July 1, 2008

San Leandro Schools Awarded $3 Million Grant

At the June 30, 2008, meeting of the San Leandro School Board, Emily Kaplan, the School District's grant-writer, announced that the School District was awarded a six-year, $3 million grant. The grant is part of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), a competitive grant administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

According to the GEAR UP website, "This discretionary grant program is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school." In 2007, just six GEAR UP grants were awarded, including one to the San Francisco Unified School District. In 2005, a partnership including Cal State East Bay and Oakland Unified School District was awarded a GEAR UP grant.

SLUSD will partner with the University of California's Early Academic Outreach Program and Chabot College to focus on students in 7th grade at Bancroft and John Muir Middle Schools. In order to increase the number of students who are prepared for colleges and universities, the grant will be used for increased student support such as tutoring and enrichment programs, financial counseling, and college awareness and preparedness training and professional development for teachers.

For more information, see the press release below:

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Press Release
July 1, 2008
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San Leandro Unified School District to receive $3 million multi-year GEAR UP funding to support college bound students

[San Leandro, CA July 1, 2008] Superintendent Christine Lim announced last night during a special meeting of the Board of Education that the District received notification that it will be one of twenty school districts nationwide to receive a GEAR UP grant award from the United States Department of Education.

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a discretionary grant program designed to significantly increase the number of underrepresented students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The District will receive $3 million over six years to provide extensive professional development and intensive academic supports to an entire cohort of seventh grade San Leandro students, following these students through high school and graduation.

"We cannot begin to describe our excitement over getting this six year grant," said Superintendent Lim. "We have participated in ongoing reform work related to equity, culturally relevant teaching, and the needs of English Learners, all designed to close the achievement gap for African American and Latino students while improving the achievement of all students. We have seen some success through this work and are certain that with additional support, we will truly be able to close the achievement gap and prepare our students for post secondary educational opportunities."

Lim added that GEAR UP will support AVID activities at both middle schools, and follow the entire seventh grade class through graduation of high school, providing a wide array of services and opportunities to see that they continue their education and learn the skills necessary to succeed. Currently, both John Muir Middle School and San Leandro High School are AVID National Demonstration Schools and 95% of SLHS AVID graduates go onto a four year college.

"Limited resources have prevented us from implementing AVID at both middle schools," said Superintendent Lim, "but now GEAR UP will provide us the resources to see that AVID is district-wide." According to Lim, the college preparation program targets students in the middle who are capable of doing rigorous work but not reaching their full potential. "Many are African American and Latino students, or from low income families, and are the first in their families to attend college," Lim added. "GEAR UP will allow us to provide important outreach to families about the pathways to college, as well as financial aid workshops. Many families who want their children to go to college do not know the steps needed to make it a reality."

GEAR UP funding will also provide supports for after school programs and interventions, professional development for teachers, community partnerships and visits to college campuses. "We continue to see transformations taking place on our campuses, and in the lives of our students and families," added Superintendent Lim. "GEAR UP will provide greater opportunity to a greater number of students."

"It was the district's equity work that secured us this grant," said the district grant writer Emily Kaplan. "This work is garnering us national attention and creating better opportunities for all San Leandro students."

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at July 1, 2008 5:07 PM | TrackBack
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