Polis Institute opens access to charter school education for underserved youth

September 21, 2022 CONRIC PR

ORLANDO, Fla. (Sep. 21, 2022) – Closing the racial wealth gap in America starts with top quality education. At Legends Academy in Orlando, children receive a high-quality STEAM education that prepares them to succeed all the way through to college and beyond. 


Polis Institute, an engagement and research nonprofit, recently partnered with Legends Academy to increase enrollment rates of underrepresented youth at Legends Academy. Working together in a unique collaboration, a charter school and nonprofit engagement and research institute were able to raise awareness among parents about the terrific benefits of a Legends Academy education and to increase enrollment rates for the fall 2022 school year. 


More than a dozen under-resourced neighborhoods were canvassed, and thousands of community parents have discovered more about the opportunities for their children right next door at Legends Academy. 


During this project, Polis Institute was able to provide employment for 14 residents as Community Engagement Ambassadors. They worked together to engage nearly 6,000 households. Polis successfully enrolled 94 new students who will now get to attend one of the highest rated schools in the area.


“This was a unique opportunity allowing us to employ local residents with meaningful work that will have an effect on the community for years to come,” said Dr. Bahiyyah Maroon, Chief Executive Officer at Polis Institute. “Education plays a major role in driving lasting change, and this campaign allowed us to give local residents in under-resourced communities the awareness, access, and ability to provide high-quality education for their children.”


Currently located on the Hope Center West Campus in the Washington Shores community of Orlando, Legends Academy is a highly rated Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) focused charter school with a philosophy centered on the development of a culturally responsive and safe learning environment. 


Through Polis Institute, organizations are equipped with the means to raise awareness and educate residents about opportunities they otherwise would not know are available. They also assist in removing barriers residents face while trying to access these resources. Polis Institute services give people who care about thriving, diverse cities clear paths to build equity, equality, and opportunity. 


“The Polis Institute builds ambassador networks to best serve communities by hiring local residents with similar lived experiences. This ensures equity is built into the process, not just the outcomes. This project allowed us to work alongside an amazing partner, the Legends Academy, to meaningfully grow opportunities for residents together,” said Dr. Maroon


Legends Academy will be relocating and adding more capacity next school year, prompting the call to increase enrollment. In May, Polis hired residents as community engagement ambassadors (CEA) to go door to door and inform families of the openings at Legends and ensure they had full access to attend. For the duration of the summer, the CEA canvassed 14 neighborhoods within a three-mile radius of the new location of the school and walked families through the entire application and enrollment process. 


Legends Academy is a tuition free public charter school for kindergarten through eighth grade students. Any resident who qualifies to attend a regular public school in Orange County may apply. Legends Academy applications are available in the school’s administration office at 3032 Monte Carlo Trail, in Orlando. For more information, please call 407-985-5195, or visit legendsacademy.org


Polis is a 501c3 nonprofit research and engagement institute serving the social good. The Polis Institute’s IDEAL method gives philanthropic, government, and business-based changemakers digital tools to tell stories and track impact in ways that uplift, inspire, and inform. For more information, please visit growopportunity.org.


About Polis Institute

Polis Institute, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, collaborates with national and local partners to deliver community development solutions that work. As a research institute, Polis ensures every voice in every community has the opportunity to be heard and valued. Polis Institute creates community solutions in health equity, economic mobility, housing access, and education-to-career pathways that sustainably creates a better future for all residents. Polis Institute has been recognized for its positive impact nationally and locally. The Institute’s work in Eatonville, Fla. was named in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Award in 2018. CEO, Dr. Bahiyyah Maroon was also named a top ten innovator in the United States for her groundbreaker social science work. For more information, please call 866-757-1334 or visit https://GrowOpportunity.org/.

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