Public Relations Specialist Patty Long, gave the School Board a progress report on the students who are going through the Gear Up program. This is the second Gear Up program that Westmoreland County Schools has participated in.
Gear up stands for, gaining early awareness and readiness for undergraduate programs. Virginia was one of 10 states awarded funds through the federally funded Gear Up grant in 2014. Westmoreland was one of 15 school divisions in Virginia to be awarded the grant from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. (SCHEV).
The program was offered to students attending 7th grade in 2014 and will continue for the students in that group through the first year of college.
The program offers many educational tools for the students in the Gear up group to help them prepare and be successful in entering college. Students are made aware of college options, funding sources and tour college campuses.
Some of the academic benefits include family services such as access to financial aid and scholarship seminars, family nights, college visits, help in applying for FAFSA as well as college, academic and career planning with no cost to the students or families.
Student services include membership in tutor.com, after school tutoring, mentoring, SAT/ACT testing preparation, summer programs and AP/Honor and dual enrollment class support.
Although the program only follows a cohort of students who were enrolled in 7th grade during 2014 there are benefits to the school through college prep training for faculty that can be used to help other students.
Out of the Gear Up cohort, last year 14 students from Westmoreland were selected to attend leadership camp called Coolspeak at Old Dominion University. This year 11 students attended Coolspeak camp at the University of Virginia.
Two of the students enrolled in the Gear Up program Hazen Shryock and Destiny Crockett were selected to represent Virginia Gear Up at the National Council for Community Education Partnerships Conference in Washington D.C. The students received a four day leadership training separate from the training their parents and faculty received. Their mothers attended the December 19 Westmoreland School Board Meeting and shared successes their kids have gained from the program.
Destiny Crocketts mom, Mrs. Smith said she appreciates everything the program has done for her daughter. “She was always a leader but after the summit she just excelled.” Smith said she doesn’t procrastinate and she is focused on getting the steps completed to enter college.
Source: Westmoreland News