Teachers might be out of school for the summer, but they aren’t taking a break from education. Thanks to subgrants totaling nearly $350,000 from Oklahoma GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), educators from 14 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 2008 GEAR UP College Access Subgrants of $25,000 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 GEAR UP’s inception, we have worked to ensure all students in Oklahoma are prepared to succeed in postsecondary education,” said State Regents’ Chairman Ronald H. White, M.D. “These subgrants strengthen that mission as teachers are trained to create a college-going culture inside the classroom and local partners create college-going learning opportunities for students and parents outside the classroom.”
The College Access Subgrant program began in 2006. Additional grants will be awarded annually through 2010.
The 2008 recipients include: Byng Public Schools; Canton Public Schools; Dover Public Schools; Eagletown Public Schools; Glenpool Public Schools; Hardesty Public Schools; Ketchum Public Schools; Eisenhower and MacArthur high schools, Lawton; Mangum Public Schools; Muskogee Public Schools; Ringling Public Schools; and Cleveland and Lewis and Clark middle schools, Tulsa.
Subgrant recipients must adopt at least one of the following research-based, student-intervention programs at their sites. These programs help teachers better understand how different students learn. They include:
“By design, we award the GEAR UP College Access Subgrants to provide educators the opportunity to attend workshops in the summer and early fall and to prepare them to implement the learning strategies as quickly as possible for the upcoming school year,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “We are extremely pleased so many schools are taking advantage of the opportunity to utilize these successful methods that help teachers better prepare students for college.”
Additionally, subgrant recipients must also partner with at least one community-based organization and 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. Additionally, school sites must not be previous recipients of GEAR UP funding during 1999-2005.
Click here for more information on GEAR UP 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.