More than 50 state educators from 28 Oklahoma school districts recently met at the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Resource Partner Showcase to gather information about potential resources and resource partners to help them improve student college readiness in their respective districts.
The University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond hosted the daylong event, which was sponsored by GEAR UP and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
"As Oklahoma continues to compete in a knowledge-based society, it is vitally important that all of Oklahoma's youth are prepared for college. If they are successful during college, chances are they will also be successful after college," said Chancellor Hans Brisch. "I applaud these state educators for their efforts and their dedication in helping our young people succeed."
During the showcase, participants heard presentations and visited booths featuring the products and services available from selected resource partners including ACT, HOSTS, Knights of the Guild, the Academy of Reading, Smart Start, Junior Achievement and USA Today, just to name a few. These resource partners can help GEAR UP districts offer new or enhanced programs that strengthen existing classroom activities. For example, a district may need assistance in student testing to personalize career and academic planning, and ACT offers services in that area. In addition, various resource partners offer services in creating a tutoring/mentoring program, increasing reading improvement, recruiting volunteers, implementing a student-based economics program and enhancing a current events curriculum.
The GEAR UP Resource Partner Showcase also provided the participants an opportunity to learn more about the many programs offered by the State Regents, such as Smart Start, ProTeam, and the Math and Science Initiative.
GEAR UP is a federal program designed to better prepare middle and high school students for college through mentoring programs, scholarships, and new academic preparation and awareness programs for students and parents.
Throughout the next five years, Oklahoma GEAR UP will target resources and services to nearly 103,000 students in 180 school districts in Oklahoma. The resources and services will be provided through partnerships among the State Regents, Oklahoma colleges and universities, middle schools, community-based organizations and businesses.
Oklahoma's statewide GEAR UP grant has been matched by more than $25 million from state and partner resources. With funds totaling $45.5 million, GEAR UP receives 45 percent of total funding from the federal government and 55 percent from other organizations.