What is GEAR UP?

GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. It is a seven year federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education promoting college readiness and success through multiple strategies and activities. Austin ISD received the GEAR UP grant in September 2017.

The grant will follow the class of 2024 from sixth-grade through the summer after graduation.

Middle schools participating are: 

  • Bedichek Middle School
  • Burnet Middle School
  • Covington Middle School and Fine Arts Academy
  • Dobie Middle School and College Prep Academy
  • Fulmore Middle School
  • Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy
  • Martin Middle School
  • Mendez Middle School
  • Paredes Middle School
  • Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy
  • Webb Middle School

High schools participating are:

  • Crockett High School
  • Travis High School
  • Lanier High School
  • Lyndon B. Johnson High School
  • Eastside Memorial
  • Akins High School
  • Reagan High School

Some of our grant partners starting this year include Austin Partners in Education (APIE), UT's Institute for Public Schools Initiatives (IPSI), St. Edward’s University, Communities in Schools of Central Texas, Concordia University, E3 Alliance, and Seedling Foundation

The grant is coordinated by Elizabeth Severance in The Office of Academics. There are 10 campus-based project specialists/facilitators who will be responsible for implementing the day-to-day grant activities on each campus.

For general GEAR UP Austin information, please contact Elizabeth Severance. Contact information for each campus-based facilitator is below.

GEAR UP Facilitators

School GEAR UP Facilitator Email
Bedichek Middle School Annette Gutierrez
Burnet Middle School Marcia Balois
Covington Middle School and Fine Arts Academy Zachary Korth
Dobie Middle School and College Prep Academy John Harris
Fulmore Middle School Corazon Aguilar
Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy Sylvia Chavez
Bertha Sadlers Means Young Women's Leadership Academy Grace Zamorano
Martin Middle School Evan Gonzalez
Mendez Middle School Laura Diaz
Paredes Middle School Lara Linnell
Webb Middle School Jeanette Reyes-Fuchs

What will GEAR UP do?

The GEAR UP grant is focused on improving student outcomes and readiness for academic success at all levels. The GEAR UP team commits to provide support and/or enhance student support services such as tutoring, mentoring, and counseling/advising. We pledge to reach out to families and community partners to help ensure all students have a strong support system.

GEAR UP will provide experiential learning opportunities such as college tours, job shadows/job site visits, or educational field trips. 

Furthermore, GEAR UP will help build sustainability by facilitating or providing professional learning avenues for GEAR UP teachers and campuses.

What are GEAR UP’s goals?

National GEAR UP Objectives:

  1. To increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education of participating students;
  2. To increase the rate of high school graduation and participation in postsecondary education of participating students; and
  3. To increase educational expectations for participating students and increase student and family knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.

Austin GEAR UP Goals:

  1. To expand instruction and increase academic opportunities in mathematics, science, and language arts to enable students to complete college level courses without the need for remediation
  2. To provide access to and enable success in high-quality advanced academic programs in order to reduce the need for course or subject remediation in college
  3. To provide for professional development of GU Austin personnel in order to assure strong, student-led and personalized instruction in project schools
  4. To provide a network of strong student support services, including those that improve non-cognitive skills and behaviors and encourage on-time promotion and academic preparation
  5. To ensure on-time high school completion and straight-t0-college enrollment
  6. To ensure first-year college retention
  7. To provide postsecondary information including college fit and readiness level, and additional opportunities
  8. To build, expand, and leverage community partnerships