The U.S. Department of Education announced today a grant totaling $9,599,599 million to RePublic Schools. This five year grant under the Charter Schools Program (CSP) will enable RePublic to replicate its school model to serve more students and families and expand its computer science education initiatives across the South. With this investment, RePublic will grow from serving 1,335 students in 2015-2016 to 7,215 students each year by 2022.
This grant comes on the heels of three major national philanthropic investments in RePublic’s work in Tennessee and Mississippi from The Charter School Growth Fund, Joel Smilow (former chairman and chief executive of Playtex Products, Inc., and the co-founder and co-owner of the Dinex Group), and from The Louis Calder Foundation.
Ravi Gupta, RePublic co-Founder and CEO, commented on the seismic impact this investment will have for the communities RePublic serves. “This investment will propel us forward in the pursuit of our mission to reimagine public education in the South. We are grateful to Secretary Duncan and his team for recognizing RePublic's efforts to expand high quality, 21st Century educational opportunities for children in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Because of this grant, these states will expand college opportunity to previously underserved students, and spur 100-plus fold increases in the number of students of color who will take and pass the AP Computer Science exam in the years to come. Our students will not only graduate from four year colleges; they will reinvent whole sectors of business and society.”
RePublic Schools currently operates three middle schools and one high school in Nashville, Tennessee and one middle school in Jackson, Mississippi. The organization was chartered for two additional schools in Jackson that are slated to open in August 2016. 82% of RePublic’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and 95% of RePublic’s students identify as people of color.
RePublic scholars have outperformed the district and state in nearly every subject every year since the organization was launched in 2011. RePublic’s flagship schools — Liberty Collegiate Academy and Nashville Prep — made history in 2014 as the first charter schools in the state of Tennessee to score in the top 5% of all open-enrollment public schools for both academic growth and absolute performance. In 2015, Liberty earned this distinction for the second consecutive year.
In addition to its success in traditional subjects, RePublic is also on the vanguard of computer programming instruction. Students take computer programming as a core instructional class, and one hundred percent of RePublic High School students are on track to take the AP Computer Science exam next year. RePublic also partners with district and charter schools to train teachers to implement its open source computer science curriculum. This is a particularly salient initiative in the South, where students of color lack access to this critical set of 21st Century skills. For example, over the last two years, not a single African American student even took the AP Computer Science exam in Mississippi.
Thank you to our hard working educators, parents, scholars, board members, and supporters for making this possible.