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. Starting in August 2020, GEAR UP Austin will serve the class of 2024 at the seven high schools listed below. Every student in the class of 2024, regardless of middle school attended, will be considered a GEAR UP Austin student. 

High schools participating are:

  • Akins Early College High School

  • Crockett Early College High School

  • Eastside Memorial Early College High School

  • Lyndon B. Johnson Early College High School

  • Navarro Early College High School

  • Northeast Early College High School

  • Travis Early College 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 Laura Olvera, MSML, in the Office of Advanced 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 Laura Olvera, MSML ( Contact information for each campus-based facilitator is below.

GEAR UP Facilitators

Campus Facilitator Email Address

Akins ECHS

Joshua Moreno
Lara Noack

Central Office Rosa Ramos (Administrative Assistant)

Crockett ECHS

Odera Anyasinti
JaCorey Mosely

Eastside ECHS

Edosa Edobor


Treshayla Wilson

Navarro ECHS

Marcia Balois

Northeast ECHS

John K. Harris

Travis ECHS

Joe Castillo

Parent/Family Engagement Mercedes Leal

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-to-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