Governor Declares GEAR UP Week in Utah
Gov. Gary Herbert has declared the week of Sept. 23-27 GEAR UP Week in Utah. The proclamation coincides with the celebration of National GEAR UP Week 2019. This week commemorates the continuing success of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), a national program intended to help low-income students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college.
Utah State University STARS! GEAR UP, now in its fourth round of federal funding since 2012, is working in 23 schools in communities throughout the state to help more than 13,000 students and their families prepare, apply and pay for college.
“The extraordinary success of the USU STARS! program clearly shows the importance of these partnerships in school success,” said Kathy Trundle, department head of the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at USU. “By helping students and teachers obtain and use the tools earlier in the educational process, our schools experienced a remarkable boost in graduation rates as well as college-going rates.” Trundle also serves as the principal investigator for one of the USU STARS! grants.
The numbers speak to the program’s success, with graduation rates up and more students going to college in GEAR UP schools. Eight years ago, schools that were not yet in the USU STARS! program had some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the state. Few students at these schools (on average, only 16%) went on to college. Today, more than three-times that number are completing their first year of college after participating in GEAR UP programming.
Granite School District’s Sharla Bynum, site coordinator at Granite Park Jr. High School, worked hard to make both state and local government representatives aware of GEAR UP week. She received the proclamation from Governor Herbert and a motivational message from Congressmen Ben McAdams (below). South Salt Lake City Mayor Cherie Wood will visit her school and talk to students during GEAR UP Week.