McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK


September 23, 2012

Eastern’s GEAR UP program outlines new resources and programs for area partner schools

WILBURTON — Area school teachers, counselors and administrators gathered at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton last week to learn about the new programs and resources the college’s GEAR UP grant will provide throughout the school year.

GEAR UP Project Director Linda Morgan said the 73 representatives from 30 partner schools were given a broad overview of what to expect from the program this year. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal initiative to increase the number of low-income students who enter and successfully transition into postsecondary education.

“We are excited to announce new programs for our partners,” said Morgan. “GEAR UP is happy to provide additional resources to our partner schools during a time when resources are so scarce. We all want the best for our students. We are honored to be able to work with area seventh and eighth grade students to prepare them to excel in their educational pursuits.”

In addition to the usual support services that GEAR UP offers, such as tutoring, mentoring, career advisement, summer camps and professional development, Morgan said several new initiatives have been added for the 2012-13 school year.

Eastern’s GEAR UP program has partnered with ACT, Inc. and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to provide informational presentations to students, teachers and parents on EPAS, Oklahoma’s Educational Planning and Assessment System. The presentations will explain how to interpret EXPLORE and PLAN test scores to identify areas of improvement needed for the ACT college readiness exam.

In addition, there will be new initiatives to enhance math and science curriculum and classroom equipment, as well as professional development for teachers and administrators.

Morgan said GEAR UP students will also have the opportunity to attend two field trips this year. One trip will be a visit to a college or university of the partner school’s choice and the other will be educational or cultural such as a trip to a museum, art gallery or musical performance.

Eighth-grade students in the GEAR UP program can also attend the Career and College Expo in McAlester on Oct. 25 this year. Students will visit exhibits from colleges and corporations around the state to explore different career options and participate in a “game of life” where they role play and make budget and lifestyle decisions.

Eastern’s GEAR UP for Success program serves current seventh and eighth grade students throughout high school graduation and college admission. The grant serves 30 partner schools in six counties, including Antlers, Atoka, Bokoshe, Buffalo Valley, Canadian, Clayton, Crowder, Frink-Chambers in McAlester, Haileyville, Hartshorne, Indianola, Keota, Krebs, LeFlore, McAlester, McCurtain, Moyers, Panama, Panola, Pittsburg, Quinton, Rattan, Red Oak, Savanna, Spiro, Stringtown, Talihina, Tannehill, Whitesboro and Wilburton.

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Without the Pittsburg County Softball Complex field maintenance crew, seen here Thursday, all the rain that’s fallen this summer would’ve resulted in far more league and tournament cancellations. From left are Bill Geary, Brad Inman and Complex director Randy Norman.

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