Founders Story – our history

Opportunity precedes achievement

Equal Opportunity Schools’ mission was born in a high school hallway that divided two friends. A young Reid Saaris was fast-tracked into advanced courses that would prepare him for college. Yet his equally bright best friend, who came from a lower-income background, was relegated to less challenging courses. Saaris went on to college at Duke, Harvard, and Stanford while his friend spent the next decade-and-a-half working to make up for the lost opportunity of advanced-level courses. The impact of that simple scheduling decision haunted Saaris as he went on to become a high school teacher in South Carolina.

As a young high school teacher, Reid helped one of his students switch into advanced-level courses after recognizing that this student was capable of more rigorous coursework. This intervention had a direct impact on the student’s educational trajectory. Inspired by this student, Reid’s initiative to find all the “missing students” doubled the size of his school’s AP and IB program, and tripled the number of African-American students in advanced classes. The success rate for all students on the exams went up by 20%.

In partnership with the College Board, the International Baccalaureate, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Education Trust, Reid conducted in-depth research. The analysis revealed that while African-American, Latino, and low-income students are about as likely as their white or upper-income peers to attend schools that offer AP and IB courses, roughly three-quarters of a million miss out every year. Nearly twelve years ago, Reid began the work to create the best tools, analysis, and services to find and enroll those students. Today, EOS has served nearly 800 schools 250 districts across 33 states with personalized solutions to address the epidemic of missing students from college readiness courses.

For more information, read “Finding America’s Missing AP and IB Students,” an Equal Opportunity Schools collaboration with The Education Trust.

View Reid Saaris’ Bio