GEAR UP in the News

Person High School held the annual Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Office (CACRAO) college fair on Sept. 20 in the auxiliary gym.

The fair provides seniors and juniors the opportunity to stop at different booths and speak with college representatives and get information about the colleges that interest them.

There were a total of 68 colleges from along the east coast. Colleges from North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were represented.

Representatives from each school handed out informational pamphlets and brochures to help students understand what their universities offer as well as their undergraduate expectations.

Kelly Woody, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) coordinator, scheduled the CACRAO college fair.

Science scholars employed by the Smithsonian are presenting interactive lessons to all eighth grade GEAR UP classrooms in Lafayette Parish this week.

The presenters engage students with hands-on science experiments to encourage their curiosity and enthusiasm for science.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federally funded grant initiative that provides students with the skills, access, preparation and information needed to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.

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.


While juniors at Mohave and River Valley high schools have been focusing on the future since seventh grade, last week they began showing what they can do.

National Gear Up Week in the Colorado River High School District was marked by five days of activities, many of which were led by LEGIT mentors — student leaders charged with helping younger students negotiate the path to being prepared for the real world.

Gear Up stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. The Gear Up program’s goal, coordinators Amber Parker-DeWitt and Diane Beardsley said, is to make sure that each student graduates ready for a two- or four-year college, a trade or vocational school, military service or the workforce.

The mentors started the week at Mohave by setting up an obstacle course for their peers as an exercise in leadership and team building.

The Gary School Corp. is one of 11 school districts to benefit from a $24.5 million seven-year college U.S. Department of Education success grant awarded to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and Purdue University.

"Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs," or GEAR UP, will fund a statewide effort to strengthen academic preparation, college readiness and career guidance, beginning at the middle school level.

GEAR UP is a separate program, but aligns with the existing Scholar Success Program (SSP) goals of the Evan Bayh 21st Century Scholars program, according to Jason Bearce, associate commissioner with the ICHE.

High school seniors graduating in May 2017 who are enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars program are the first group to navigate the SSP. They are required to complete 12 activities to net the prized four years of in-state college tuition. The scholarship program is based on income eligibility. The activities are meant to provide a road map for college-bound students.

A multimillion dollar federal grant awarded to Purdue University and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) will help more Indiana students stay on track from middle school to postsecondary education. The statewide effort aims to strengthen academic preparation, college readiness and career guidance with a special focus on students in Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program.

“There’s no learning more important to the individual and collective future of Hoosiers than science and math, but currently there’s no other area in which we are coming up so short. It’s hard to think of another project that fits Purdue’s mission and the needs of our state like this one,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels.

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education will be led by Carla C. Johnson, associate dean for engagement and global partnerships in the College of Education, in collaboration with campus partners from the colleges of Agriculture and Science, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, and Student Success at Purdue.

The grant amount is anticipated to be $3.5 million annually with the allocation totaling as much as $24.5 million over seven years.

Twenty-five high school students were honored in a ceremony in the State Capitol Sept. 20 as part of the first Kentucky GEAR UP Week Celebration. More than a hundred students, parents and educators gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to recognize the GEAR UP Students of the Year for their leadership among their peers, personal accomplishments, and academic achievements.

“Today, we celebrate the next generation of Kentucky’s leaders,” said Bob King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “Programs like GEAR UP are vital in making sure our high school students, especially those who are the first in their family to attend college, are ready to succeed when they graduate – academically, financially, socially and emotionally.”

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federally funded program designed to create a sustainable college-going culture and increase the number of students who stay in school and succeed in postsecondary education.

Mayor Tom Brady honored 425 juniors at Mohave and River Valley High Schools by recognizing the schools’ college-bound GEAR UP program.

GEAR UP stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program” and is a federally funded college access initiative designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to not only attend college but also community college, vocational school, military service and the workforce.

Three GEAR UP students from each high school accepted a proclamation from Brady at City Hall marking Arizona GEAR UP Week in Bullhead City.

“GEAR UP program activities have focused on showing students that further education is more of an expectation than a dream,” Brady’s proclamation noted. He shared how his experience at Southern Illinois University was interrupted when he enlisted in the U.S. Army, returned to finish his bachelor’s degree, and moved to become a graduate assistant at Arizona State University.

He told the students how his education and experience prepared him for three distinct local careers: Mohave County’s first parks director for 19 years, Bullhead City justice of the peace for a decade, and finally, mayor.

Students from Kaimuki, Nānākuli, Wai‘anae and Waipahu High Schools spoke today to the Hawai‘i State Legislature about the college access program GEAR UP and the impact it has had on their success in high school and aspirations for college.

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a college access program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Since its inception in 1999, GEAR UP has improved educational outcomes for millions of low-income students across the United States. This week, Hawai‘i celebrates the success of its GEAR UP programs as part of National GEAR UP Week.

There are three GEAR UP programs in Hawai‘i: GEAR UP Hawai‘i, GEAR UP Waipahu and Holomua GEAR UP. Each program collaborates with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE), the University of Hawai‘i (UH) System as well as the government, nonprofit and private sectors to provide information, encouragement, support, resources and services to over 20,000 students statewide to help eliminate achievement gaps among groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today proclaimed this week as “GEAR UP Week” to recognize the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) initiative, a program funded by the United States Department of Education to help students pursue and achieve some form of education or training beyond high school. This week has been declared “National GEAR UP Week” by program partners across the country.

