Area eighth-graders prepare to GEAR UP for post-secondary success

July 15, 2019 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Incoming eighth-graders from the Wyoming, Godfrey-Lee, Godwin Heights and Kelloggsville school districts will get help with math and writing skills and learn how to plan for success through a program created in partnership with Grand Rapids Community College.

The 60 students will meet at Wyoming Junior High from July 22 to Aug. 16 for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs -- or GEAR UP. The federal program -- funded by a $2.1 million, six-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education -- aims to improve the transition from middle school to high school, and from high school to college or other post-secondary education, particularly for at-risk, low-income and first-generation students. The program will follow the students through high school to college or career training.

“The GEAR UP program is an opportunity for GRCC to better serve our communities, helping students at an earlier age so they can build on a successful educational foundation,’ GEAR UP program director Steve Beauclair said. “We’re also proud to include community partners from across Grand Rapids who recognize our region grows stronger through collaboration.”

The participating students will work with adjunct instructor Julia Moore and Dana Sammons, chair of GRCC’s Mathematics Department, as well as other instructors from the college and Wyoming Junior High. They will also visit GRCC, Aquinas College, the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s planetarium and Frederik Meijer Gardens, where they will take a sculpture design class. Breakfast, lunch and transportation to activities will be provided.

But the students won’t be the only ones learning in GEAR UP: Workshops will share information on post-secondary education options with parents and other members of the students’ support system. Teachers will learn ways to help students apply math to real-world situations in various industries, companies and workplaces. High school counselors in the districts will also receive professional development opportunities.

Students will celebrate their GEAR UP achievements at 1 p.m. Aug. 16.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

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