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- That ALL students deserve an equitable education - one that provides the knowledge and skills to choose and be successful in post-secondary education pursuits;
- That students must master rigorous academic standards to successfully progress along the pipleline from middle school to high school and into and through college;
- That in order for students to plan for college they need to see themselves in college;
- That overcoming the challenges faced by low-income, first-generation college-bound students requires the continued engagement of school leaders, families and communities.
GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) was enacted as part of the 1998 Higher Education Act to give more low-income students the skills, encouragement, and preparation to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.
The goal of the California GEAR UP state program is to develop and sustain the organizational capacity of middle schools to prepare ALL students for high school and postsecondary education through the establishment of a statewide network of support. Since 1999, California GEAR UP and the 68 partnership projects have impacted over 1/3 of the 1200 middle schools in California, with the State grant serving over 236,000 students in 260 schools in 106 school districts in 25 counties.
The state model is designed to create a self-sustaining college-going culture by working with whole schools through the adults that have the greatest impact in student life and experience: the principals, teachers, counselors, families and community leaders. The state model includes one school collaboration, GEAR UP/Valley High Collaboration, where a cohort of students is being followed from middle school through high school graduation. By increasing the academic capacity of California middle schools, GEAR UP helps students meet the State Board of Education standards and advance toward successful high school completion and college participation
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