- Grade range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
- Release date: 08-21-2019
- Tags: Career Aspirations, College, College and Career Readiness, Career, Career and Technical Student Organization, Career and Technical Student Organizations, Programming, Programmers, Engineering, College and Career Preparation, Career Awareness, Career Academies, Mentor, College Prep, College Preparation, Mental Health, Parent Involvement, Communicating with Parents, Counseling & Mental Health Services, Parental Support, Reading, Reading Comprehension, Books, Parent Communication, Parental Involvement, Hands-on, Hands-on Teaching Practices, Math, Mentoring, Parent Participation, Career Exploration, Parents, College Search, Compare colleges, Find Colleges, Accommodating Disabilities, Students with Disabilities, Students with Special Needs, Learning Disabilities, District Resources, Administrative Support, Interdisciplinary Teaching, Nurse, Nursing, Mathematical Skills, Engineering Design, Financial Information, Finance, Financial Management, Academic Success, Academic Achievement, Guidance Counselor, Health, Healthy Behavior, Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Living
Videos and examples of high school clubs and activities that develop college ready students.
Faces of Texas GEAR UP: XavierGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Xavier is all about the drama. At least he is when he’s slaying it on stage as part of his school’s theater troupe. And since this El Paso senior wants to go into a public relations career, he might be surrounded by drama for the long haul. (We’re guessing he’ll be cool with that.) Right now, Xavier’s keeping crazy-busy with school, work, acting, and spreading the word about his oh-so-talented co-stars. Check out the video to see him in action—and get a glimpse at his graduation bling.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Youth CongressGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Being a leader doesn't come naturally to most, but thanks to the Youth Congress program at Moody High School in Waco, some top-notch students are finding out it doesn't have to. This elite extracurricular club is giving its members an all-access pass to picking up some proper professional skills that include communication, delegation, and collaboration. But it certainly doesn't stop there. With their annual Leadership Conference for Youth Congress and regular volunteer opportunities, these Texas teens are starting to find that they—and the skills they possess—are anything but typical.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Wee Blue Beasties Gaming ClubGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Manor New Tech High School is getting gamers completely GEAR'ed UP about STEAM subjects and all the related career options with their innovative gaming and media club Wee Blue Beasties. Whether students are aspiring artists or math masters, everyone is welcome in this super-inclusive club. These techy and talented teens are learning way more than just traits like coding, mapping, and design. Through collaboration, creativity, and communication the Wee Blue Beasties club is helping students get a level up by gaining some critical real-world skills that colleges (not to mention prospective employers) love.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Health Science AcademyGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
When the folks at IDEA Public Schools GEAR UP started hearing that students were wanting to leave to attend more health and science-oriented institutions, they knew they had to come up with an inventive solution or risk losing them all together—and thus was born the grant's annual Health Science Academy. The engaging course opens students up to a world of health science career options they never knew existed, while blending classroom instruction with hands-on labs and real-world experiences. Working with local hospitals and universities, the deeply immersive program has proven to be so successful that IDEA GEAR UP has had to create a waiting list for students who want to sign up. But as the old saying goes, "Good things come to those who wait." And it sounds like the students at IDEA Public Schools couldn't agree more.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Phenomenal Women Career ConferenceGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
A great group of gals from ESC Region 12 got the chance to get up close and personal with working women at a Phenomenal Women Career Conference in Temple. Fusing facts with fashion and fun, the day-long conference offered some amazing insight and invaluable info from some incredibly fierce females. The lucky ladies attending the conference also got the time and opportunity to speak with—and hear stories from—some super-inspiring businesswomen from a variety of fields and backgrounds, helping to empower these students along the college prep path. Now, that's what we call girl power.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Mental Health SymposiumGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
When the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) needed to get the word out about substance abuse and mental health in south Texas, it made perfect sense to partner with TAMIU'S “Creating a Vision” GEAR UP team. For one day, parents and educators were invited to learn about the perils of substance abuse, mental health best practices, and college financial-aid strategies. The goals of HHSC and GEAR UP aligned perfectly with the symposium, and parents walked away with a newfound knowledge about the challenges facing their teens—plus an extra sense of connectivity to other community members. It’s strategic partnerships like these that help ensure the best possible future for TXGU'ers (and generations to come).
