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INDIANAPOLIS--Part of the mission for the Greater Educational Opportunities (GEO) Foundation is to break the cycle of poverty and help get underserved students to college.

The GEO Foundation is a network of seven charter schools in Gary and Indianapolis as well as Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It recently received an $8.3 million grant from the Indiana Department of Education.

“The student population we serve really doesn’t have the college experience in their home and the college-going attitude. We need to convince them that they are indeed college capable,” said Kevin Teasley, founder and superintendent of GEO Foundation and GEO Academies, in an interview with Inside Indiana Business.

Teasley says they have started what’s called “GEO Focus Academy”, which is a combination of its charter school system with a virtual school.

“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. 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. They become more college acclimated,” said Teasley.

If students are college capable, Teasley says they enroll them.

“In our first year in Indy, we had 30 to 40% of our students taking real college courses. They earned 12-15 college credits their first year. We’re talking about freshmen in high school,” said Teasley.

The GEO Foundation was founded by Teasley in 1998.