GEAR UP Local Education Agency Representatives Attend 2018 Partnership Meeting


WILBURTON, OK (Oct. 17, 2018) – Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program hosted its annual partnership meeting for area school superintendents, principals, counselors and lead teachers. More than 115 met to learn how the college’s $17 million GEAR UP grant will help them prepare students for postsecondary education.

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. In 2017, Eastern received $17,091,200 to help serve students in 39 partner schools.

Eastern’s President Dr. Steve Smith welcomed the participants. GEAR UP Project Director Linda Morgan introduced Eastern administrators in attendance and members of the GEAR UP team. GEAR UP Assistant Project Director Dara Self provided a brief overview of the grant.

In partnership with The Princeton Review, the GEAR UP grant is implementing online tutoring, Tutor.com, for all GEAR UP students. Special guests from The Princeton Review—Senior Executive Director of Educational Partnerships Tanya Walker and Vice President of K-12 Programs Brian Culbreth—addressed the group. They discussed the program’s features, implementation guidelines and reports that will be available to educators. Workshops will be held to train site coordinators at each partner school.

GEAR UP Team members provided reports on various programs and activities in which GEAR UP students participate. Education Coordinator (EC) Rachael Ranallo introduced The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, a curriculum being implemented through monthly meetings with students. EC Bethany Hicks explained the content and importance of one-on-one meetings with each student.

EC Brianna Brassfield spoke about the Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP) whose implementation is state mandated. GEAR UP team members are available to assist schools in its implementation. EC Tara Martin shared news about GEAR UP–sponsored field trips. Each school takes two trips each academic year—one to visit a college/university and one that is educational/cultural in nature.

Education Coordinators Stephanie Dow and LaDonna Baldwin reported on 2018 summer camps. Eight hundred eighty students attended one of the eight leadership camps held on the Wilburton campus. Camp activities included a college tour, leadership sessions, a community service project, a dance, swimming, presentations and graduation. They invited schools to “stay tuned” for news about the 2019 summer camps.

Education Coordinators Denise Lovell and Leslie Hemphill shared GEAR UP Week celebrations that included workshops with the “YOGOWYPI” (You Only Get Out What You Put In) guy, Bill Cordes, speaking to over 2,000 students. GEAR UP staff spoke to area community organizations and conducted various activities at partner schools.

Morgan reported on the 11th Annual 8th Grade Career & College Expo. Over 1,200 8th grade students attended. One side was filled with career booths and the other, a “Road Trip” that simulated the game of Life. Facilitated by the Paradigm Shift team, the Road Trip proved to be a huge success with students as they navigated “real life experiences” to help them better understand their projected wants, needs and related expenditures.

GEAR UP Professional Development Coordinator John Spiegel offered free professional development workshops for partner schools. Spiegel’s expertise includes Ruby Payne; QPR “Suicide Prevention”; CPR; Motivational Classroom Management; True Colors; Adults Supporting Youth with Challenging Pasts: Love and Logic; 8 Questions to Focus Your Purpose; 9 Essential Skills for the Love and Logic Classroom; and Google Classroom for Beginners.

Spiegel introduced GEAR UP Grant Consultant Eric Batten with Texas Instruments (TI). Batten talked about the recent implementation of the TI Navigator technology into 70 partner math and science classrooms. He explained the dynamic partnership between Eastern’s GEAR UP grant and TI.

Shady Point Superintendent Bruce Gillham shared his experience attending the National Council for Community and Education Partnership (NCCEP) District Leadership Institute as a representative of the grant. McAlester’s Superintendent Randy Hughes also attended the Institute. The ten–month, three workshop commitment will conclude in May 2019.

Morgan reported current In–Kind Match statistics to attendees. For every dollar the US Department of Education provides to the grantees, the grantee must provide a dollar of In-Kind Match in services. Each school received a copy of its commitment and current status.

The GEAR UP—Ignite Belief program is serving current seventh and eighth grade students and will continue throughout high school graduation and college admission. The grant serves 39 partner schools in nine counties, including Antlers; Atoka; Bokoshe; Buffalo Valley; Cameron; Canadian; Clayton; Coalgate; Crowder; Eufaula; Fanshawe; Frink?Chambers; Haileyville; Harmony; Hartshorne; Howe; Indianola; Keota; Krebs; Lane; LeFlore; McAlester; McCurtain; Moyers; Panama; Panola; Pittsburg; Porum; Poteau; Quinton; Rattan; Savanna; Shady Point; Spiro; Stringtown; Tannehill; Whitesboro; Wilburton; and Wister.

