Sharing the GEAR UP Iowa Story
Welcome to the first edition GEAR UP Iowa newsletter – our venue for sharing the GEAR UP Iowa story with GEAR UP Iowa scholars, parents, administrators, teachers, and partners across our great state. Moving forward, future editions of the GEAR UP Iowa newsletter will be available online quarterly.
GEAR UP Iowa scholars, parents, administrators, teachers, and partners are encouraged to submit content for future editions of the GEAR UP Iowa newsletter. Photos, articles, and letters related to GEAR UP Iowa should be submitted via email to: email@example.com no later than the first Friday of each month for inclusion in that month’s edition. Photos, articles, and letters that arrive after the first Friday of the month may be submitted for inclusion in the following month’s edition.
Reaching Out to GEAR UP Iowa Scholars
In GEAR UP Iowa communities across the state, cohort scholars learn details of the program through student assemblies known as GEAR UP Iowa 101. GEAR UP Iowa 101 sessions typically last 30 – 45 minutes and are the first step toward delivering the message that with the help of GEAR UP Iowa, all students in the cohort can enter and succeed in post-secondary education after graduation from high school in 2014. GEAR UP Iowa 101 challenges students to begin thinking about what they hope to accomplish after high school graduation. These sessions unveil the tools GEAR UP Iowa will provide cohort students as they progress toward graduation through the carefully crafted plans of GEAR UP Iowa school district and building staff. Cohort students are encouraged to “work hard, make the right choices to stay out of trouble, and dream big.” GEAR UP Iowa 101 delivers students the message that if they will commit to those three guiding principles, GEAR UP Iowa, school administrators, counselors, and teachers will help all GEAR UP Iowa cohort students progress toward graduation in 2014 while helping them find the post-secondary pathway toward realization of those big dreams.
In addition to GEAR UP Iowa 101 sessions, many cohort students have benefitted from the outreach efforts of GEAR UP Iowa Partners across the state. Students in many communities have already made visits to GEAR UP Iowa Partner college and university campuses. A special thanks to GEAR UP Iowa Partners iJAG, Western Iowa Technical Community College, Iowa Western Community College, Buena Vista University, Iowa State University, and Drake University for playing a large part toward making many of our cohort student campus visits happen. Future campus visits are in the works and before the end of their 8th Grade year, a great majority of GEAR UP Iowa cohort students will enjoy visits to the aforementioned partner colleges and universities as well as visits to the campuses of Hawkeye Community College, GEAR UP Iowa Partners Grandview University, Graceland University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa. GEAR UP Iowa staff will continue visiting other colleges and universities across Iowa to provide additional GEAR UP Iowa Partnerships that will help students envision pursuit of their dreams and their futures at Iowa post-secondary institutions.
Reaching Out to GEAR UP Iowa Cohort Parents and Guardians
GEAR UP Iowa staff realized early on that the most important partners working toward realization of program goals are the parents and guardians of GEAR UP Iowa cohort students. Nationally it has been stated that 95% of middle and high school students will look to their parents and guardians as the number one trusted source when it comes to answering questions about post-secondary education. It has also been stated that less than half of the parents and guardians of middle and high school students in the United States have ever set foot on a college campus. While the second statement may not be the case in Iowa, the first statement drives home the point that GEAR UP Iowa must empower parents and guardians with knowledge to answer their students’ questions about post-secondary education as our cohort progresses toward high school graduation in 2014. With that in mind, GEAR UP Iowa has developed a plan to engage parents in all 18 GEAR UP Iowa communities.
The first step toward empowering parents through GEAR UP Iowa engagement has occurred in GEAR UP Iowa school districts via GEAR UP Iowa Parent Kickoff events. These events are essentially GEAR UP Iowa 101 sessions that offer much more detail regarding the GEAR UP philosophy and the GEAR UP Iowa Scholarship Trust that every GEAR UP Iowa scholar can take advantage of after high school graduation in 2014. GEAR UP Iowa Parent Kickoff events open a dialogue with cohort parents and guardians, and the last half of these 30 – 60 minute sessions is driven by a question and answer period. Future GEAR UP Iowa Parent Kickoff events will be scheduled in each GEAR UP Iowa community, as will second meetings in many of the communities that have already hosted kickoff events. Information regarding future engagement sessions will be delivered to parents and guardians via building and district communication tools as GEAR UP Iowa staff and district / school administrators schedule sessions.
Some districts invited GEAR UP Iowa staff to their middle school buildings during Fall parent – teacher conferences. Parent – teacher conference sessions provided staff a venue for engaging parents and guardians one-on-one regarding GEAR UP Iowa. These sessions and GEAR UP Iowa Parent Kickoff events also provide cohort parents and guardians an opportunity to fill out and return the 2009-2010 GEAR UP Iowa Parent Survey. Completing and returning the survey enters GEAR UP Iowa cohort parents and guardians into a drawing for one of two $1000 five-two-nine scholarships to be awarded by the Iowa State Treasurer’s Office. It’s anticipated that GEAR UP Iowa staff will attend Spring parent-teacher conferences as well to answer questions about the program.
Partnering with the Community to Create a College Going Culture in Iowa
A big THANK YOU to those colleges, universities, businesses, and community organizations who have stepped up to the plate and signed partnership agreements with GEAR UP Iowa to help significantly increase the number of students in Iowa who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. A complete listing of GEAR UP Iowa Partners and links to their respective websites is available at:
GEAR UP IOWA PARTNERS
The growing list of GEAR UP Iowa Partners will provide a myriad of services to GEAR UP Iowa students, families, and school districts. Every service provided by a GEAR UP Iowa Partner will play a large part in the future success of GEAR UP Iowa cohort students and all Iowa students as they progress toward high school graduation and pursuit of their dreams through post-secondary education. Congratulations to all of GEAR UP Iowa’s Partners as we endeavor to create a college going culture in our great state. The GEAR UP Iowa Staff would like to encourage current partners to help grow the partnership ranks through stories of your good works and their impact on the big dreams of our GEAR UP Iowa cohort.
GEAR UP Iowa in the Classroom
Districts and schools served by GEAR UP Iowa have already realized success in their implementation of the program. Across the state, GEAR UP Iowa cohort students are benefitting from college visits, 21st Century Technology in the classroom, enhanced curriculum programs, and increased academic tutoring opportunities. The list of services offered is unique to each building, courtesy of GEAR UP Iowa Implementation Plans crafted by administrators and staff at the district and building level in each GEAR UP Iowa school district.
Because each school’s GEAR UP Iowa Implementation Plan is unique, this section of the newsletter will be reserved for sharing those unique successes. GEAR UP Iowa staff will continue visiting each school and district to gather many of those success stories. District and school building staff, cohort students, parents, and GEAR UP Iowa Partners are also encouraged to submit photos and articles detailing their own unique GEAR UP Iowa stories. Sharing our successes will help move us toward realization of the GEAR UP Iowa premise that with the right approach, all students in Iowa can attend college.
Please direct comments, story ideas, and submissions for the GEAR UP Iowa Newsletter via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org