GEAR UP Subgrant will help strengthen college access in Lawton - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

GEAR UP Subgrant will help strengthen college access in Lawton

Press Release_Lawton educators may be out of the classroom, but their minds are still on school improvement as they have spent part of their summer vacations attending trainings to learn how to initiate successful education strategies that will improve college access and preparation in their school district this fall.

Lawton Public Schools, in partnership with Cameron University and the Army Partnership with Lawton Schools (APLAS), is launching two subgrant projects at the high school level, "GEAR UP Eisenhower" and GEAR UP MacArthur," to strengthen college access and preparation, thanks to two subgrants totaling $50,000 from Oklahoma GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs).

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.

GEAR UP awarded a total of nearly $350,000 to 14 school districts and sites across Oklahoma to 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 Lawton GEAR UP projects will implement two research-based, student-intervention programs designed to help teachers better understand how different students learn: Ruby Payne's "A Framework for Understanding Poverty," which trains teachers in strategies for supporting children and parents who live in poverty, and LOGIC, a sequence of workshops designed to provide 12 days of intensive professional development that focuses on educational leadership, guidance and curriculum. 

"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 Lawton Public Schools is taking advantage of the opportunity to utilize these successful methods that help teachers better prepare students for college."

In addition, the GEAR UP programs will work with other college access programs, such as Upward Bound and Open Doors, to help host college preparation workshops for students and parents. In addition, Cameron University will provide professional development on working with students who will be the first in their family to attend college, and APLAS will provide mentors to students in the areas of reading, writing, math and peer-related cultural issues.

The College Access Subgrant program began in 2006. Additional grants will be awarded annually through 2010.

Other 2008 recipients include: Byng Public School; Canton Public Schools; Dover Public Schools; Eagletown Public Schools; Glenpool Public Schools; Hardesty Public Schools; Ketchum Public Schools; Mangum Public Schools; Muskogee Public Schools; Ringling Public Schools; and Cleveland and Lewis and Clark middle schools, Tulsa.

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.

For more information on GEAR UP, visit www.okhighered.org/gearup or call 800.858.1840.

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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.

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