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Book ClubGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
In an effort to foster a passion for reading, the ESC Region 12 College Link team started a book club that's gotten their kids going cover to cover like never before. A focus of the club is preparing students for college by developing social skills, text-analysis techniques, and adding context to curriculum they’re already exposed to in class. The response has been tremendous. As membership has grown, so has the program. The students (in conjunction with their advisors) are now curating book lists for consideration. Forming a strong partnership with the school library and getting word of mouth going helped get this program off the ground. The inclusive nature of a book club has also made reading more like fun than homework. So if you’d like to get a book club started in your own grant, watch to see how it’s done.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Parent & Student Athlete SymposiumGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
The Texas GEAR UP State Grant hosted a Parent & Student Athlete Symposium and scored big time. The focus of the event was to bring kids who play sports together with their biggest fans—their parents—under one roof to talk about the deeper meaning behind athletics and how the principles behind teamwork, leadership, and hard work present themselves beyond the playing field. Attendees from four districts were treated to a day of games, workshops, and guest speakers (including former student athletes). The headliner at the event was none other than world-champion San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green. We certainly know that not every child will grow up to be a title-winning athlete, but with symposiums like this, they’ll have a far better chance at earning a much more valuable trophy: a college degree.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: GEAR UP ClubGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Some lucky IDEA Public Schools students from the Rio Grande Valley are getting a highly unique taste of college life through the exciting and engaging Transformational College Field Lessons program. These lessons aren't your typical visits to local colleges or even state universities. No, these TXGU'ers are getting real-life experiences they'll never forget. As part of a small group of carefully vetted freshmen on a seven-school Ivy League tour, selected students sat in on classes (where they were even called on by professors) at schools like MIT, Harvard, Brown, and other heavy-hitters. See how deeper-dive trips like these can truly transform lives and empower students with the confidence they need to keep their dreams (and their work ethics) big.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Rails to TrailsGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
The forward-thinkers at Region One ESC GEAR UP are using a citywide problem in Rio Hondo to improve the quality of life for its citizens—as well as provide a tremendous opportunity to teach urban planning to some lucky students. After a city planner noticed that kids were literally running in traffic (obviously way dangerous), a plan to develop an exercise trail was hatched. What made this plan different is that it relied on valuable input from the students themselves as to how the trail would be designed, financed, and ultimately presented to the city council. The end result was the adoption of a resolution in support of the trail project, in addition to a truly unique chance for Texas GEAR UP kids to do some awesome job-shadowing.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: iMAS Academy and Discover CollegeGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Heads up! The Investigations in Math and Science (iMAS) Academy and Discover College program are taking college prep to the next level. Held at Stephen F. Austin University, Texas GEAR UP students spend time at the dual-program camp taking a deeper dive into STEM-based skills, in addition to getting an up-close perspective on what it takes to make the jump from high school to college. Helping to make it all happen is a former student who, after struggling with that transition himself, vowed to give back to kids who will be in the same boat. The iMAS Academy is the product of an exciting partnership between the SFA STEM Center and East Texas GEAR UP for Success. Together they’ve created a fantastic weeklong program where students immerse in STEM-based curriculum and get a first hand look at a college campus. Not only what the campus looks like, but actually attending classes in a university environment and thus opening young minds to a world of possibilities.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: TIES ConferenceGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Our Texas GEAR UP compatriots in the RGV are really raising the (tie) bar when it comes to getting guys ready for college. Together in Education for Success (T.I.E.S.) was started by Region One ESC GEAR UP to strengthen the bond between father and son, as well as address the dropping college-enrollment rates among young men. For one day, boys and their fathers or mentors join educators and community leaders at the University of Texas-Pan American, and through presentations and breakout sessions, they explore the topics of professionalism, community, family, and tradition. It's an interactive day of life skills, scientific demonstrations, and, of course, neckties. The symbol of the necktie is used to teach kids how it feels to look and act professional. The tie is transformative. For many attendees, this was their first time on a college campus—in addition to their first attempt at a Windsor knot.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Science and Engineering ExtravaganzaGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Our GEAR UP friends out in El Paso are up to some pretty amazing things. What once began as an event for a handful of students has exploded into an engineering and science extravaganza that takes STEM development into the next stratosphere. By partnering with the local chapter of Mexican American Engineering & Sciences and the UTEP Department of Engineering, TXGU students from near and far are able to spend hands-on time learning rocket science, physics, computer engineering, robotics programing, and everything in between. Of course, the most important lesson these kids learn is what's possible for their future. (Spoiler: just about anything.) And what makes the program even more extra special? It was actually led by a recent TXGU alum!
