In 2019, the University of North Carolina System received $25.7 million from the U.S. Department of Education for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) state grant. Through a competitive process, Gates County Schools was recently chosen to participate.

“Central Middle School has been graced with the opportunity for a seven-year grant that will provide academic advisement and programs for our students at the middle school level in preparation for high school and postsecondary education. We are very proud and excited that our students have been given the opportunity that this grant will provide in hopes that it will give our students who are first generation achievers the zeal to go forth and be a college graduate,” stated Ms. Kelly L. Eure, Principal of Central Middle School.

A postsecondary credential is key to improving economic outcomes in our society. As such, it must be made more accessible to all students. GEAR UP is a national college access initiative that directly engages students in partner schools with academic readiness and college admission support over the course of their middle school and high school careers. The program has proven to significantly increase the number of students in disadvantaged communities who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Mentorship continues for students as college freshmen. Additionally, GEAR UP NC engages 12th grade students with support through a full-time onsite college advisor. “Gates County High School is excited about the opportunities the GEAR UP grant will provide to the students of Gates County. The additional resources made available to our students and teachers will be invaluable to our school community,” said Mr. Jonathan Hayes, Principal of Gates County High School. “We are looking forward to the support this grant will provide to our counselors in helping students and their families with regard to increasing awareness and knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation and financing.”

“Gates County Schools is proud to be a recipient of the GEAR UP grant that will allow us to partner with the GEAR UP NC Program. Excitement is in the air as we prepare to implement this new initiative that will provide new and exciting opportunities for our students, families and schools. We embrace this opportunity and look forward to the reward our students will receive from it,” emphasized Mrs. Tammy R. Boone, Assistant Superintendent of Gates County Schools.

GEAR UP will touch and influence all students at Central Middle School and Gates County High School. Detailed benefits include providing comprehensive advising, outreach and supportive services to students; providing information regarding financial aid for postsecondary education to students; encouraging student enrollment in rigorous and challenging curricula and coursework in order to reduce the need for remedial coursework at the postsecondary level and increasing the number of students who complete applications for and enroll in a program of postsecondary education.

“Gates County Schools has made it a priority to ensure that all students are provided with the opportunity to achieve their individual goals. The GEAR UP grant is another resource our school district will utilize to expose students to opportunities beyond high school and provide the tools necessary to access those opportunities,” asserted Dr. Barry Williams, Superintendent of Gates County Schools. “I am excited and proud that Gates County Schools is a recipient of the GEAR UP NC grant program and know the program will make a positive impact on the lives of our students and their families.”

GEAR UP NC will begin in Gates County during the 2020 -2021 school year.