Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) New Mexico
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is designed to significantly increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. The project will provide direct services to roughly 10,000 7th-12th grade students annually in 20 high schools and middle schools in 10 public school districts throughout New Mexico. Participating schools will implement research-based practices to improve college and career readiness outcomes for students and to help bring about sustainable school improvement. Effective practices have been identified in key areas including student leadership; family and community engagement; rigorous instruction; mentoring; and college access campaigns (i.e., college applications and FAFSA completion). In addition, graduates from participating high schools will receive a variety of supports in transitioning to and succeeding in college during their first year of post-secondary studies.
GEAR UP NM’s focus areas and corresponding services are tied to clearly specified and measurable program goals and objectives. All services implemented through the GEAR UP NM project will address advancing these metrics. Further, progress toward implementing each focus area will be measured using outcome data for GEAR UP NM direct-service students compared to a carefully-matched comparison group.
GEAR UP NM’s project goals and objectives are outlined below:
- Increase academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education
- Increase high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment rates
- Increase knowledge of postsecondary education, preparation, & financing
- Effect sustainable school improvement
GEAR UP NM Partner Districts will:
- Hire a qualified Program Coordinator (PC) and all other required qualified staff to plan, implement, and coordinate the GEAR UP NM project at participating schools. The PC must be approved by the New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) and be no less than a 9-month employee.
- Abide by all agreements entered into with either NMHED, New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED), external evaluators, or any other entity.
- Participate in required program evaluation activities.
- Collect and report student- and school-level demographic and academic data in a timely and accurate manner.
- Foster the development of a GEAR UP Parent Engagement Committee to enhance the college-going culture in local communities and increase access and opportunities for students.
- Establish a College and Career Readiness Site Team to guide implementation of college and career readiness system (i.e., Advancement Via Individual Determination [AVID]) at participating schools.
- Implement activities according to GEAR UP NM Standards of Practice.
GEAR UP NM services will represent an array of college-access interventions, including various forms of academic support, college and career readiness work, postsecondary transition services, and counseling and advising to assist students in mapping out their academic, career, and postsecondary plans. Partner Districts will create an annual work plan, the Continuous Program Improvement Plan (CPIP) that outlines grant services and how each service is aligned with GEAR UP NM goals, objectives, and performance measures. GEAR UP NM services must supplement, and not supplant, existing services currently offered at selected participating schools.
Amount: The amount of funding each grant applicant is eligible to receive will be based on the number of students served, capacity of participating schools, and the resources needed to fully and successfully implement a college access, readiness, and success program. Annual renewal is contingent upon performance and available funding.
GEAR UP NM grant agreements require that awardees match 100% of expended funds each year. Matching dollars can be contributed through actual dollars or eligible in-kind contributions and must support the project’s goals and objectives. NMHED will provide Partner Districts with technical assistance in meeting the grant match requirements.
Eligibility: New Mexico public school districts and public charters with high schools and middle schools that meet a well-defined set of criteria.
Initial eligibility requirements: the participating high school of the New Mexico public school district or public charter must:
- Have an average adjusted cohort graduation rate (over the past three years) at or below the most recent state average
- Have an average post-secondary enrollment rate (over the past three years) at or below the most recent state average
- Have a free/reduced lunch (FRL) student population of at least 80%
- Partner with a feeder middle school with a FRL student population of at least 80%
*Note: NMHED strongly recommends that applying districts submit a notice to indicate their interest and plans to submit a proposal. To complete this task, applicants should complete the online Notice of Interest form by November 20, 2018.
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