnrollBR online system for the 2021-2022 enrollment process. EnrollBR is a common application process that assists families with school choice to meet the needs of their child(ren). Parents should follow the below directions to register for the 2020-2021 school year.

  1. Click Here to go directly to EnrollBR and begin your application.
  2. You will need an email address. If you do not have one, there are instructions to help you set up a Google Gmail Account. Click here
  3. For instructions on completing the enrollment application beforehand, Click Here

For the 2020-2021 school year, GEO Prep Academy will be enrolling grades K – 8. The schools are located at:

  • K-2nd Grades – 4006 Platt, Baton Rouge, LA 70814
  • 3rd – 8th Grades – 2311 N. Sherwood Forest Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70815

For information on enrolling this current school year, please contact the school. Both schools can be contacted at (225) 927-1500.