In the News

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University is leading a multimillion-dollar statewide effort to prepare students for success, from middle school to college.

The U.S.  Department of Education is giving Purdue and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education $24.5 million over seven years for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEAR UP, grant. It closely aligns with the goals of the 21st Century Scholars program.

"The bottom line for this is to get kids from disadvantaged backgrounds into college," said Carla Johnson, associate dean for engagement and global partnerships in the College of Education who's leading the initiative.

Starting this year, Purdue staff members and tutors will work with the same group of seventh-graders from 15 schools around the state until their first year of college, if they attend an Indiana university. They'll focus especially on math, science and literacy skills.

"We’re following kids as they grow," Johnson said, noting the team also will work with teachers and parents.

She said her group will develop new curriculum and lesson plans for seventh-graders, which will be rolled out across the state.

The College of Education will simultaneously research the students through high school to better understand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning, literacy, persistence and entry into post-secondary study and careers.

Lafayette School Corp. is one of the preliminary partnering schools and school corporations. Others include Community Schools of Frankfort, Crawford County Community Schools, Gary Community School Corp., Greater Clark County Schools, Indianapolis Public Schools, Kokomo School Corp., Maconaquah School Corp., Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, Muncie Community Schools and Purdue Polytechnic High School in Indianapolis.

Contact J&C higher education reporter Meghan Holden at mholden@jconline.com. Follow her on Twitter: @MeghanHolden.

Source: Journal and Courier