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Parent 2 ParentGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
What happens when parents come together? Greatness. In East Texas, parents are coming together like never before. The launch of a GEAR UP outreach program called Parent2Parent is connecting educators with parents to close the knowledge gap and expand the educational possibilities for all the kids in the community. The East Texas GEAR UP team assembled school district personnel, university faculty, social workers, community organizers, and church leaders to introduce the bilingual Opening Doors curriculum to help parents understand how their children can make the college dream a reality. The program also empowers parents to extend the learning by training them to actually go out and share information with other parents in their community. Already, the impact has been tremendous—it's pretty much the best kind of paying it forward you can imagine.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Focus for Students with DisabilitiesGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
As a general rule, TXGU'ers tackle issues of a lack of expectation, example, or ambition and go on to an amazing education post-graduation. That goes double for students who have disabilities—and that lack of a dream to strive towards could've been a real impediment in Bryan ISD if the students there weren't surrounded by GEAR UP staff and partners to help them break through any perceived restrictions, and let them discover how to make their strengths really work for them. With independent-living prep added on to the educational tools all TXGU students get, the forward-thinking Bryan ISD GEAR UP team has crafted a winning (and inclusive) combination that gets students with extra challenges empowered in life and enrolled in college. That's a definite win.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: College Road TripsGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and we definitely agree. But when it comes to students being able to really place themselves in a college setting, a 3-D experience is even more ideal. And no, we don't mean sending them to an informational IMAX screening—we're talking about sticking them on a bus, getting them on a montage-worthy trip, and having them truly gain firsthand experience with what it's like on college campuses across the state (and beyond). Especially when many of the students involved haven't yet experienced much beyond the deserts of El Paso. Take it from us, you can't really put something like walking the rolling hills of UT Austin or taking in the full glory of the Traditions Plaza at Texas A&M into a computer. Seeing (and touching and listening and singing road songs) really is believing.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: District Leadership TeamGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Multi-level collaboration is the name of the game with the school admin and staff of Region One ESC GEAR UP. What they're doing (and quite successfully) is having regular interdisciplinary meetings in each district between GEAR UP staffers, teachers, and school administrators (all the way up to the superintendent) built right into their grant to better work out innovative ideas amongst themselves and share data on what is, isn't, could be, and should be happening with their TXGU kids. Having this "core" in their districts has been an excellent way to not only bring more brains together and give everyone an equal voice, but to also make sure everyone in the room is creating policies with all the pertinent information possible. And best of all? It's all going back into getting TXGU'ers up and over their high school hurdles and on the right track to a college degree.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: LVN ProgramGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Nursing's a great job. Nurses perform an incredibly demanding, immensely valuable, and incalculably rewarding service to their community—and it's steady work that requires even steadier minds to go in and git 'er done with compassion and a high level of expertise. That's where the Hudson High School Licensed Vocational Nurse program comes in. As the community noticed a lack of nurses to go around in their own hospitals, the educators at Hudson paired with East Texas GEAR UP for Success to get the community college and local hospitals straight into the schools to get the seed of the healthcare career mindset planted as soon as possible for interested students. The program efforts not only converted a classroom to a recreation of a hospital ward, but also fostered a sense of fellowship among current and future nurses.
