For the past five years, GEO Foundation has worked to provide “best in class” schools to low-income families in the Northeast corner of Baton Rouge, an area of the city where you find the worst performing traditional schools. And, we are succeeding.
The state recognized both our schools, where we serve more than 1200 students, as “Top Gains” schools last year. Indeed, both our schools earned an “A” from the state for preparing our students for success in high school. Quite simply put, this means the academic growth of our students is among the best in the state.
Our success has gained the important attention and support of the Board of Directors and leadership at New Schools Baton Rouge, the city’s most respected education reform-minded strategy and ecosystem-development organization. They not only accepted us in their portfolio of high performance schools (a portfolio that includes BASIS and IDEA schools, among others), they have afforded us several significant startup, expansion, and professional development grants–more than $600,000 so far.
New Schools for Baton Rouge (NSBR) is so supportive of our efforts and believes in the importance of our success so much that they are doing everything they can to help us build our next school. They recently recommended us to receive a loan from an exclusive and private lender, the Schola Building Fund, so that we can build our new high school (pictured above). The Schola Building Fund is a non profit private lender that provides high performing charter schools access to extremely low interest financing not available to the general public. I’ve built several schools and I’ve never seen rates and fees this low. Specifically, we have the opportunity to borrow $10 million if we can raise $1 million. And, NSBR is providing $300,000 toward that goal.
So, I need to raise $700,000 ASAP. Why ASAP? Because we plan to break ground in August on the building pictured above and be open for school in August 2020.
I know its a big ask, but I think we can do it. And we need to. We must!
Our new high school in Baton Rouge will replicate our extremely successful high school in Gary, Indiana. In Gary, we have students defying all odds and graduating from high school with full associate degrees; one earned her bachelor’s degree from Purdue while in our high school–a first in the country! This year’s graduating class is knocking it out of the park, too. Nearly 30 percent of our graduates have already earned either a two-year associates degree or a one-year career certificate in college–free of charge. They earn it, we pay for it.
Our college and career readiness rating as measured by the state is among the best in Indiana, too. Gary is one of the poorest districts in the entire state yet we already beat the college and career readiness rating of several of the richest districts in the state. We seek to replicate this success in Baton Rouge.
Once we reach our enrollment capacity in Baton Rouge, we will serve another 650 high school students. We recently reached a partnership agreement with Baton Rouge Community College, too. While the new school building won’t be complete until August 2020, we will open this August with 100 freshmen, and they will start taking college classes in June. Yes, this is happening. Believe.
So, if you are a regular reader of my emails, I don’t usually ask for support. But today, I am. In fact, its 3 a.m. and I’m up writing this message because its so important that we reach our goal. I’m fired up but I need your help. Can I count on it? I hope so. Any and all contributions to GEO Foundation are tax deductible as we are fully recognized by the IRS as a 501c3 tax deductible organization.
If you are not in a position to help, please consider sharing this information with someone, an individual, corporation, or foundation who might. Thank you for your consideration!
Below is a picture of our students receiving a college orientation at LSU earlier this year and a picture of our Board Chair, Linda Johnson, former chair of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, who was sharing why she believes so much in our school at a recent luncheon.