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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.

The past few weeks have been filled with terrific school pride events that often don't get talked about in the media so I thought I would share these five pictures with you directly.

In Baton Rouge, our January board meeting featured performances from our cheerleaders and dance team. Our Baton Rouge school serves grades K-4 this year.

Our nation’s capital is full of countless tales of humble servants who began their terms on an improbable journey to impactful American leadership.

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by Charles Lussier (clussier@theadvocate.com)

Four new charter schools are opening their doors this week in Baton Rouge, joining an increasingly crowded local education marketplace.

They bring the total number of charter schools in East Baton Rouge Parish to 25, double the total just three years ago. Charter schools are public schools run by private organizations via charters, or contracts.

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