School might be out for the summer, but teachers are continuing to invest their time in student achievement. Thanks to subgrants totaling $287,500 from Oklahoma GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), educators from 16 school districts and sites are attending trainings this summer to learn how to initiate successful education strategies that improve college access and preparation at local levels.
GEAR UP, a federally funded program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, is designed to better 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 2009 GEAR UP College Access Subgrants will help fund professional development for teachers as they adopt new classroom strategies proven to help students learn more effectively. The grants will also provide much-needed funding for student tutoring, mentoring, career exploration programs and ACT prep materials.
Since the College Access Subgrant program began in 2006, GEAR UP has awarded nearly $1.8 million to 77 school districts and sites.
"The GEAR UP College Access Subgrant Program is an integral part of the State Regents’ strategic plan to increase college success in our state and raise the educational expectations of our students,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These subgrants give us the opportunity to equip teachers with training and resources so they can directly educate students about college in their classrooms. Local partners extend those efforts to students and their families by offering college preparation events on a one-on-one level.”
The 2009 recipients include: Agra Public Schools; Amber-Pocasset Public Schools; Broken Bow Public Schools; Crooked Oak Public Schools; Dickson Public Schools; Duke Public Schools; Durant Public Schools; Fletcher Public Schools; Mason Public Schools; Mountain View-Gotebo Public Schools; Putnam City West High School, Oklahoma City; Silo High School; Snyder Public Schools; Thackerville Public Schools; and Turner Public Schools.
All grant recipients received $12,500 to boost local college access efforts by participating in the LOGIC Professional Development Program. The LOGIC program provides 12 days of intensive professional development that focuses on educational leadership, guidance and curriculum. The training is intended for school leadership teams committed to creating a culture of high expectations.
Seven subgrant recipients received an additional $12,500. This money may be used to adopt one of the following research-based, student-intervention programs:
"We appreciate the commitment made by these districts to concentrate on college preparation in their classrooms,” said Johnson. “We are proud of the collaborative efforts between GEAR UP and our schools that are preparing more Oklahoma students and their families for college success.”
Additionally, subgrant recipients must partner with at least one state college or university for local college preparation activities, such as promotion of Oklahoma's Promise; tutoring; mentoring; after-school and Saturday programs; summer programs; college awareness counseling; financial aid counseling; and parental involvement.
To qualify for the College Access Subgrants, school districts must provide services to students in grades seven through 12, must have 50 percent or more of enrolled students eligible for free or reduced lunches and must participate in ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS), a comprehensive testing, guidance and career-planning program developed to strengthen student academic preparation.
For more information on GEAR UP, visit www.okhighered.org/gearup or call 800.858.1840.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Oklahoma with state GEAR UP grants totaling $20.5 million in August 1999 and $20.6 million in August 2005. The grants have been matched by more than $47 million from state and partner resources. With the addition of the 2005 multi-year, federal grant, Oklahoma’s GEAR UP program will ultimately receive more than $45.6 million in federal funds by 2011. GEAR UP receives 49 percent of total funding from the federal government and 51 percent from other organizations.