Inc 500 is Bittersweet During Historic Flood

Published on Wednesday, August 17th, 2016 by

To say that this is an exciting time for MasteryPrep would be an understatement.

  1. We’ve helped tens of thousands of students make significant gains on the ACT. Consistently and systemically improving college access and scholarship levels for underserved students across a dozen states.
  2. The schools and school districts across the country with the highest gains on the ACT are MasteryPrep clients. They work hand-in-hand with us to implement programs that work.
  3. Our home state of Louisiana has posted significant ACT gains across the entire state for three years in a row.

We’ve been thanked, celebrated and honored many times by our clients, but our success is always a team effort. We couldn’t do anything without our amazing partners. Our success is a direct result of the administrators, principals and teachers that we are honored to work with in schools large and small across America.

Today we had planned to announce a new award – membership in the Inc 500. Because of the trust that schools and school districts have placed in us, we’re now officially one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Former honorees include Intuit, Zappos and Microsoft. On the 2016 list with us are powerful names such as Square, Dollar Shave Club and Yeti Cooler. How awesome is that!?!

But this honor on this week, and in this state and especially in this city, is bittersweet.

Many of our families, our friends and our customers are currently under siege. As Ancient Mariners and members of the cajun navy know all too well:

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

Despite the devastation all around us, our Baton Rouge office never even missed a beat. MasteryPrep HQ is high and dry – and thankfully so are most, but not all, of our employee’s homes.  We have been operational 24/7 since the waters started to rise Thursday night.

We’re still shipping materials, still answering questions, still coaching, still training, still applauding, still helping, and still working directly with students to help them achieve their dreams of a college degree.

This post isn’t to bring attention to ourselves. It is to bring attention to our customers and friends who need a bit of assistance right about now.

According to official estimates, over 40,000 people have been displaced and the number is still climbing. Dozens of schools have been completely flooded, and for most of them, it is hard to imagine that they’ll be ready to receive students before January.

If you’re reading this post, I hope you’ll consider doing a few things.

  1. Donate to one, or all, of the charities listed below.
  2. Share this post with your organizations’ members, your email lists and your friends.
  3. Ask them to help as well.
A+PEL -The Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (A+PEL), has created a dedicated fund to support teachers who have lost their classroom materials during this year’s horrific flooding. 100% of the donations will be given directly to Louisiana teachers.

EBR Foundation – A gift made to the Foundation for East Baton Rouge School System will be used to support teachers and schools create a positive learning environment during the clean up and recovery.

NEA Foundation – On behalf of the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) and its members, the NEA Foundation is accepting contributions to support public school educators in Louisiana affected by the flooding, personally and at the schools where they work. LAE will coordinate distribution of funds.

Dream Teachers – Louisiana’s incredible Teacher of the Year organization can provide aid directly to teachers.

It’s very likely that more efforts will be launched to directly aid principals, teachers and students. As we find out about them, we’ll add them to this page.

For those of you outside of Louisiana who are wondering what it is like to live through a flood of near-biblical proportions, just keep reading. MasteryPrep is blessed to have a great staff of talented and dedicated individuals. Our staff spent the weekend managing shelters, collecting desperately needed items, and generally just helping out wherever they could.

As you can imagine, it is incredibly frustrating to hear stories of people trapped in houses surrounded by rising flood waters, and our modern 24/7 social media machine allows those stories to be told in real time.  If you’re from Louisiana, and you’ve heard of the internet, you’ve also heard about The Louisiana Flood Rescue Facebook Group. This impromptu organization is the go-to place if you or a loved one urgently need someone to come to your house and rescue you in a boat.

LAFlood-Venice-BoatRideSaturday afternoon I had the unique experience of hitchhiking on a boat that didn’t have a paddle or a motor. It was propelled by a guy standing in the back with a pole. I never got the names of these kind souls, but I’ll be eternally grateful for their assistance.




The infamous Cajun Navy helping us to rescue an employee’s family. A note to anyone who is looking forward to similar adventures: what is exciting and fun during the day, is terrifying once the sun goes down and the water keeps rising.





Live-Oak-High-School-Livingston_Parish-FloodThis is Live Oak High School inundated with water.






There are many, many more pictures and videos across Facebook and the web. You can start here, here or here.

As I’m writing this it has started to rain…

– Charlie

Charlie Davis