Nas­sau Com­mu­nity Col­lege part­ners with DREAM TEEN Magazine for the GEAR UP Pro­gram.

DREAM TEEN Magazine - - Front Page -

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

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