Representatives of the University of Oklahoma’s K20 Center for Educational Renewal announced the Center’s receipt of three 2018 GEAR UP partnership awards, totaling more than $68 million in funding over the course of seven years. With these awards, the K20 Center will work directly with 46 schools across Oklahoma, many of which have been deeply affected by issues such as poverty and teacher shortages.
Funding notification was received on Sept. 28, and work began immediately on 2018-19 services for the three projects.
• GEAR UP for the FUTURE is a partnership with 11 urban and suburban schools in seven Oklahoma communities, reaching 4729 students. The project will center around the development of a sustainable college and career readiness culture that supports rigorous curriculum, promotes student achievement and provides students with opportunities to explore an array of postsecondary education options.
• GEAR UP for MY SUCCESS is a partnership with 23 schools in 23 primarily rural Oklahoma communities, reaching 4154 students. The project aims to develop interactive learning communities that establish high expectations and prepare students to excel academically and gain admission to postsecondary education. It will address teacher quality, student performance and student engagement to help close the rural gap.
• GEAR UP OKC is a partnership with 12 schools in the Oklahoma City Public Schools district, reaching 3339 students. It targets whole-school improvement tailored to an urban setting. Project services focus on engaging students with rigorous and relevant instruction, expanding academic supports, increasing student access to adult advocates, and growing the college-going culture.
“With the three 2018 GEAR UP Partnership grants, the K20 Center will have an opportunity to make a significant impact on the quality of education in 46 Oklahoma schools. These grants will help prepare students for success in high school, college, and into their career. At the end of the seven years, the benefits to schools will be sustained for future students for years to come,” said K20 Center Director Leslie Williams.
The K20 Center offers a wealth of innovative and research-validated services to Oklahoma schools and educators, including digital game-based learning, a repository of lessons ready for use in the classroom, and professional development opportunities for teachers and school administrators.
Through its GEAR UP partnerships, the K20 Center aims to provide the students of cohort schools and their teachers, counselors and families with a range of support services to help them prepare students for success in high school, college and career. The structure of supports built during a GEAR UP project remain in place after the project ends so future students will benefit as well.
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education, GEAR UP provides grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school.