Welcome to the NCCEP newsroom!  Click on the links below to read the latest news from NCCEP and GEAR UP. 

“When you come from a small town, college seems like such a far way away,” says Globe High School graduate Tim Wiley. Wiley was Globe High School’s valedictorian when he graduated in 2012 and this May he graduated from ASU with a degree in exercise and wellness. He is a passionate advocate for bringing educational opportunities to rural areas like Globe-Miami and recently traveled to Washington DC as part of the Gear-up Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA) to bring that message to national and state leaders.

“We don’t have the same opportunities that people in Scottsdale have […] and we should,” says Wiley. Wiley was part of the 2012 Gear-up class at Globe High School. Gear-up is a federally-funded program that seeks to increase the number of students who are prepared for and succeed in higher education. Connie Callaway, Gear-up Coordinator at Globe High School, follows a class of students from seventh grade to graduation every six years. According to Callaway, the Globe Gear-up program is a partnership between Globe High School and Gear-up.

Waipahu High will welcome its Class of 2020 in a big way on Monday, August 1, 2016. The Freshmen First Day Orientation will be assisted by UH Mānoa GEAR UP Waipahu, a federally funded program designed to help students in Waipahu High's Class of 2020 get to college.

Emcees of the program at Waipahu High will include 102.7 Da Bomb radio DJ Kristlyez and actor/drama educator Jonah "Mox" Moananu. Keynote address will be given by Kristine Uyeno, KHON news anchor and Waipahu High alumna.

Goals of the event are to welcome incoming freshmen to Waipahu High, encourage them to take advantage of the myriad opportunities while in high school and to make good, positive life choices. In addition, the event will help spread the message that early college awareness and preparation can result in access to and success in higher education.

Two Washington & Lee High School GEAR UP students, Hazen Shryock and Destiny Crockett along with their parents, Julia Shryock and Towanda Smith, represented the Virginia delegation at the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) conference in Washington, DC on July 17-20, 2016.

The students were selected by their 8th grade teachers at Montross Middle School to attend the Youth Leadership Summit (YLS). The YLS provides a high quality, national–level interactive training experience and peer-to-peer learning opportunity for 9th-12th grade high school students who are currently participating in GEAR UP programs. This year 150 students were selected from across the United States and Guam to attend.

Central Washington University has geared up to host Washington Business Week (WBW) students for the 40th consecutive year. The annual summer program (July 25-29), sponsored by the Association of Washington Business, helps high school students prepare to enter the workforce through teaching them business skills, while instilling in them the confidence and honing the values they need to succeed.

WBW serves more than 3,000 teens annually, from throughout the state, through summer camps and in-school community programs. They feature businesses leaders and working professionals, from a variety of careers such as advanced business, construction, healthcare, and manufacturing.

In Ellensburg this year, about 190 students will be involved in a program that will feature agriculture and energy tracks. Many of them are from GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) from the Brewster, Easton, Highland, Lake Chelan, Manson, Omak, Oroville, Quincy, Richland, Tonasket, and Wenatchee school districts.

The CWU GEAR-UP partnership serves 5,400 middle and high school students in those school districts.

In late June, about 275 rising ninth-graders from several Virginia middle schools participated in two GEAR UP Virginia Power of Youth camps at the University.

GEAR UP — Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs — provides various programs such as tutoring, mentoring and summer camps to encourage young kids to attend college. GEAR UP is funded by a federal grant given to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Marcus Martin, University Vice President and Chief Officer For Diversity and Equity, said his office, the Virginia-North Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation, or VA-NC Alliance, and the Center for Diversity in Engineering also provided financial support to accommodate the two camps’ stay.

“My office is interested in diversifying [the] student body — especially low-income and first-generation college students — so the perfect program for us to assist with is GEAR UP,” Martin said.

Martin said he was delighted to welcome students from the school that he attended in his hometown of Covington, Virginia.

“These were low-income and disadvantaged kids, and they got excited to see the University and energetic about potentially going to college,” Martin said.

