|GEAR UP Idaho Update|
For students in rural and economically disadvantaged areas in Idaho, inadequate academic and financial preparation can make the dream of postsecondary education seem unattainable. Over three quarters of Idaho's senior high school class of 2007 did not meet the ACT college readiness standards in the four main areas assessed (math, science, English, and reading). These students are at an increased risk of needing additional academic support through tutoring, mentoring, or remedial coursework to succeed in their first year of postsecondary education.
Additionally, there is a growing gap between family income and the costs for postsecondary education in Idaho. GEAR UP Idaho is currently the only program focused on addressing these factors in a systemic way that includes students, parents, educators, and the community. GEAR UP Idaho is a practical application of the Idaho State Board of Education's vision to provide quality and relevant education that is efficient and accessible.
GEAR UP Idaho offers targeted early intervention services to students beginning in the 7th grade and continuing through the 12th grade to improve academic achievement and readiness for postsecondary education.
During the first two years each student drafts a career plan by creating an electronic portfolio using Idaho Career Information System. The portfolio includes career awareness, exploration, assessment, and planning activities leading to the establishment of career goals, and a high school and a postsecondary educational plan.
Each student also develops a Parent Approved Learning Plan, signed by the student, parent, and teacher; which includes a plan for transition to high school, challenging courses that include three years of math and science, and specific course requirements for postsecondary admission. GEAR UP students also participate in college campus visits in grades 8 and 10.
GEAR UP Idaho supports professional development for teachers in order to raise the level of academic rigor in the classroom, and provides a substantial scholarship to eligible students who complete the program. GEAR UP Idaho provides outreach services to increase parent involvement and postsecondary financial planning services to families.
GEAR UP is a six year U.S. Department of Education grant program. GEAR UP Idaho is currently in the second year of the six year program.