“Go Big or Go Home” is the mantra of Michael and Tracey Landry, founders of TM Landry College Prep in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.
You may have heard of TM Landry College Prep through national media stories focusing on the 100% graduation rate, with students being accepted by Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Brown, Cornell, NYU, Tulane, and many more colleges, on full scholarships! Videos capturing the students’ joy as they learned they were accepted to the college of their dreams have been posted on TM Landry’s Facebook page and have gone viral, garnering thousands of views and providing an incredibly bright spot on the otherwise bleak outlook for the region’s problematic educational outcomes.
Mike and Tracey are parents who have always wanted the best education for their children. When they realized, however, that their children needed a more effective instructional model than the public schools were able to offer, they started their own homeschool in a garage in 2005.
TM Landry College Prep currently has 175 students enrolled in its open-air building that formerly housed a fabrication facility. The students bring their own lunch, and their parents drive them to school early each day and pick them up at “Dark Thirty” as the school day winds down as the sun has set. The learning institution is run year round, with only a few days allowed off during summer time. Students assist with keeping the facility clean, and are dressed in sharp uniforms which connote deep respect for the mission of this institution of learning.
The model for their instruction is a flexible, Montessori college readiness program that takes into account the individual needs of the student. There are no textbooks, no homework, and no specific class schedule. Students from kindergarten to high school work together and tutor each other to achieve mastery of their subjects. The ‘itty bitties’ learn economic and government principals right alongside the older, high school students. In fact, the week of our interview, the President of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank was dropping by to talk about economics. Very few walls contain the students, and very few boundaries will limit their potential for success.
At TM Landry, you must achieve a 90% or higher score before you can move on. Think about what this means for the future of each student as they move forward when they are ready, and build upon a solid base of skills as they master intense subjects such as Mandarin, Latin, Hindi (a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language), Arabic, Calculus, Physics, and other subjects many of us have never been exposed to!
When asked why there are no traditional extracurricular activities such as sports teams, Mike Landry likes to say, “Why play for the team when you can own the team?” The students are encouraged to “swing for the fences” and to realize that they are “competing for life.”
To learn more about the genesis of TM Landry College and the family of students educated about academics as well as in how the world works, this is one interview you will not want to miss!
Please visit http://www.tmlandrycollegeprep.org for more information on how the educational landscape is being transformed.
In closing, I want to thank Mike and Tracey for their friendship and willingness to share their story. It’s about so much more than education; it’s about love and dedication to their fellow human beings and the potential that has been gifted to each of us if we only explore it. May God bless Tracey, Mike and TM Landry College Prep as they move forward.