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$2.4 Million Federal GEARUP Grant Awarded to Cincinnati Partnership

Thousands of low-income Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) students will get on track for college through a University of Cincinnati partnership that was just awarded $2.4 million for the first year of funding. It’s anticipated the grant will be for a total of six years. The grant will be equally matched in value of services contributed by the GEARUP SCORES partnership, led by the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Public Schools.

The news comes from the federal $303.4 million Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEARUP), which emphasizes increasing the number of disadvantaged students prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. The grant is the highest ever awarded to the partnership since it was first funded in 1999, the first year of the federal program, according to Stephanie Cappel, executive director of UC’s Partner for Achieving School Success (PASS) Center in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH).

The Sept. 15 celebration to launch the partnership was postponed. The celebration hosted by the PASS Center will now take place from 4:30-7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18, at the new PASS Center-developed Gen-1 Theme House for first-generation college students, located at the UC-affiliated Stratford Heights Community at 2647 Stratford Ave.

The partnership will support sixth-and-seventh-grade students in 31 Cincinnati Public Schools and follow them through their high-school graduation. For the first time since the Cincinnati partnership began in 1999, this new funding will also track the success of GEARUP SCORES students as they enter their first year of college, trade school or other avenue of postsecondary education.

A total of 4,000 students, 31 K-8 schools and 11 high schools will be linked through the GEARUP SCORES program over the six-year period, supported by academic and enrichment programs, advising and mentoring to increase student achievement. The program also educates students and their families about higher education options, about dual-enrollment programs in which students earn high-school and college credit, and about the financial resources to get to college.

GEARUP SCORES has outlined the following goals

  • The partnership aims to increase math and science scores by five percent annually on the standardized Ohio Achievement Tests.
  • The partnership has goals of increasing high-school graduation rates annually by three percent.
  • The partnership plans to increase the number of low-income students entering postsecondary education by seven percent annually.
  • As part of the partnership’s commitment to educating students and their parents about college access and affordability, parents and students will demonstrate a 50 percent increase in their knowledge of college access and financial aid.

GEARUP SCORES partners and their involvement:

University of Cincinnati – The UC Partner for Achieving School Success (PASS) Center, housed in UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH), administers the GEARUP SCORES program and serves students with summer programs, college visits, mentoring and tutoring services and professional development of teachers. The partnership exemplifies UC’s efforts to become a national leader in the reform and revitalization of the pre-kindergarten-through-college educational system by creating seamless transitions to college.
Contact: Stephanie Cappel, executive director, phone 513-556-3611, e-mail steffi.cappel@uc.edu

Cincinnati Public Schools – With students representing CPS schools that are active in the partnership (including the new STEM partnership at William H. Taft Elementary), CPS will play a key role in the management of the grant.
Contact: Tom Rothwell, director of schools, phone 513-363-0079, e-mail rothwet@cpsboe.k12.oh.us

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College – Cincinnati State will lead the hiring of case managers to identify and support students with the highest risk of dropping out of school between sixth-to-eighth grade and ninth-to-tenth grade – two points where students are most at risk of dropping out of school. The case managers will also be key to serving students as they graduate high school and enter their first year of college.
Contact: Bari Ewing, director of college access, phone 513-569-1828, e-mail bari.ewing1@cincinnatistate.edu

Strive – The Strive regional partnership represents education, business, non-profit, civic and philanthropic organizations that are working to ensure that every child in the Cincinnati USA region is prepared for college, successful careers and productive citizenship. In its support of GEARUP SCORES, Strive will be developing instruments for measuring student success and college access initiatives.
Contact: Jennifer Blatz, phone 513-929-1146, e-mail blatzj@kwfdn.org

Cincinnati Youth Collaborative – CYC through its mentoring and college access services helps young people graduate from high school and successfully make the leap forward into postsecondary education and enter the world of work prepared to succeed. In its role with GEARUP SCORES, CYC will lead the hiring of college advisors to help students successfully prepare and enroll in college with continued support through their first year of college. “CYC is excited to continue its GEARUP partnership with the University of Cincinnati and CPS,” says Jane Keller, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative. “The GEARUP SCORES grant provides the needed resources that help students turn college dreams into college reality.”
Contact: Jane Keller, president and CEO, phone 513-475-4170, e-mail jkeller@cycyouth.org

Parents for Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati (PPSGC) – PPSGC works to develop and sustain constructive parent and community involvement so that all students will achieve in public schools. In its role with GEARUP SCORES, PPSGC will engage parents around college access and recruit parents of GEARUP SCORES students for the Parent Leadership Institute (PLI). The PLI is a development process that builds parental advocates of public education. PLI graduates become part of an action oriented, problem-solving network of parent leaders who partner with our public schools.
Contact: Rolanda Smith, executive director, phone 513-751-5437, e-mail rsmith@ppsgc.org

The Cincinnati Enquirer – The Enquirer will support the partnership by contributing space for weekly advertorials produced by GEARUP SCORES that carry messages about succeeding in school and getting to college. The advertorials reach eight counties in the Cincinnati USA region. The advertorials also will be carried on the Enquirer Web site and linked to www.cincinnati.com
Contact: Kristen Garrison, phone 513-768-8135, e-mail kgarrison@enquirer.com

Cincinnati Reds – The Cincinnati Reds will provide guest speakers for GEARUP SCORES events, host summer programs and broadcast GEARUP SCORES messages about college access on Reds on Radio. GEARUP SCORES will also be featured at a promotional booth at RedsFest.
Contact: Mark Scherer, 513-765-7032 phone, e-mail mscherer@reds.com

Cincinnati Bengals – The Cincinnati Bengals will provide guest speakers for GEARUP SCORES events, will feature GEARUP SCORES in Bengals printed materials, will provide GEARUP SCORES student tours of Paul Brown Stadium and will broadcast GEARUP SCORES messages about college access on the stadium scoreboard.
Contact: Brian Sells, phone 513-455-8356, e-mail sellsb@nfl.com

Cincinnati GEARUP Web site

U.S. Department of Education GEARUP Web site