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9/14/2010 - Jackson, Miss.

Governor Haley Barbour recently declared September 12-18 as “Gear Up Mississippi Week” in recognition of the program’s work in improving the educational environment and broadening support for Mississippi students who live in economically limited communities and who represent areas with historically limited participation in post-secondary education opportunities. Click here to view the proclamation.

Serving 40 high schools in 20 school districts, Gear Up Mississippi provides resources to students and teachers in several key areas, including post-secondary education opportunities and scholarship sources, tutoring and mentoring, parent and community outreach, professional development for teachers, counselors, administrators and college entrance assessments.

“The Gear Up Program does a great job of helping children who have never thought about going to college to understand the benefits of seeking post-secondary education,” said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education. “In addition, the program helps children learn how to prepare and pay for college.”

The Gear Up Program, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is funded by a six-year grant awarded by the United States Department of Education in August 2008. The grant is also supported by matching funding sources and is enhanced by the aligned in-kind match resources of other entities with similar vision for increasing the educational success of Mississippi students.

Focusing this year on over 8,000 students in the ninth grade, Gear Up Mississippi has five primary goals and objectives, including:

  • To increase enrollment in the college preparatory curriculum thus promote an increase of the high school graduation rate;
  • To support an increase in the average ACT scores of the Gear Up Mississippi students college-bound students;
  • To provide an awareness of the availability of financial resources;
  • To increase the number of students from school districts who actually enroll in and graduate from higher education; and
  • To increase the number of students who are prepared to enter college and the financial support needed to attend college.

Gear Up schools across the state will celebrate the week with various activities and projects, including writing letters to elected officials thanking them for their support, completing community service projects, creating a “Gear Up Dream Wall” for students to fill with their academic, social and professional goals, and hosting a community success stories breakfast with a local service club to share success stories of Gear Up students.

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