In the News

By CHARLES ROMANS For The Independent

LLOYD Education can be seen as both the means to an end and the end itself.

The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake is still a valid pursuit, but it is the application of that knowledge that enriches lives both individually and collectively as a society. Given that, education in all of its forms must evolve in order to keep pace with the needs and requirements of life within society.

In most cases this equates to a tangible result — a job or career — when the education is completed. And in order for education to be truly successful and yield the maximum result it must be tailored to the individual pursuing that education.

Programs such as Take the Lead and Gear Up are designed to help high school students become college and career ready.

Sarah Wilkerson, College and Career Advisor at Greenup County High School, said that parents, guardians, and anyone working with school age children would benefit from the Take the Lead program because it helps them learn how to prepare students for education beyond high school. The program is online, and helps with researching colleges, education, and tuition costs and payment options, including Federal Financial Aid. The school hosted a parent’s night for Take the Lead, and Wilkerson said that parental response was encouraging.

Take the Lead was created as a resource through the Gear Up program, a six-year grant program funded through the U.S. Department of Education, and stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. It serves 30 middle schools and 22 corresponding high schools in Kentucky, and Boyd and Greenup counties participate.

“We meet twice a month at the high school level,” Wilkerson said. “We have classes about study skills, interviewing, and things like that. Even just knowing the different types of colleges and having a plan for each one is important. Not every student wants to go to a four year college. Maybe they want to go to a two year college and get a degree, and then they are ready to go to work. The school’s business is really helping the students be college or career ready,” Wilkerson said. “We need to help them find what they want and how to get it.”

“One of the things that we have tried to do here at the school over the last few years is build a culture of college and career readiness,” GCHS Principal Jason Smith said. “The Gear Up program is very good for that. Having conversations with the students about benchmarks, what the assessments look like, and all of the things involved in going on to college is very beneficial. It’s been an important aid for us to show the kids that it is possible, that it is within reach, and that it is worthwhile. And one of the most important pieces of the Gear Up program is the advising piece,” Smith said. “It gets the kids involved in every aspect of the process to better prepare them for their educational future.”

On Monday, representatives from ACTC met with Greenup High School Seniors in the GCHS media center to discuss educational possibilities beyond high school. In step with the goals of Gear Up, ACTC Admissions Advisor Jim Jagielo said that it was never too early to plan for college.

“I was at Summit Elementary recently working with fourth- and fifth-graders,” Jagielo said. “You really want to begin as early as you can talking with parents, teachers, and counselors. They are the people who know the students and can help them best. “

“Parents need to be very involved in their children’s college plans,” ACTC Student Activities’ Oreatha Murray said. To that end Murray facilitated bringing ACTC staff and faculty in Advising, Financial Aid, and various programs to help both parents and students become more comfortable with the process and the possibilities of attending college.

“The process of navigating a college is hard sometimes, so we want to get them into orientation if we can, help them with test scores if needed, and help them with their fafsa — whatever they need to succeed in college.”

The goal of Gear Up and other similar programs is to prepare students for future success by investing resources and engaging students in their future early, and eliminating as many obstacles to that success as possible.

Source: The Independent