The University of Oklahoma’s K20 Center for Educational Renewal is the recipient of three 2018 GEAR UP partnership awards, totaling more than $68 million in funding over the course of seven years. With these awards, the K20 Center has an opportunity to make a significant impact on the quality of education in 46 schools and more than 12,000 students across Oklahoma, many of which have been deeply affected by issues such as poverty and teacher shortages.
The three projects included in the grants are as follows.
- GEAR UP for the FUTURE is a partnership with 11 urban and suburban schools in seven Oklahoma communities, reaching 4,729 students. The project will center around the development of a sustainable college and career readiness culture that supports rigorous curriculum, promotes student achievement and provides students with opportunities to explore an array of postsecondary education options.
- GEAR UP for MY SUCCESS is a partnership with 23 schools in 23 primarily rural Oklahoma communities, reaching 4,154 students. The project aims to develop interactive learning communities that establish high expectations and prepare students to excel academically and gain admission to postsecondary education. It will address teacher quality, student performance and student engagement to help close the rural gap.
- GEAR UP OKC is a partnership with 12 schools in the Oklahoma City Public Schools district, reaching 3339 students. It targets whole-school improvement tailored to an urban setting. Project services focus on engaging students with rigorous and relevant instruction, expanding academic supports, increasing student access to adult advocates and growing the college-going culture.
“The GEAR UP program is specifically focused on getting kids ready academically, financially and emotionally not just to get into college but to successfully graduate and then go on to really positively impact the local economy,” said Gregg Garn, dean, Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and executive director of the K20 Center. “I think the infusion of resources from the GEAR UP grants can help our kids in an amazing way.”
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is sponsored by the United States Department of Education. Designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education, GEAR UP provides 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.
Established in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a doctoral degree-granting university and leader in research, healthcare, and academic activity impacting the state of Oklahoma and global community. The Norman campus enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City enrolls more than 3,000 students and the OU-Tulsa campus enrolls more than 1,000. Of the 4,385 incoming freshmen in 2018, the average ACT score is 26.2 and is one of the most diverse and inclusive groups of incoming students in university history. OU began a new focus in 2018 to double research efforts in the next five years, promote OU Medicine as the healthcare provider of choice in the state of Oklahoma, and grow the university in northeastern Oklahoman.