Iowa College Aid is excited to kick off National GEAR UP Week September 21-25! GEAR UP Week is a great time to highlight some of the GEAR UP Iowa schools. We also want to introduce the GEAR UP Iowa team at Iowa College Aid because their advocacy and hard work supports the schools in their efforts to help students become successful in school and beyond.
GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Iowa College Aid was fortunate to receive our second GEAR UP grant in the fall of 2014. The first GEAR UP Iowa cohort graduated in 2014, and many of those students are starting their sophomore year of college! The GEAR UP Iowa 2.0 grant serves a cohort of students in 12 school districts across the state. That’s about 6,300 students total! It is a seven year grant that will follow the same cohort of students starting in 7th grade, all the way through their first year of post-secondary education. GEAR UP students will receive a modest scholarship upon enrolling in college.
Each GEAR UP Iowa school is required to offer certain services to cohort students, including tutoring, mentoring, college visits, course advising, and family engagement to name a few. Behind all 12 districts is a GEAR UP Iowa team at Iowa College Aid that plays an integral part in helping schools implement services and comply with grant requirements. The team is led by Program Director, Christina Sibouih, and Project Coordinator, Darcie Sprouse. Four staff Facilitators, Tiffany Berkenes, Denise Riley, Flor Slowing, and Nathan Svare, work directly with an assigned set of school districts across the state. Each Facilitator has selected a school district to feature on the blog throughout GEAR UP week. Be sure to check back each day to learn more about the Facilitators and one of their school districts.
We are excited to celebrate GEAR UP schools, and most importantly, GEAR UP Iowa students throughout this week. Follow our celebration through Facebook page and Twitter, and by using #NationalGEARUPWeek, #MyGEARUPStory, #IAmGEARUP, and #GEARUPWorks.
If you are interested in seeing other states that have GEAR UP programs, check out the locator tool available from the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships.