Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that Virginia is one of just ten states recently awarded federal funds through the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), sixteen school districts in Virginia were selected to participate in the program. Montross Middle School is one of the grant recipients.
“Expanding access to post-secondary education in every corner of the Commonwealth is key to building a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe in a recent press release. “These grants will help my administration work with schools and communities to prepare more low-income students to get the skills and training they need to succeed in the 21st Century economy.”
GEAR UP Virginia (GUV) will begin offering college preparatory and skills development to the selected cohort of current 7th grade students at 29 middle schools in 16 school districts beginning in February, 2015. The grant will allow for these students to receive support from seventh grade through their first year of college.
There are five major goals and objectives within the GEAR UP program; 1) increase the academic performance and college preparation of the GUV students; 2) increase the number of students in rigorous courses; 3) increase knowledge of college and financial aid among students and their families; and 4) improve college readiness rates; and 5) increase college enrollment rates.
Additionally, there are four benchmark objectives; 1) increase the rate of students passing pre-Algebra and Algebra I by the 9th grade; 2) increase college readiness rates as defined by the ACT and other indicators; 3) increase the number of students taking the SAT and ACT tests; and reduce the need for college course remediation. There are 5,948 projected students in the cohort (current 7th graders) who will be served by the seven year grant. Montross Middle School has 124 students in the cohort group.
Patty Kelly Long, District GEAR UP Administrator, Jane Geyer, Montross Middle School Principal, and Eddie Bowen, Montross Middle School Assistant Principal have been meeting in preparation of the kick-off of the GEAR UP program. One of the key elements of the program’s success is parent/guardian participation. With the grant’s assistance, the Class of 2020, will begin an exciting educational journey starting in February with a GEAR UP Kickoff Dinner for the seventh grade class and their parents/guardians. At the dinner, each child and parent will receive important information on the GEAR UP program, explanation of the competitive GEAR UP scholarship and grant opportunities, planned field trips, summer programs, college visits, financial programs, and family work sessions.
The GEAR UP program has a history of being successful. The previous GEAR UP class of 2012 has proven that the program works. Many of its graduates are successfully attending college and were the recipients of GEAR UP grants and scholarships.
Source: Northern Neck News