University of Nevada, Reno senior Alexes Garrett was selected from a national pool of applicants as part of an elite group of 24 students to take part in the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy. GUALA recently afforded Garrett the opportunity to attend a training session in Washington, D.C. where she and her cohorts learned how to advocate for the program and current GEAR UP students.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEAR UP, is a discretionary grant program set up by the federal government to increase the population of low-income students prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The aid comes in the form of six-year grants given to high-poverty middle and high schools.

Garrett entered GEAR UP as a seventh grader in Las Vegas, Nevada. Participating in GEAR UP during her time in middle school influenced her decision to attend Northwest Career and Technical Academy, a magnet school, instead of her zoned high school, according to Garrett.

The SOEST Maile Mentoring Bridge program strives to recruit and retain Native Hawaiian and kamaʻāina undergraduates in ocean, earth and environmental science degree programs at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). In May, the first cohort of Maile students—Charles “Aka” Beebe, Kanani, Lhiberty Pagaduan and Diamond Tachera—earned bachelor’s degrees with the support and encouragement of their mentors.

“Native Hawaiians and kamaʻāina are underrepresented in the ocean, earth and environmental sciences. Which is really unfortunate because Hawaiʻi kids often have strong cultural, family or personal connections to the local environment,” said Postdoctoral Researcher Tiffany Anderson, Maile Mentoring Bridge co-manager and one of about a dozen mentors. “Many times, they are also the first in their families to pursue higher education in science, and can really benefit from the experience of someone who has already gone through the program.”

Vermont Student Assistance Corp has announced it will award over $700,000 in scholarships to college-bound seniors who graduated from high school last month. Funded by VSAC’s federal GEAR UP grant, each of these 350-plus high school graduates who enroll at a postsecondary institution in the fall will receive the $2,000 scholarship. GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federal grant program of the US Department of Education designed to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

VSAC has been awarded the GEAR UP grant since 1999 and its counselors worked with more than 3,100 middle and high school students one-on-one and in small groups in 52 schools across the state this past year. GEAR UP funding also allows VSAC to provide support to parents in the form of high school and college planning information, assistance with college and financial aid applications and career planning information for their children.

“Congratulations to these high school graduates; they are taking the most important step in their future – continuing their education,” said Scott Giles, VSAC president and CEO. “VSAC knows the cost of continuing their education for these students is a big investment. VSAC’s partnership with high schools and students helps unlock career paths and financial aid to make those investments pay off.”


Grant funding provides Troy students with summer programs

Last week at Troy High School, a two-week summer roller coasters and skate parks class began, and at the W.F. Morrison Elementary a group of elementary school students spent a day at The Jurassic Quest Dinosaur Exhibit in Missoula.

The GearUp (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness of Undergraduate Programs) seven-year long grant allowed Cory Andersen, who has been teaching science at Troy Middle and High school for nine years, to teach a summer course on skate parks and roller coasters.

Over the past three years, the Libby School District received approximately $700,000 in grant funding. This year, the schools received $97,000 from the GearUp grant.


DESOTO—The DeSoto ISD GEAR UP program is excited to partner with Best Buy and the Geek Squad Academy to bring the Geek Squad Academy to DeSoto High School June 22 and 23 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Academy features two full days of fun and interactive, hands-on experience with new and cool technology. DeSoto ISD and GEAR UP do not want just to tell our students about the future of technology; we want to show them and spark their inner creativity and flare for innovation.

Now in its 10th season, Geek Squad Academy from Best Buy provides teens opportunities where they can develop tech skills that will inspire future education and career choices. To accomplish this, Geek Squad Academy partners with local non-profits and other organizations to expose students ages 10-18 to the latest technology in a fun, interactive setting. With local Geek Squad agents and Best Buy Blue Shirts hosting classes such as Robotics and Circuitry, Coding, Film Production, Photography, 3D Design, Digital Music, and more, teens build friendships and self-confidence, utilize their own creativity and innovation, and discover how technology can benefit them in school now and in their work lives later.

In 2014, DeSoto ISD was only one of two Texas institutions and the ONLY K-12 Texas district to receive the prestigious GEAR UP grant from the U.S. Department of Education. GEAR UP – Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs – serves a cohort of 1,400 students from all three DeSoto ISD middle schools through DeSoto High School.