Fitchburg residents who are members of the classes of 2016 and 2017 will receive services through GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) throughout this academic year. The primary goal of GEAR UP is to provide participants with the academic support and college preparation necessary to increase their chances at academic success and, ultimately, of college enrollment. GEAR UP program staff are located at Fitchburg High School and Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School. GEAR UP will continue to offer services to each of the students enrolled in the classes of 2016 and 2017 until graduation.
GEAR UP is a six-year initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by Mount Wachusett Community College in partnership with the Fitchburg Public School and Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School Districts as well as several community and education partners. This partnership mission is two-fold: to provide cohort students with intensive academic, recreational and family based interventions designed to increase cohort student academic success; and to provide the public school districts with a sustainable, system-wide infusion of instructional and curricular reforms that lead to improvements in teaching, learning and curriculum that will increase student knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas.
GEAR UP is part of Mount Wachusett Community College’s Division of Access and Transition, maximizing the resources of several programs to offer the latest in college preparation, financial aid information, and academic workshops to students. In addition, GEAR UP supports out-of-school programs and/or parent initiatives to offer targeted students with specific academic, career, career preparation, internships, social, and cultural programming, designed to enhance their educational experience, while providing community visibility and accessibility outreach for the program.
Specific services GEAR UP currently provides include academic counseling, tutoring, homework support, after school academic and social activities, college awareness and financial aid workshops and materials, professional development for faculty and staff and MCAS, PSAT/SAT preparation and college admissions assistance.
GEAR UP supports the students of Fitchburg through collaboration with existing programs and activities. GEAR UP is funded 50% by the U.S. Department of Education, and federal funds are matched dollar for dollar by state and local community resources. Total funding for this year from the U.S. Department of Education is $607,999.