BCPS benefits from ASU GEAR UP grant

BCPS benefits from $29.5 million Appalachian GEAR UP grant
Posted on 10/07/2020

BOONE, N.C. (Oct.  1, 2020) — The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $29.5 million GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant to Appalachian State University for funding to begin this academic year (effective Sept. 30). The scope of the grant includes Burke County Public Schools and nine other partnering school districts, eight partnering North Carolina higher education institutions and approximately 14,000 middle and high school students and their families. Appalachian is one of only six institutions awarded a GEAR UP Partnership grant in 2020. 


With full support from university leadership, Appalachian GEAR UP submitted this grant application that would serve approximately 14,000 students in Western North Carolina for seven years. Through a wide range of research-grounded services delivered to students, families and teachers, the GEAR UP program aims to improve college-going mindsets, high school graduation rates and postsecondary enrollment rates. 


“We want to extend a deep sense of gratitude for the support of university leadership, our partner school districts and partner higher education institutions. An application of this magnitude was accomplished not as a result of one person but of the teamwork and collaboration that is so strongly valued and lived every day by members of the Appalachian State University faculty and staff. Appalachian GEAR UP is committed to serving the students of Western North Carolina for the long term and to ensuring every student is prepared with the knowledge and skills to succeed in life after high school,” said Corinne Smith, director of Appalachian GEAR UP. 


“We are so excited to continue the great work with our partners across the Western North Carolina region. We strive to encourage students to envision a future strengthened by postsecondary education and the knowledge to make their dreams come true,” said Dr. James Beeler, senior director of Appalachian’s College Access Partnerships, which oversees Appalachian GEAR UP.


Burke County Public Schools has two GEAR UP coordinators who oversee the grant, Kim Logan and Jessica Stockham. They work to help identify gaps and needs regarding college preparedness. The grant allows Burke County Public Schools students to continue to receive opportunities to explore colleges and universities and learn to succeed in postsecondary education. This will be Burke County’s second stint with the multi-year grant which was first awarded in 2014.


“We are grateful to be able to continue to be a part of the GEAR UP grant,” Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam said. “The grant has been a valuable resource for our students over the past seven years, and what an opportunity it is to continue it with additional cohorts of students. Our students are more college-ready because of GEAR UP and now see that college can be in reach. GEAR UP levels the playing field for all our students -- despite economic background -- to be offered every opportunity to go to college or another place of higher learning.” 

 Find Burke County GEAR UP on social media at @GEARUPBurke.

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