Private school offers hope for children living in Gardere community

Click here to see the video and read the full article from NBC 33

BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — In East Baton Rouge, many parents want other options when it comes to educating their children. Magnet or private schools are options, but they’re pricey.

Now, one new private school is solving a lot of parent’s problems in the Gardere community. One woman who moved here a few years ago saw the need for a school for Gardere children, so along with a lot of faith and support, what started as an idea has finally taken flight.

Now, once failing students are succeeding in a private school setup, only for the children of Gardere.

Nancy Zito is the principal of The Gardere School, a school that started out as an idea three years ago, and is now a full-fledged institution.

“I didn’t expect it to blossom so fast I am excited it has because we help the children and families because work w families I visit them in their homes and we pray with them,” said Zito.

With three classrooms, K through 5, the 30 students currently enrolled get a personalized private school education that teachers say has made a huge impact in the student’s lives.

“I have seen tremulous changes to these students they have grown in so many different ways,” said Gardere School teacher, Susan McClain.

Tuition doesn’t seem to be a problem, or a deterrent. Two volunteer hours are required each month, and tuition will reduce an additional five dollar for every extra hour of volunteer work. And with tuition assistance, students can attend Gardere regardless of their financial situation.

“The parents need to be involved we make that clear up front,” said Zito. But where did this idea come from, to start a school from scratch?

“Within the first couple weeks of moving here I drove around and through Gardere and felt the tug for Gardere, I feel in love.”

So she started a tutoring program, then two years later found dedicated teachers, volunteers, and a location. “I just feel in love with the concept for the school and the fact there was a need in the community for the students,” noted McClain.

So now one person’s dream to help a community, is finally coming to fruition. “God put in on my heart to open a private school for the children in Gardere.”

There’s a waiting list this for the school, but with financial support, the sky is the limit. The Gardere School will be moving back into the community in August. They will have room at their new location at the house of repentance church to possibly expand to pre k through 8th grade.