Turning Dreams into Diplomas

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 22, 2014) – The Los Angeles Unified School District received some very good news today from Washington, D. C. The District won a federal GEAR UP grant to expose students to college, starting in the sixth grade. They receive tutoring, counseling, peer mentoring, information about financial aid and testing, campus visits and other services. They also were tracked through high school graduation and into their first year of higher education.

GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.  Grants were awarded on a competitive basis, turning dreams into diplomas.
“Preparing our students for college is a priority for this District. The GEAR UP program targets youngsters from low-income families who would be first-generation college graduates,” Superintendent John E. Deasy said.
L. A. Unified’s $13 million grant over seven years will target 2,000 students currently in the sixth- and seventh-grades at Berendo Middle School, Le Conte Middle School, Young Oak Kim Academy, Bernstein Complex, West Adams Preparatory High School and the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools Complex.
“Every single student in the grade level is exposed to the possibilities of college,” co-director Micaela Vazquez-Hahn said.
Co-director Lois Bramwell explained, “We provide services to students, parents and teachers.”
Collaborative partnerships developed with the community in mind include: East Los Angeles College, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Trade Tech College, Occidental College, All Aboard Tours, the College Board, Chicano-a Latino-a Foundation, Families in Schools, the Jaime Escalante Program, Southern California College Access Network, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Study Smart Tutors and the Youth Policy Institute
This is the second group of students, who will be supported and followed starting in sixth-grade through the first year of college. The first grant for GEAR UP 4 L.A, awarded in 2011, provided $21 million to help 4,000 high-needs students. Those students are currently in the ninth- and tenth-grades at Belmont High School, Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, L.A. Teacher Prep, Miguel Contreras Learning Center, the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, and Roybal Learning Center.                      

Contact: Gayle Pollard-Terry (213) 241-6766