Education innovation in Indiana rewarded with multi-million dollar state grant

GEO Next Generation High School in Indianapolis is part of a network of high-quality charter schools managed by GEO Academies. Students in GEO’s College Immersion Program take free college courses on a college campus for college credit while earning a high school diploma.

An Indianapolis-based nonprofit that aims to break the cycle of poverty by providing students in impoverished neighborhoods with access to quality education options has earned an $8.3 million grant from the Indiana Department of Education.

The nonprofit, Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation, will direct the funding to its newest initiative: a first-of-its-kind statewide virtual/in-person K-12 college-preparatory school. The immersion program allows students to take courses on a college campus for college credits while earning a high school diploma.

Part of GEO’s mission is convincing students whose families may not have had the opportunity for a college experience that they are college capable, according to GEO Foundation founder and superintendent Kevin Teasley.

“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,” Teasley said. “And so, they become more college acclimated and ready to go to college.”

Since its founding in 1998, the organization has launched several GEO academies in Indianapolis and Louisiana and recently launched GEO Focus Academy, a combination of its charter school system with a virtual school.

GEO supports all quality means of educating children, including public, private, charter and religious schools as well as homeschooling and assists families in choosing the option that is the best fit for their child. The organization also works to develop community understanding of school choice to align with its belief that providing families with a menu of educational options will strengthen all schools.