Grant updates at Fridley Schools: GEAR UP, Race to the Top
Multiple grants are currently at work in the Fridley School District or are being applied for, impacting everything from Physical Education curriculum to literacy in elementary school.
Another recent grant is nicknamed GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.
As the name indicates, the program’s aim is students headed toward college. Students who will be the first generation in their family to go to college are among those expected to especially benefit from the program, District 14 staff said.
GEAR UP is a federally funded grant program. This seven-year grant – awarded to Hennepin Technical College and partnering groups – will provide services to students at Fridley Middle and High schools as well as Robbinsdale Middle and Cooper High schools.
It starts with seventh-grade students and follows the cohort through high school, making sure they have access to people, information, resources and information in preparation for college.
Program goals, as stated on a program flyer, for GEAR UP students are:
- To increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education
- To increase the rate of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education
- To increase students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation and financing.
The program will provide educational supportive services to all students in seventh grade at the participating middle schools. Services include tutors, advising support, mentors, educational counseling, career exploration, college visits, summer academic programs, professional development for teachers and college test preparation applications.
Race to the Top grant
In recent School Board meetings, Fridley Schools Supt. Peggy Flathmann has discussed the federally funded Race to the Top grant, the application for which was due at the end of October. She said the district expects to hear back on a funding decision by the end of December.
The U.S. Department of Education said 893 potential applicants said they intended to apply for the 2012 Race to the Top-District program, which will provide close to $400 million to support local reforms that will personalize learning, close achievement gaps and prepare each student for college and their careers.
In Fridley, the grant would challenge all students in the areas of career and college readiness, with an emphasis on personal learning plans that would be used by teachers, students and families to identify students’ needs and progress.
“I believe the best ideas come from leaders at the local level, and the enthusiastic response to the Race to the Top-District competition highlights the excitement that districts have to engage in locally designed reforms that will directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We hope to build on this nationwide momentum by funding districts that have innovative plans to transform the learning environment, a clear vision for reform and a track record of success.”
These four-year grant awards will range from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population of students served through the plan. The Department expects to make 15-25 awards.