CHARDON, OH--(Marketwired - Jun 6, 2017) -  Rustic Pathways, the leading provider of authentic travel, service learning, and adventure programs for young adults, today announced it has expanded its partnership with Thrival Academies to bring international travel experiences to more low-income public school students starting in July 2017. With the recent approval from the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of Education, a 20 student pilot program for Thrival Academies will launch this fall, and Thrival is on track to launch Thrival Academy: Indy, an Innovation Network School in Indianapolis, in fall 2018.

"Rustic Pathways is committed to creating a world where travel is an essential part of every education," says Chris Stakich, CEO of Rustic Pathways. "Often international education is only available to higher-income students. Through this partnership, we are able to send students to Thailand to engage in a rigorous academic program, with the added benefit of deep cultural immersion, for the same cost of sending them to school in their home towns. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Thrival Academies, not only in Oakland but in Indianapolis as well."

The expansion into Indianapolis stems from the success of Thrival Academies' Oakland flagship site, where in the 2016-2017 school year in partnership with Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Eleven Oakland high school juniors participated in the personalized, credit-bearing, and globally-focused academic program that included three months of study abroad in South East Asia. After completing their program abroad in April 2017, Oakland Thrival students have flourished and demonstrated tremendous growth socially and academically this year, including an average of two years of reading growth across the cohort. This academic growth, bolstered by student testimonials that express personal growth, indicates that this educational program model is a transformative opportunity for traditionally underserved youth.

This extension of Thrival Academies with Rustic Pathways will bring an extraordinary opportunity to students in underserved areas, who otherwise may not have the chance to travel outside of their cities. The students will gain critical non-cognitive skillsets including empathy, grit, confidence, creative thinking, problem solving, and self-awareness.

"It has been incredible to see the impact of our educational program model this year," says Emma Hiza, Executive Director of Thrival Academies. "I am grateful to our staff, students, and families for their efforts this year and to Oakland Unified School District for their partnership. We are thrilled to be expanding to Indianapolis next year to continue to serve more students and families and look forward to working in other cities in the future. The successes of our Oakland pilot and the launch of our Indianapolis expansion site are important first steps in our work to create a scalable solution to bring equity into study abroad."

Through their globally focused, interdisciplinary curriculum, students in the program will not only earn a full year of their required high school credits, but also study abroad for three months of the school year through Thailand and Laos. Students engage in a rigorous, culturally immersive, project-based, and experiential curriculum throughout the year. The program model helps students take charge of their own learning and engage in a culturally responsive education abroad.

About Rustic Pathways
Education. Travel. Philanthropy. Believing in the transformative power of travel for the past 30 years, Rustic Pathways offers students more than 100 opportunities across 21 countries, including summer travel, spring break, gap year, college, and Critical Issues programs. These programs give students the opportunity to travel and give back to the local community during their personal time. As a result, in 2016, Rustic Pathways impacted 37,491 lives around the world. For more information, visit

About Thrival World Academies
Thrival World Academies is a network of study abroad public high schools providing students from underserved communities access to personalized and culturally immersive education abroad. For more information, visit