“GEAR UP is an exemplary program that has had a proven, positive impact in West Virginia,” Governor Tomblin said. “GEAR UP not only encourages students to dream big, but also provides them with the guidance and knowledge they need to turn their dreams into realities. There is no more powerful vehicle for personal betterment and community growth than education. The GEAR UP program empowers our young people to build meaningful lives here in the Mountain State.”

Twenty-five GEAR UP students from high schools across the commonwealth will be honored at 11 a.m. on Tuesday in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort. Awards will be presented for Students of the Year and Promising Appalachian Leaders In Service.

The ceremony, “Celebrating Student Voice,” is the kick-off of Kentucky’s first-ever GEAR UP Week Celebration, recognizing emerging high school student leaders from the GEAR UP programs. Featured speakers include GEAR UP students, Council on Postsecondary Education president Bob King and Aaron Thompson, interim president of Kentucky State University and board chair of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships.

Gov. Doug Ducey declared the week of Sept. 19-23 as Arizona GEAR UP Week in the state.

The proclamation coincides with the celebration of National GEAR UP Week 2016. The week commemorates the continuing success of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduates Programs, a national program intended to help low-income students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college.

Arizona GEAR UP, now in its third round of federal funding since 2000, is currently working with 18 middle schools and 13 high schools in rural communities across the state, bringing the total number of students and their families assisted with preparing, applying and paying for college to more than 12,000.

“Northern Arizona University embraces its commitment to the success of all of Arizona’s young people, and the work of GEAR UP is a great example of that commitment,” said Daniel Kain, NAU vice provost for Academic Personnel and principal investigator for the program.

GEAR UP’s numbers speak to the program’s success. In 2012, the graduation rate for GEAR UP students who had been in the program for six years was 83 percent, compared with a statewide average of 73 percent, and the college enrollment rate was 72 percent, compared with a statewide average of 51 percent.

During GEAR UP Week 2016, GEAR UP school partners have planned special events to celebrate the hard work and the progress students are making towards achieving their life-long dream of going to college.

The Eastern Wyoming College GEAR UP program has implemented a Parent Advisory Board (PAB) to promote the discussion and development of a shared vision of the educational needs of all EWC GEAR UP students. PAB provides a forum for parents to share their opinions and ideas with each other, the school GEAR UP staff, and EWC GEAR UP Director Judy Brown.

The PAB is made up of volunteer parent representatives from each EWC GEAR UP school. Members of the initial PAB are Theresa Wilhem, representing Glendo schools; Melisa Wilhoit, Torrington; and Tori Hunt, Lingle and Southeast schools.

The PAB will attend monthly GU meetings in the school they represent, and offer assistance, advice and feedback to the EWC GEAR UP staff. PAB will aid the GU staff with monthly meetings, set up, notifications and reminders to parents who have students enrolled in the EWC GEAR UP Program, which they are welcome to attend.

PAB will attend tutor training each year to become more informed regarding the GEAR UP program in their school.

Stephanie Lewis and one of her students both cried when he graduated in the spring from South Pittsburg High School in Tennessee, where she teaches English.

He’d done something she admits she wasn’t sure he could: finish high school fully prepared to go right to college.

That’s a feat a surprising number of high school graduates fail to accomplish. Half a million, or about one in four, show up on campuses each fall not ready to take college courses in math or English, according to the advocacy organization Education Reform Now. In Tennessee, only 17 percent of public high school students score at college-ready levels in English, math, reading, and science on standardized tests.

It’s a little-noticed problem that forces these students to relearn material they should have already known, discouraging huge numbers of them from ultimately getting their degrees and costing the nation, by various estimates, between $1.5 billion and $7 billion a year.

But the idea of solving it in high school is as rare as it is seemingly obvious.

“This is how it should be done,” said Alexandra Logue, executive vice chancellor and university provost for the City University of New York, or CUNY, system. “It is, however, more complicated than it sounds. You have to have everyone agreeing on what the standards are. And there are timing issues. When do you find out the student needs this, and how does that connect with when you provide the support?”

High schools in many parts of the country are judged on the proportion of their students who graduate, whether or not those students are ready for college. Surprisingly, scoring “proficient” on state-mandated standardized tests required to receive high school diplomas, also does not necessarily mean that students are prepared for college-level work.

Dispelling the myth that private college is out of reach for all but the well to do, Oregon GEAR UP and The Alliance recently hosted a one-week summer program for rural, low-income students to explore opportunities available at private nonprofit colleges across the state.

Twenty-one current year seniors from nine rural high schools, including two from Woodburn High School, participated at the event hosted at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.

The high school students got a brief taste of college life by staying in Lewis & Clark’s dorms during the week and, during the day, students toured seven campuses and participated in workshops about the college search and application process.

“My biggest takeaway from the camp was I didn’t know how much I didn’t know, but now I’m really well prepared to apply to colleges because the experience was really helpful,” said Kristianna “Kiki” Drum, a senior at Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy.

Drum, 17, said before the camp she didn’t know a lot about private nonprofit colleges other than they are more expensive than state colleges.

“But after going to the camp and visiting all these different colleges around Oregon, I feel I learned a lot more and I’m interested in going to a private college,” she said.