A citywide college preparaion program is giving some freshman students at Roxborough High School a leg up.
GEAR UP, an acronym for gaining early awareness and readiness for undergraduate programming, is a federally funded program designed to expand college access and readiness for low-income students.
It works with a cohort of seventh graders throughout the city by providing college and career programming until the students complete the 12th grade.
“Any student living and breathing in those schools have the opportunity,” said Michael Brooks, program manager of GEAR UP. “They are all considered gear up students”
The program focuses on increasing the students’ chances of getting into college by providing academic support as well as increasing understanding of the college process for both the student and their parents.
This year, parent liaisons have been put in place to ensure that parents are aware of all of the opportunities available to the students.
GEAR UP has partnerships with The Community College of Philadelphia, Temple University, Villanova University and College Board.
The partnerships are instrumental because they provide the students with summer enrichment programs and college trips and exposure.
They also provide tutors for the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) elective course, which works with students in the “academic middle” teaching organizational and study skills.
According to recent statistics, Brooks said the program is showing signs of success.
“The data showed us that students that participated in GEAR UP focus events versus students that haven’t, increased in their awareness about college, they generally, across the board, have better grades than other students and their families showed an increase and willingness to higher education,” Brooks said.