GEAR UP for the PROMISE

About GEAR UP for the PROMISE


Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education to help students prepare for and pursue a college education. In 2012, the program started its work with 6th & 7th graders and will continue working with these students as they move through middle school, high school, and into higher education. GEAR UP for the PROMISE is a partnership between the University of Oklahoma’s K20 Center and Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS).

GEAR UP for the PROMISE will build on existing structures and partnerships to accomplish the following goals:

  • Increase the percentage of PROMISE students who are academically prepared for higher education and future careers upon graduating from participating schools.
  • Increase high school graduation rates and higher education enrollment rates of participating PROMISE schools.
  • Increase PROMISE students' and families' knowledge of higher education options, preparation, and financing.

To achieve these goals, GEAR UP for the PROMISE uses the K20 Center’s model of four interrelated learning phases to transform schools into high-achieving, interactive learning communities:

  • Phase I - Leaders Learning: Develops school administrators and counselors to lead systemic change and technology integration in their schools and districts.
  • Phase II - Whole-School Learning: Supports Phase I leaders by focusing on teachers, parents, and community leaders empowerment in creating technology-rich learning communities designed to enhance student success.
  • Phase III - Teacher Learning: Creates in-depth authentic research and learning experiences for teachers in core content areas.
  • Phase IV - Student Learning: Creates innovative learning strategies, such as digital game-based learning, campus visits, and authentic learning experiences to encourage students to be involved in their own learning.

The K20 GEAR UP for the PROMISE project builds on existing partnerships between the K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal and schools in the Oklahoma City Public School District as well as numerous community, industry, and professional partners. The PROMISE project works with school leaders to meet the challenges specific to an urban district and to accomplish the project goals of (1) increasing the percentage of cohort students who are academically prepared for entering institutions for higher education upon graduation, (2) increasing high school graduation rates and the enrollment rates in institutions of higher education, and (3) increasing students' and families knowledge of institutions of higher education options, preparation and financing.


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GEAR UP for the PROMISE works with Oklahoma City cohort teachers to support authentic teaching practices in order to increase student achievement and academic interest. With coordinators designated to each core content area, they collaborate with teachers on developing and implementing lessons that incorporate authentic strategies and align with content standard objectives and Common Core State Standards.


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GEAR UP for the PROMISE offers many opportunities for sutdents and parents to engage in activities on college campus. Student engagement opportunities increase awareness of college culture, promote knowledge of higher education, and academic financial planning. Students are provided with information about college and career, as well as opportunities to participate in hands-on activities, campus tours, and mentoring sessions that will build connections and experiences for them to make informed decisions about their futures.


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GEAR UP for the PROMISE is designed to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in higher education. In order to achieve in this goal we work with parents and provide helpful information to assist in guiding their child to reach their goals.


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Mentoring Programs offer youth a mentoring experience, a positive role model, expose youth to new experiences and people from various walks of life, foster increased confidence and self-esteem, and encourages career, educational, emotional, and social growth. Becoming a mentor offers community members a chance to increase their own self-confidence and leadership skills while creating a legacy. GEAR UP for the PROMISE provides several opportunities for students and community members to work together to identify and achieve their goals.


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Community Partnerships play a vital role in the success of students, families, teachers and schools. When parents, teachers, students, and community members view on another as partners in education, a caring community forms around the students adn begins to support a stron geducational experience. GEAR UP for the PROMISE helps to build partnerships which align school and community resources in order to produce successful students, strong families, and engaged communities. Community partners can provide opportunities which increase students' knowledge of college and career options, as well as increase educational expectations and aspirations.


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Contact us:

Laura S. Buxton
GEAR UP for the PROMISE Project Coordinator
405-587-0332 | lsbuxton@okcps.org

News & Updates

Building on Successful Past
04 Oct

Building on Successful Past

GEAR UP for the PROMISE conducted the second Parent Leadership Academy in the grant’s history Sept 22-23 at Public Strategies in…

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Link Crew Training Day
01 May

Link Crew Training Day

GEAR UP for the PROMISE’s mentoring initiative rounded a corner in the 2014 spring semester with major strides in expanding its …

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