When we started the Greater Educational Opportunities (GEO) Foundation back in 1998, we did so because we don’t believe one size fits all. Families and their students need options. And, when we started GEO, we did so with the expressed intentions of serving those who need serving most–low-income and minority students.
That’s why GEO advocated for vouchers in Indiana when we opened our doors. Back then, vouchers seemed to be quite a longshot in Indiana. Indeed, charter law became the compromise in 2001. At that time, GEO decided to stop talking about choice and start providing a choice and created one of Indiana’s first charter schools in 2002. I was attracted to starting a charter school because it gave us an opportunity to demonstrate the power of choice AND to serve demands from low-income and minority students at no cost to their families.
But charters are a means to an end–quality education. Charters are not the only way to access quality education. Vouchers, tax credits, and moving to a different neighborhood are also meant to access quality education.
This past year’s pandemic taught us a great deal about the need to continue pursuing additional means and virtual is no exception. So, we set out to see how we can provide both a virtual AND on-college campus experience and to serve students outside our current brick and mortar footprints.
GEO Focus Academy is our newest and 6th educational opportunity in GEO’s menu of choices. This week, we were approved by the Indiana State Board of Education to start serving students statewide. While it is a private school, Indiana provides vouchers to income-eligible students that will cover 90% of the cost of tuition. We will raise the remaining 10% so the cost will be free to the students we serve.
What’s different about GEO Focus Academy? Is it just another virtual school? Nope. GEO Focus Academy will provide students the opportunity to take real on-college campus classes for college credit, degrees and certifications while in our high school. And, we will cover all related costs.
So today, GEO Foundation offers charter schools, career certification schools, college immersion schools, alternative (dropout prevention and recovery) schools, private schools, and virtual schools.
One size does not fit all! We know that. And we seek to serve.
I’m excited about this new menu option we have created. We are grateful to all our friends for their support over the years and we look forward to continuing to serve.
Founder & President