GEAR UP at CSUSB prepares students for life


It’s been a busy summer for the GEAR UP program at Cal State San Bernardino.
It began when nearly 100 high school students from the San Bernardino City Unified School District, who will enter their junior year in August, met at CSUSB to embark on “Explore 23,” a two-week tour of all 23 California State University campuses.
A day later, more of their peers arrived on campus for the nearly four-week GEAR UP University, which kept the second-floor classrooms of the John M. Pfau Library buzzing with activity.
As Summer Steele, director of GEAR UP, sees it, this is part of an effort to make students, and their parents, aware of the opportunities available to them to attend college, and what the students need to do so that they can determine their own future.
GEAR UP — which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs — is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, and the CSUSB program is one of 41 nationwide that received federal grants in 2014.
The Cal State San Bernardino program was awarded $14.2 million over six years, which allows it to work practically year-round with a cohort of about 3,600 students who will graduate from San Bernardino City Unified’s comprehensive high schools in 2020. While some students in this cohort have transferred in and out of the district, GEAR UP essentially has been working with this group of students since they were in the seventh grade.
Steele said GEAR UP has three over-arching goals: increase the academic performance of students in middle school and high school to prepare them for college; increase the high school graduation and enrollment rates into college; and increase the awareness of students, and their parents, of educational options after high school and the financing tools that can help fund them.
And within each of those goals are measurable outcomes to meet annually, such as …

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