Starting this summer, the Education Access and Outreach has a new program. It is a new form of the GEAR UP program, which focuses on helping students get high school credit. GEAR UP stands for “gaining early awareness and readiness for undergraduate programs.”

Two GEAR UP programs are currently at Weber State University for this summer. The newest one is for Weber and Davis County schools.

“We sought funding to support kids we haven’t been working with in new schools, to help them have preparation and support to go to college,” said Ruth Patino Stubbs, the director of Education Access and Outreach.

With this new program, Education Access and Outreach will be working with 375 new youth, from 10th-graders to freshmen in college, in three new junior high schools and three new high schools. The other GEAR UP program focused on children only from the Ogden school districts.

The program includes skill-building, credit make-up and campus visits.

“We want to expand opportunities for students to be able to be prepared to go to college,” Stubbs said. “I think this will increase those opportunities. It provides support and resources to these potential students who could be here at Weber State next fall or within six years.”

Stubbs said that, of the youth who attend the programs, about 70-80 percent end up attending WSU. She also said that more than 60 percent of the students in the summer programs are ethnic minorities, and more than 50 percent are female.

To start up this new program, Education Access and Outreach needed funding. The organization wrote a grant and set up a contract that will last for seven years.

Along with the GEAR UP programs, additional Education Access and Outreach programs are occurring this summer. One is the College Summer Summit, which allows soon-to-be high school seniors to get a jump start on college planning.

Bahar Alimadadi, a lead advocate within the program, started working with the Summer Summit program this year.

“We try to get to know the kids . . . just help them out and make them see that college is an option for everyone,” she said.  She also said she would work with the Education Access and Outreach programs again.

The summer programs have seen an improvement in the abilities of the students in attendance. During Summer Summit, the students took an ACT pre-test and a post-test.

“Last week, the scores improved from start to finish from at least 10 percent to 30 percent,” said Asha Jones, the program coordinator for the Student 2 Student program. Student 2 Student is another WSU program that encourages students to go to college and helps them prepare for college.

“I love working with students who come from first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students of color,” Jones said, “to show them that the educational pipeline is for them. Oftentimes they are told it’s not for them in the schools.”

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