TM Landry – Breaux Bridge, LA (Economics)
There are schools and then there are systems. TM Landry is indeed it’s own system. A system built around Economics and Entrepreneurship. In the 9th Grade, every student is immediately programmed to see themselves as a Business Owner. They are taught to manage millions of dollars at 14 years old. By the time they graduate High School, most of these students already have a Business Plan and own Stocks.
The school is Private but how it began is indeed inspirational. “We never intended to start a school. We went the first 7 years without a name,” said Michael Landry, Co-Founder of TM Landry. “What began as a tutoring program for our own kids evolved into a school.” He and his wife of 17 years, Tracey Landry, founded the school together… thus the name of the school.
“We noticed our oldest daughter was getting A’s in school but she really didn’t comprehend the assignments. She could remember what was necessary to ace the tests. She made A’s but in our eyes, she wasn’t an A student. So my husband and I began tutoring her ourselves,” said Tracey. As their own child improved, other parents trusted them to help secure the same results for their children. Eventually, they realized they weren’t just tutoring kids. They had created a recipe for success.
At Landry, students have Stock Portfolios and they shadow local bankers to learn about Accounting and Investing. “If a student fails, we don’t give them an F. The teacher gets an F. We do not give homework. The whole purpose of our school is to teach them to be ready at all times. So, tests aren’t announced. We expect them to be ready,” said Michael Landry.
The average student carries a 3.6GPA at Landry. One of the requirements of being admitted to Landry is when a student graduates they must come back to Landry as a volunteer mentor to help throughout the year. “We visit our graduates on the college campus. Even while they are in college they are still part of our school,” said Michael.
The school has a ‘year round’ curriculum. “Our students spend the Summer at Yale, Harvard, and Brown,” said Michael. By 11th Grade at Landry they have earned enough credits to actually begin taking college courses. “Our students are only going to college to expand their minds. They are actually tapped into their purpose before they even get to college. We tell them, you aren’t going to college just to get a degree for yourself. You’re going to college for the Pride of the whole community,” said Tracey.
One of the only games allowed on campus is Chess. “Any game that doesn’t prompt them to think is a waste of their time,” said Michael. “We focus on Stocks. They learn how to trade stocks. After college, nobody will care what the score was to a football game. All that will matter is their ability to invest and manage their finances properly. If their parents don’t know how to do it, they can come learn too.”
TM Landry gets no state funding and no federal money. Tuition includes tutoring, supplies, and food. Many of the students don’t leave the campus until 9pm. The reputation of the school is so impressive that they have students who drive as far as Lafayette and Baton Rouge daily and one student even enrolled from as far as New Orleans (3 hours away).
Students shadow local bankers three days out of the month to learn investment banking with real clients. National Investors step in throughout the month to help mentor the students.
“We have two grades in our school… A or F. You either know it or you don’t. We are not interested in being average,” said Michael. Even with a $525 monthly tuition, Landry has more than 150 kids on a waiting list. Obviously, Michael and Tracey Landry have figured out a plan that works. 100% of Landry students are accepted into college each year, all majoring in Mathematics, Physics, Economics, and Accounting. Michael and Tracey understand the struggle for many parents to pay $525 per month so the school tries it’s best to work with parents and some of the students get scholarships from local organizations, business owners, and even churches who are proud of the results they produce.
One strength of TM Landry is that they are a Private platform. Private schools in Louisiana risk losing state funds, which is why they charge for tuition, but the strength is they are not forced to spar with SPS expectations. Many of the state’s private run schools are the few higher performing schools. Maybe it’s because schools with the freedom to focus on the complete need of minority youth understand they must be more than a school. They actually have to be a home.