Great schools are the foundation of strong communities. Over the last nine years, New Schools for Baton Rouge has helped scale two dozen public charter schools that today serve nearly 10,000 students. These schools demonstrate that when high expectations combine with empowered educators, students are able to unlock their enormous potential, regardless of their background or the obstacles they face.

Schools supported by NSBR not only provide families more choice and diverse program offerings, but also come with track records of results promising students more opportunities in life. This month, two new school organizations recruited by Baton Rouge community leaders are applying to the local school board for authorization: Great Hearts Academies and Discovery Schools.

Great Hearts provides a unique, classical liberal arts education to students in grades K-12. This school model, founded more than twenty years ago, delivers successful outcomes for more than 20,000 students across three dozen schools in Arizona and Texas. Its schools are in wide demand by families, often boasting waitlists longer than the total enrollment in the schools.

Great Hearts focuses on developing the whole child, weaving a unique combination of academics, arts, and athletics to develop students who are empowered to stretch their mind, body and spirit. Several cities across the nation are competing to recruit a Great Hearts school to their communities, and we have successfully demonstrated the right balance of community demand and opportunity for a campus to thrive and serve Baton Rouge students well.

Discovery Schools, founded by nationally recognized education leader Dr. Patty Glaser, has built a unique K-12 school model in Jefferson Parish focused on health sciences. Like Great Hearts, Discovery reflects an enrollment consistent with the diversity of its community, finds thousands of students on its waitlists, and delivers exceptional academic results. Glaser forged a unique partnership with Ochsner Health System enabling students to access a co-developed health sciences curriculum on top of best-in-class academics overall. The Discovery team is looking to replicate this successful K-12 model in Baton Rouge and forge additional partnerships in the Baton Rouge Health District.

NSBR has worked tirelessly to ensure Great Hearts and Discovery will serve Baton Rouge students with the same quality programming students experience where these schools are already thriving. We have vetted their education models to ensure that students from all backgrounds who attend these schools will be successful. Like all public charter schools, Discovery and Great Hearts utilize open-enrollment practices. We have worked to help these organizations, which have incredible educators and leadership, build a launch plan for Baton Rouge that prioritizes community relationships and a strong start.

The formula for supporting every child to unlock their potential is to ensure an excellent school option exists for each child, regardless of their background. Discovery and Great Hearts bring unique and successful educational opportunities that will enhance our community and bring us closer to delivering on our responsibility.

Chris Meyer heads New Schools for Baton Rouge.