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GEAR UP Provides Early College and Career Guidance

Seventh and eighth grade GEAR UP students will receive college/career support through first year of college

During their regular December meeting, members of the McCreary County Board of Education were pleased to learn about some of the unique opportunities and early college awareness activities being received by seventh and eighth grade students at McCreary County Middle School as a result of the “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs” (GEAR UP) grant.  Board members listened intently as McCreary County Middle School GEAR UP site coordinator, Sherry Durham, shared information about the program.

According to Durham, the program is funded through a grant received in partnership with Berea College and addresses several objectives.  A primary objective is to provide assistance in the areas of Math and English.  To that end, the grant provides tutors in Math and English along with books, computer programs, scholastic magazines, testing packages, calculators/navigators, computers, and other materials and equipment.

GEAR UP also seeks to increase the high school graduation rate, number of students attending college immediately upon graduation, and number of parents involved in early college/career planning with their children.

In order to meet those objectives, the GEAR UP program provides students with a variety of opportunities designed to make them better aware of potential careers and colleges.  Among other activities, students have thus far attended the Science, Engineering, Mathematics/Texas Instrument Enrichment Camp and visited the Challenger Learning Center.  During eighth grade College Day, groups of students visited a college campus of their choice.  Parents attended a school-based “Road Map to College” seminar and received information about starting early college/career planning with their children.

“Our goal is for all eighth graders to visit a college campus,” Durham emphasized.  “Right now, I only have one student who hasn’t made it on campus.”

The GEAR UP initiative also guides students who are interested in technical, vocational, and other types of post high school education.

The GEAR UP program “moves” with students currently involved and will continue to provide them with college and career awareness opportunities during high school and throughout the first year of college.

In other business, the Board approved several school fundraisers and field trips.  The Board also approved invoices received for the construction of the McCreary Central High School field houses and Middle School Roof Replacement.

The next regular meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education will be January 14, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Office.

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