GEAR UP local education agency representatives attend 2015 partnership meeting


WILBURTON, OK (Oct. 21, 2015) – Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program hosted its annual partnership meeting for area school teachers, counselors and administrators on Oct. 7.

Eighty–four representatives from 27 partner schools, Eastern Oklahoma State College staff, GEAR UP team members, and representatives from Texas Instruments (TI) and American College Testing (ACT) attended the partnership meeting to learn about the programs and resources available to participating students, teachers and parents for the 2015–16 school year.

“The annual meeting is a wonderful time to get everyone together to review the progress being made towards achieving the grant’s goals,” Project Director Linda Morgan said. “We appreciate the superintendents, principals, counselors and lead teachers who took time out of their busy schedules to attend. The meeting is required
by the US Department of Education.”

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal grant program designed to meet the needs of low-income, underserved and underrepresented students in geographically-isolated rural schools in six southeastern Oklahoma counties. Eastern was awarded a $12.6 million grant over a seven-year period to serve a cohort of students in 30 partner schools.

“We are in the fifth year of the GEAR UP grant, serving over 2,300 tenth and eleventh grade students,” Morgan said. “We started with this group of students in 2011 when they were in the sixth and seventh grades and will follow them through their high school graduation and first year of college.”

The goal of the grant is to increase student’s academic performance, high school graduation rates, and completion of postsecondary education; also professional development for teachers and to encourage parental involvement.

Participants heard from TI Math Specialist Doug Roberts, LeFlore principal and math teacher Tracy Loyd, and Panama science teacher Liz Belcher. Loyd and Belcher spoke of how the implementation of the TI Navigator system and handheld technology into their classrooms has revolutionized their teaching.

ACT Senior Accounts Manager/Client Relations Specialists Judy Trice presented information about the ACT Aspire and an update on the standardized ACT test.

Morgan reviewed activities completed during the 2014–15 academic year as well as the new programs for the coming year. The GEAR UP staff will be teaching a new curriculum specifically for 10th grade students, and for 11th grade students. Tenth grade students will learn about Oklahoma’s Promise, College Awareness & Planning, Extracurricular Interests & Activities, Time Management, and Curriculum & Testing. Eleventh grade students will study Goal Setting, The College Search, The Cost of College, Time Management and My College Match.

In addition, GEAR UP sophomores will have the opportunity to attend an ACT review workshop presented by Chad Cargill, a known expert in test preparation. GEAR UP will pay the registration fee.

Area schools participating in Eastern’s GEAR UP for Success program include Antlers, Atoka, Bokoshe, Buffalo Valley, Canadian, Clayton, Crowder, Haileyville, Hartshorne, Indianola, Keota, LeFlore, McAlester, McCurtain, Moyers, Panama, Panola, Pittsburg, Quinton, Rattan, Red Oak, Savanna, Spiro, Stringtown, Talihina, Whitesboro and Wilburton.

Atoka County: Beth Buretta: Stringtown, Rick Heard: Stringtown, Ernest Michaels: Atoka, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Natalie Kennedy

Haskell County: Richard Reed: Keota, Veronica Lovell: McCurtain, Cydney Meglemre: Keota, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Dara Self, Chad Harp: Keota, Deward Palmer: McCurtain

Latimer County: Front Row: Ashley Colbert: Panola, Christy Bryan: Red Oak, GEAR UP Education Coordinator LaDonna Baldwain, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Melissa Juarez, Diana Hames: Buffalo Valley, Trina Renfrow: Red Oak. Back Row: Brad Corcoran: Panola, Carmen Harkins: Wilburton, Gary Lay: Wilburton, John Long: Red Oak, Justin Kennedy: Buffalo Valley, Bryan Deatherage: Red Oak, Jerry Mathews: Buffalo Valley

Pittsburg County: Front Row: Patti Tucker: Crowder, Brandi Kirkes: Haileyville, Tani Scott: Haileyville, Jennifer King: Hartshorne, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachel Ranallo, Gina Hernandez: Indianola, Peggy James: Pittsburg, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Natalie Kennedy, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Lori Douglas, Bonnie Weeks: McAlester, Kelli Hopper: Canadian. Back Row: Robert Florenzano: Crowder, Preston James: Crowder, Mark Ichord: Hartshorne, Mike Reddick: Hartshorne, David Smith: Canadian, Dane Lemons: Quinton, Mark Baumann: Indianola, Gary Reeder: Savanna, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Ron Sullivan, Wesley Wood: Pittsburg, Brad Kellogg: Savanna, Roger Hemphill: Haileyville

LeFlore County: Front Row: Ashley Gravitt: Talihina, Suzie Cormier: LeFlore, Celia Abernathy: Bokoshe, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Melissa Juarez, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Dara Self, Julie McClain: Talihina, Trudy McKinney: Spiro. Back Row: Maria Carden: Talihina, Tracy Loyd: LeFlore, Larry Greenwood: Spiro, Don Atkinson: Spiro, Katie Blagg: Whitesboro, Melissa Darneal: Spiro

Pushmataha County: Cary Ammons: Antlers, GEAR UP Education Coordinator LaDonna Baldwin, Shari Pillow: Rattan, Donna Dudley: Moyers, Melinda Martin: Antlers, Lavada Morris: Clayton, Ramonia Davis: Clayton, Marcia Armstrong: Moyers, Neil Birchfiell: Rattan

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