GEAR UP Local Education Agency Representatives Attend 2015 Partnership Meeting

Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program hosted its annual partnership meeting for area school teachers, counselors and administrators on October 7.

Eighty–four representatives from 27 partner schools, Eastern Oklahoma State College staff, representatives from Texas Instruments, ACT, and GEAR UP team members attended the partnership meeting to learn about programs and resources available to GEAR UP students, teachers and parents for the 2015–2016 school year.

“The annual meeting is a wonderful time to get everyone together to review progress in achieving the grant’s goals,” GEAR UP Project Director Linda Morgan said. “We appreciate the superintendents, principals, counselors and lead teachers who took time out of their busy schedules to attend. The meeting is required by the US Department of Education.”

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal grant program designed to meet the needs of low-income, underserved, and underrepresented students in geographically-isolated, rural schools in six southeastern Oklahoma counties. Eastern was awarded $12.6 million grant over a seven-year period to serve a cohort of students in 30 partner schools.

“We are in the fifth year of the GEAR UP for Success grant, serving over 2,300 tenth and eleventh grade students,” Morgan said. “We started with this group of students in 2011 when they were in the sixth and seventh grades and will follow them through their high school graduation and first year of college.”

The goal of the grant is increase student academic performance, increase high school graduation rates, increase completion of postsecondary education, improve opportunities for teacher professional development and improve parental involvement.

Participants heard from Texas Instruments Math Specialist Doug Roberts, LeFlore principal and math teacher Tracy Loyd and Panama science teacher Liz Belcher. Loyd and Belcher talked about how the implementation of the TI Navigator system and handheld technology into their classroom has revolutionized their teaching.

Judy Trice, ACT Senior Accounts Manager/ACT Client Relations, presented information about the ACT Aspire test and an update on the ACT test.

Morgan reviewed activities completed during the 2014–2015 academic year as well as revealing new programs for the coming year. The GEAR UP staff will teach a new curriculum a curriculum particular to 10th and 11th grade students. 10th grade students will learn College Awareness & Planning, about Oklahoma’s Promise, Extracurricular Interests & Activities, Time Management & Curriculum & Testing. 11th grade students will talk about Goal Setting, The College Search, The Cost of College; Time Management and My College Match.

In addition, GEAR UP sophomores will have the opportunity to attend an ACT review workshop presented by Chad Cargill, a known expert in test preparation. GEAR UP will pay the registration fee.

The grant provides services such as tutoring, mentoring, career planning and advisement for students and parents, on-going professional development for teachers, college financial aid workshops, ACT test preparation, summer camps, and educational and cultural field trips.

Area schools participating in Eastern’s GEAR UP for Success program include Antlers, Atoka, Bokoshe, Buffalo Valley, Canadian, Clayton, Crowder, Haileyville, Hartshorne, Indianola, Keota, LeFlore, McAlester, McCurtain, Moyers, Panama, Panola, Pittsburg, Quinton, Rattan, Red Oak, Savanna, Spiro, Stringtown, Talihina, Whitesboro and Wilburton.

  Photo IDs

Atoka County
Beth Buretta, Stringtown; Rick Heard, Stringtown; Ernest Michaelis, Atoka; and GEAR UP Education Coordinator Natalie Kennedy.

Haskell County
Richard Reed, Keota; Veronica Lovell, McCurtain; Cydney Meglemre, Keota; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Dara Self; Chad Harp, Keota; and Deward Palmer, McCurtain.

Latimer County
Front Row: Ashley Colbert, Panola; Christy Bryan, Red Oak; GEAR UP Education Coordinator LaDonna Baldwin; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Melissa Juarez; Diana Hames, Buffalo Valley; and Trina Renfrow, Red Oak. Back Row: Brad Corcoran, Panola; Carmen Harkins, Wilburton; Gary Lay, Wilburton; John Long, Red Oak; Justin Kennedy, Buffalo Valley; Bryan Deatherage, Red Oak; and Jerry Mathews, Buffalo Valley

LeFlore County
Front Row: Ashley Gravitt, Talihina; Suzie Cormier, LeFlore; Celia Abernathy, Bokoshe; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Melissa Juarez; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Dara Self; Julie McClain, Talihina; and Trudy McKinney, Spiro.
Back Row: Maria Carden, Talihina; Tracy Loyd, LeFlore; Larry Greenwood, Spiro; Don Atkinson, Spiro; Katie Blagg, Whitesboro; and Melissa Darneal, Spiro.

Pittsburg County
Front Row: Patti Tucker, Crowder; Brandie Kirkes, Haileyville; Tani Scott, Haileyville; Jennifer King, Hartshorne; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo; Gina Hernandez, Indianola; Peggy James, Pittsburg; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Natalie Kennedy; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Lori Douglas; Bonnie Weeks, McAlester; and Kelli Hopper, Canadian.
Back Row: Robert Florenzano, Crowder; Preston James, Crowder; Mark Ichord, Hartshorne; Mike Reddick, Hartshorne; David Smith, Canadian; Dane Lemons, Quinton; Mark Baumann, Indianola; Gary Reeder, Savanna; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Ron Sullivan; Wesley Wood, Pittsburg; Brad Kellogg, Savanna; and Roger Hemphill, Haileyville.

Pushmataha County
Cary Ammons, Antlers; GEAR UP Education Coordinator LaDonna Baldwin; Shari Pillow, Rattan; Donna Dudley, Moyers; Melinda Martin, Antlers; Lavada Morris, Clayton; Ramonia Davis, Clayton; Marcia Armstrong, Moyers; and Neil Birchfield, Rattan.