November 16, 2009/Parents Support Local Education Efforts
by Completing Leadership Projects
Eagletown High School, Lawton MacArthur Middle School and Warner High School have successfully completed school improvement projects as part of a leadership program that encourages and trains parents to become more effective advocates for their local schools.
The Oklahoma GEAR UP program piloted the statewide Parent Leadership Academy initiative during the 2008-09 school year to help local educators and parents develop partnerships to improve student success.
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 Parent Leadership Academy trains parent volunteers on school data, team building and leadership skills. After training completion, the parent teams are asked to implement projects with $3,000 in grant monies from GEAR UP. The projects must involve other parents, improve student achievement and have a lasting impact in the district.
The Parent Leadership Academy brings schools and parents together to strengthen local education opportunities that in turn build stronger students and communities,” said Oklahoma higher education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Students are more likely to value education and work toward a college degree when they see their families and communities working alongside them encouraging and supporting their college dreams.”
Because of the successful pilot projects, GEAR UP will continue the academy and has named parents from Amber-Pocasset Public Schools; Ardmore Public Schools; Broken Bow Public Schools; Byng Public Schools; Carver Middle School, Tulsa; Crooked Oak Public Schools; Dickson Public Schools; Durant Public Schools; Eagletown Public Schools; Lawton Eisenhower High School; Mountain View-Gotebo Public Schools; and Turner Public Schools as 2009-10 participants.
For more information about the GEAR UP Parent Leadership Academy, visit www.okhighered.org/gearup/parent-leadership.shtml 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.