Media Contact: Amy Bruce
State Regent Bill W. Burgess announced today the award of $75,000 to Lawton Public Schools to help fund professional development for teachers as they adopt new classroom strategies proven to help students learn more effectively. Also, the money will provide much-needed funding for financial aid education, student tutoring, mentoring, career exploration and parent workshops.
Lawton’s Central, Eisenhower, MacArthur and Tomlinson middle schools and Eisenhower and MacArthur high schools are each being awarded $12,500.
The funds are provided by the State Regents’ college access program GEAR UP, a federally funded program designed to help prepare middle and high school students for college.
“We want every student in Lawton to be successful in pursuing their college dreams. That means providing strong academics in the classrooms, financial aid opportunities, parent education and community support,” said Burgess. “Our schools can’t do it alone, and that’s why the State Regents’ efforts are so important. GEAR UP provides the connections between middle school, high school, college, family and the community that are essential for creating the best educational opportunities for this generation and those to come.”
“We are honored and pleased that federal dollars from the GEAR UP College Access Subgrants are helping provide training and materials in the Lawton school system,” said Oklahoma higher education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “We know these practices are effective in building academic success.”
In addition to providing resources for Lawton’s educators, monies will be used to continue efforts with Cameron University and the Army Partnership with Lawton Area Schools (APLAS). APLAS will provide mentors to students in the areas of reading, writing, math and peer-related cultural issues.
“This funding comes at a most welcome time,” said Barry Beauchamp, superintendent of Lawton Public Schools. “The training and resources provided by these grants will allow our state and local dollars to stretch further during these tight economic times. Investment in our children is the best way to ensure economic recovery and growth for years to come.”
Cameron University’s college access programs, Upward Bound and Open Doors, are a continuing partner in helping prepare Lawton’s students and their families for college success. Cameron staff will present workshops for students and teachers on college prep, entrance requirements, career exploration, and the skills and motivation needed to complete high school and earn a college degree.
“The spirit of cooperation for building a college-going community in Lawton is thriving here,” said Dr. Cindy Ross, Cameron University president. “College success takes more than just commitment from the students and their families. It takes commitment from all segments of the community: schools, the university, businesses, and civic and faith-based organizations. All must work together to strengthen college opportunities for our children.”
“Parents want their children to have a successful future. However, the challenge is often how to help their children reach their goals,” said Chancellor Johnson. “The grants allow us to provide teachers with training and resources to help students and their parents understand that these goals are attainable and that there are many opportunities to maximize their potential. Our community partners broaden these efforts and, in truth, help us create a college-going community for all of Lawton’s students and their families.”
Since 1999, the State Regents’ GEAR UP program has awarded more than $300,000 for college access activities in Lawton.
For more information on GEAR UP, visit www.okhighered.org/gearup or call (800) 858-1840.
View list of funded program descriptions.
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.