“Every seventh and eighth grade student at our partner schools is eligible to participate in GEAR UP—Ignite Belief. The program is inclusive and completely free for parents and the schools,” Morgan said. “This grant provides a lot of opportunities for students and teachers. We hope to foster long-term change by creating a positive and pervasive culture for learning in our under-resourced schools.”

(front row, left to right) Matt Sandmann, Stringtown; Beth Murray, Stringtown; Ashley Willis, Lane; Heather Brooks, Atoka; (back row) GEAR UP Education Coordinator Denise Lovell; Pam Matthews, Lane; Amy Mauk, Coalgate; and Phil Wilkinson, Coalgate.

(front row, left to right) Janet Hopson, Panama; Angel Morrison, Shady Point; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Bethany Hicks; Susan Manlove, Poteau; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Tara Martin; Margo Wright, Howe; Andrea Traywick, Poteau; (back row) John Long, Cameron; Christi Caughern, Cameron; Ken Whitehead, Cameron; Bruce Gillham, Shady Point; Samantha Naylor, Cameron; Scott Parks, Howe; Jeremy Dyer, Howe; Marshall Brence, Poteau; Rachel Brown, Howe; Don Sjoberg, Poteau; and GEAR UP Education Coordinator Leslie Hemphill.

GEAR UP Education Coordinator LaDonna Baldwin; Kenny Sullens, Panola; Brad Corcoran, Panola; Lyndon Howze, Buffalo Valley; Jerry Mathews, Buffalo Valley; Cherish Marshall, Wilburton; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Tara Martin. Not Pictured: Trice Butler, Wilburton, Kyle Vanderburg, Wilburton.

(front row, left to right) Donna Curry, Frink-Chambers; Angela White, Krebs; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Stephanie Dow; Mary Mattioda, Hartshorne; Sheryl Baker, Hartshorne; Veronica Miller, Haileyville; Tani Scott, Haileyville; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Brianna Brassfield; (back row) Richard Peckio, Frink-Chambers; Gary Reeder, Savanna; Wes Wood, Pittsburg; Scott Burke, Frink-Chambers; Angie Wilson, Savanna; Patrick Turner, Krebs; Jason Lindley, Hartshorne; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Denise Lovell; Roger Hemphill, Haileyville; and Brian Akins, Hartshorne.

(front row, left to right) Michelle Birchfield, Rattan; Shari Pillow, Rattan; Ramonia Davis, Clayton; Cynthia Buchanan, Clayton; (back row) Lorrie Conley, Antlers; Jennifer Brame, Antlers; Neil Birchfield, Rattan; Marcia Armstrong, Moyers; Lavada Morris, Clayton; Donna Dudley, Moyers; and GEAR UP Education Coordinator LaDonna Baldwin.

GEAR UP Education Coordinator Bethany Hicks; Deward Palmer, McCurtain; Lauralea Wilson, McCurtain; Janna Blaylock, McCurtain; Cydney Meglemre, Keota; and Bryan Akins, Keota.

(front row, left to right) Suzie Cormier, LeFlore; Cindy Wood, Wister; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Bethany Hicks; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Tara Martin; Celia Abernathy, Bokoshe; (row 2) Judy Phillips, Whitesboro; Marsha Hinchee, Whitesboro; GEAR UP Education Coordinator LaDonna Baldwin; Sherry Steelman, LeFlore; Keli Cartwright, Wister; (back row) Dusty Beck, LeFlore; Bill Neyman, LeFlore; Don McGee, Spiro; Richard Haynes, Spiro; Wes McGowen, Fanshawe; Penny Williams, Fanshawe; and Heather Roath, Wister.

(left to right) Landon Berry, Porum; Tanya Weston, Porum; Brent Pearce, Porum; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo; Chris Whelan, Eufaula; and Kari Montgomery, Eufaula.

(front row, left to right) Taylor Smith, McAlester; Caroline Miller, McAlester; Summer Allford, McAlester; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo; Margie McElhany, McAlester; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Brianna Brassfield; (back row) Patti Tucker, Crowder; Robert Florenzano, Crowder; Anna Killebrew, Crowder; Tina Ray, Quinton; Laura Gragg, Canadian; Payton Hokit, Canadian; Adam Newman, Indianola; Kelli Garrett, Canadian; Ashley Johnson, Indianola; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Tara Martin; GEAR UP Education Coordinator Stephanie Dow; and Jon Booth, Tannehill. Not Pictured: Randy Hughes, McAlester; Stacey Henderson, Quinton.

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