TULSA, Okla. -- Isabela Sida said after years of bullying she looked at a new option: a charter school with a focus on STEM.
The 8th grader tells 2 Works for You as she learned skills in science, technology, engineering and math she found a new community with her classmates.
"Everyone feels accepted here and they don't see people as different as them. They're always happy to be kind to someone else. They're not forced to be kind, they want to be kind," Sida said.
Only three years after opening, Collegiate Hall now sees a need for expansion. What's currently a 4th to 8th grade campus will grow to serve all elementary levels by 2020.
"What we have heard from companies in Tulsa is that they could hire virtually every STEM graduate from every college and still need more," founder Nikhil Kawlra said.
The students said it's night and day from their public school experience, and the teachers are helping them to create a plan for their future.
"It makes me want to do better because knowing that my teachers believe in me and that they want success out of me... I want success out of myself as well," Sida said.
The average 8th grader was two grade levels behind when they started at this charter school. Now they're in the top five percent for science nationwide, and the staff expects even more growth as younger students step on campus.
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