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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.

DeVos, who is a well known advocate for charter schools and using taxpayer dollars to support private schools, went into classrooms and stopped to talk with teachers and students in both school buildings.

Senior DeAngello Davis said he is working on a robotics project as part of a class through Vincennes University. "It was an honor to meet Secretary DeVos. She seemed really nice. It's good to meet one of the higher-ups," he said after talking to her.

Sophomore Teresa Maciel said she was inspired to attend 21st Century Charter School after meeting Raven Osborne in May. Osborne, who graduated from the charter school in May, may be the lone student in the state who earned her bachelor's degree a few weeks before she earned her high school diploma drawing attention across the country.

Maciel said she wants to be a mechatronics engineer. She currently has three college credits, and is working towards the associate degree.

"I got a chance to meet Raven and Mr. Cherry and the minute I saw this school, I knew it was where I wanted to be," Maciel said. "The programs here allow us to get a step ahead."

Senior James Kelley said his family moved from Chicago to the Region, and he said he found 21st Century Charter School. "This school is one of the best educational facilities that I've ever gone to. They really prepare you for college. I intend to be an engineer," he said.

Felecia Day, a student at Gary Middle College which is designed for the non-traditional student who wants to earn a high school diploma, said she came to the school with the credits that qualified her to be a high school sophomore. She said she will have enough to graduate by January.

DeVos said on Friday, day four of her tour that started in Wyoming, there is one common theme.

"That is that every student, every child, every young adult is, indeed, an individual and is unique and different. There is no one size fits all way to meet their needs," she said.

"It's been a particular joy to meet and talk to the students this week."

When some of the low test scores at local charter schools were brought to DeVos' attention, she said, "Parents need to have information and will do what is in the best interest of their children. We're hearing from these students today that this is a good fit for them and that's what we hope for."

DeVos said she has visited traditional public schools as well as charter schools, and would be happy to come back.

She said she would use the information she's gained on the tour to develop creative and innovative approaches to meet the needs of each individual student.

A half a dozen people stood on Eighth Avenue and Adams Street in Gary behind 21st Century Charter School holding signs in protest of DeVos' visit and stance on traditional public school education.

Fall Picture Retake Day, October 20

on Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Download the informational flyer with details on how to order.

A high school senior in Colorado Springs is accomplishing much more than the average traditional student.

Hes completed his first two years of college for free before graduating high school. He owes his academic success to his charter school thats paid for his college tuition.

Janet Nace, principal of Pikes Peak Prep in Colorado Springs, starts her day at 6:30 a.m. But she isn't just rolling out of bed at that time the school is already bustling with students.

At PPP, a K-12 public charter school with 319 students enrolled for the 2016-17 school year, students play educational games, work on homework and eat breakfast in the early morning hours before starting their school day in a two-atrium schoolhouse and several modulars that house their high school students.

Efficiency, longer class days and school years, and a focus on maximizing student learning resources are part of the environment teachers tailor to meet their students' needs.

"One of our cornerstones is individualized learning," Nace says. "We focus on teaching the whole child in a holistic way."

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.

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