November 7, 2011/Oklahoma GEAR UP School Districts Named


Twenty-four school districts across the state have been named as Oklahoma GEAR UP School Districts, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education announced. Over the next seven years, the school districts will benefit from localized education services and activities that have been proven to help students better prepare for and succeed in college.

GEAR UP will target education and direct student services locally to 24 rural school districts and 21,170 students in seventh through 12th grade. GEAR UP School Districts include: Ardmore, Caney Valley, Catoosa, Checotah, Davis, Duncan, Elk City, Guymon, Harrah, Henryetta, Hobart, Kingston, Little Axe, Luther, Madill, Marietta, McLoud, Newkirk, Okmulgee, Roland, Sapulpa, Stilwell, Tecumseh, Woodward.

GEAR UP, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federal grant program offered through the U.S. Department of Education to provide opportunities for middle and high school students to acquire the academic skills, planning information, financial assistance and support they need to succeed in college.

Oklahoma was recently awarded a third consecutive, multi-year GEAR UP state grant totaling $34.9 million. The mission of the state grant is to help make Oklahoma communities more of a college-bound population by providing activities, services and information to strengthen classroom learning and student achievement, empower educators and community leaders and educate students and families.

"The announcement that Oklahoma has received its third GEAR UP grant is welcome news at a time when Governor Fallin and other state leaders are pushing hard to increase the number of college graduates in our state,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “This grant is a strong statement from our national education leaders that Oklahoma is making significant progress and is on the right track in helping our students and families better prepare for college.”

GEAR UP School Districts will participate in a variety of research-based services and activities including: professional development for educators that helps strengthen teacher effectiveness and student participation and achievement; curriculum development and evaluation to align classwork with Common Core and college readiness standards; standardized test preparation; free ACT assessments to every 11th grade student; free summer academies in science, math, technology and engineering on college campuses; college and career curriculum for seventh- through ninth-grade students; community outreach and communication services that reinforce college-bound messages; and parent leadership academies that empower parents to become education advocates for their community.

GEAR UP will also continue to provide statewide student services such as the Student Information Hotline, OKcollegestart and GEAR UP websites and continual promotion of the Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship Program.

"In this economy, a college education is more important than ever. This well-deserved grant rightfully recognizes Oklahoma's GEAR UP program as a model for the nation in preparing students for college,” said Congressman Tom Cole, R-Moore. “I'm happy to congratulate the educators, students and parents of the GEAR UP School Districts on this important achievement." 
        
For more information about Oklahoma GEAR UP, visit okhighered.org/gearup or call 800.858.1840.

View GEAR UP Q&A Sheet (PDF, 1.5m)

GEAR UP, a federally funded program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, helps prepare middle and high school students for college through academic preparation programs and scholarships for students, professional development activities for educators and college access information for students and parents.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Oklahoma with state GEAR UP grants totaling $20.5 million in August 1999, $20.6 million in August 2005 and $34.9 million in September 2011. The grants have been matched by more than $48 million from state and partner resources. From 1999 to 2011, GEAR UP received more than $45.6 million in federal funds. With the addition of the 2011 grant, Oklahoma’s GEAR UP program will ultimately receive more than $80.6 million in federal funds by 2018.

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