NASSAU COMMUNITY COLLEGE GEAR UP
Nassau Community College partners with DREAM TEEN Magazine for the GEAR UP Program.
This year, the GEAR UP program held its first graduation lunch for the Uniondale graduates. The lunch was held on the Nassau Community College campus. DREAM TEEN Magazine interviewed Dr. Florence D. Simmons, principal of Uniondale high school. Dr. Simmons says this is the largest graduation class during her 5-year tenure with Uniondale, with 546 graduates.
The GEAR UP program started with these students in the 6th grade and followed them from middle school to graduation. “The graduation rate increased, test scores, and 100% of the seniors applied for college; it has been an amazing experience for me!”, says Dr. Simmons. She believes that the GEAR UP program should be a part of every school’s curriculum because it has been so successful. The students went on college tours in the 6th grade. The district of Uniondale also had a college fair. The GEAR UP Program makes college an expectation. “The Nassau Community College GEAR UP program is phenomenal,” Dr. Simmons said. The kids take college courses in high school, which allow them 40 credits of college courses.
What is GEAR UP: it is a competitive grant program of the U.S. Department of Education that increases the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education by providing States and local community-education partnerships, six-to-seven year grants to offer support services to high-poverty, middle and high schools.
The program serves at least one grade level of students, beginning no later than the 7th grade, following them through high school graduation and their first year in college. GEAR UP provides critical early college awareness and support activities like tutoring, mentoring, academic preparation, financial education and college scholarships to improve access to higher education for low income, minority and disadvantaged first-generation students and their families. GEAR UP funds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students.
The program mandates cooperation among K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, local and state education entities, businesses and community-based organizations. These dynamic partnerships are required to leverage local resources to match the federal investment dollar for dollar, creating a common agenda that more effectively facilitates the educational aspirations and attainment of students from low-income communities. DT
Dr. Florence D Simmons