In the News

Five Lebanon schools will share in a $2.6 million, seven-year grant to help low-income students get ready for college.

The money is coming from the U.S. Department of Education’s GEAR UP program, an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. It’s meant to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who have the skills to enter and succeed in a post-high school education program.

Starting with students in seventh grade, GEAR UP follows them over seven years to meet specific educational needs. Tutoring, financial literacy, financial aid forms, college tours and parent programs are among the services provided.

Lebanon is among 21 school districts statewide to share in the grant, and the only one in Linn County. Sweet Home previously had a six-year GEAR UP grant that expired last year.

Oregon GEAR UP also serves 14 additional middle and high schools in Coos, Curry and Douglas counties that are supported by The Ford Family Foundation. Since 2002, the GEAR UP program has supported more than 32,000 students in 83 schools.

In Lebanon, Assistant Superintendent Ryan Noss said the district anticipates receiving about $40,000 per year for the next seven years. That money will be used to develop programs for seventh-graders at Lacomb School, Pioneer School, Hamilton Creek School and Seven Oak Middle School, and will stretch to Lebanon High School once those students enter ninth grade.

Noss said the district hasn’t determined how best to use the funds yet, but a team is attending a GEAR UP training on Oct. 10 to learn more.

Lebanon’s GEAR UP program will have six overall goals and outcomes:

• Reach higher through policy, climate and teacher expectations for students.

• Promote all forms of post high school education.

• Set high standards and help students achieve them, particularly through better performance in algebra and other targeted areas.

• Develop more school-career connections and student understanding of how they connect.

• Develop connections with families, colleges and community organizations that promote post high school education.

• Foster awareness of, and access to, college preparation, selection, admissions and financial systems.

Jennifer Moody is the education reporter for the Democrat-Herald. She can be reached at 541-812-6113 or jennifer.moody@lee.net.

Source: Albany Democrat-Herald