Texas GEAR UP In Action: Novela ScreeningsGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
If a penny saved is a penny earned, students and parents in Region One ESC GEAR UP are learning how to pull down some serious cash. Family novela-viewing nights in the schools are paired with demonstrations from financial-literacy grant partners to give TXGU'ers better insight into what it means to save up for school, as well as how to best manage their money in the meantime. They laugh, they cry, they chow down on some popcorn—and in the end, everyone goes home a little more prepared to handle their college finances. We give that two thumbs up.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Angry Birds Summer CampGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Who says summer prep courses have to be dull? Whoever it was, they definitely weren't rocking in the Ysleta summers like these lucky students. The Proyecto M.A.S. GEAR UP team worked with teachers to stage a weeklong hands-on course preparing TXGU juniors for the classwork in Algebra II and physics by getting students physically constructing the concepts they learned, calculating the power of their own creations, and having them bring one of the most popular phone apps on the planet to life. As you might imagine, the kids found a whole new level of enthusiasm for the subject matter. (Because catapults.)
Texas GEARUP in Action: Finishing StrongGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Bryan ISD GEAR UP team members have turned into some National Geographic-level hunter-gatherers—of student information, that is. The targeted approach their Senior Case Load program takes starts with identifying the most at-risk students in their final year, and then gets them the personalized assistance they need to keep up their head of steam through senior year and into being a freshman in college. Students get access to mentors, counselors, parent liaisons, and best of all, a push in the right direction. We'd call that 'caseload closed.'
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Parent Transition EventGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
TXGU students in El Paso are feeling double the support these days, with parents getting very in the know about all their college-prep needs. Between an active superintendent getting the word out , dedicated calls from multiple school districts aimed at having at least 560 parents in attendance, students willing to share their experiences onstage, and even an astronaut’s intervention, word spread like wildfire when UTEP SOAR hosted a family conference. Proud parents came in ready to learn what they could do to help their students go above and beyond. With all this positive involvement, that proverbial phrase “the sky’s the limit” actually feels a bit short-sighted..
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Peer Mentoring ProgramGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
When it comes to mentoring, the Central ISD team has hit on a decidedly winning solution: help students to help each other! After trying out different styles of mentoring without seeing the results they were hoping for, the team implemented a peer-mentor program—and that proved to be the magic solution. Mentors and mentees are paired by one staffer who knows the students well, so their personalities, academic alignments, and family situations are all strategically matched. The result? Confidence coming from the mentees, volunteer satisfaction from the mentors, and a big win-win for the entire district.
Texas GEAR UP in Action: Dropout Recovery & PreventionGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
There are students in Bryan who are heading to college despite incredible odds being stacked against them—and that is due in no small part to the efforts of the Bryan ISD GEAR UP team. With a focused, personalized commitment to dropout recovery and prevention, GEAR UP staffer Lindsey Aldridge makes it her mission to help at-risk kids avoid falling through the proverbial cracks. She’s knocked on countless doors and made a true difference in the lives of students who now have promising futures ahead of them.
Faces of Texas GEAR UP: AlexisGrade Range: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 CCMP Institutional Organization: Texas Education Agency
Need a theater set built or a volleyball spiked? Just hit up Alexis, a freshman from Temple whose love of math and science will come in rather handy when she’s a chemical or aerospace engineer someday. Her family is challenged by visual impairment, but that’s only made Alexis super responsible and all the more determined to do awesome things with her life. Get the full scoop—including why everyone calls her “The Floater” at school—by checking out her video.