More than 300 Black Belt high school students “GEAR UP” for UAB learning experience

The School of Education will host students from 19 high schools the week of May 13 as part of a program to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college.
Written by: Kyndle Huey
Media contact: Brianna Hoge

GearUpJoomlaThe University of Alabama at Birmingham will welcome more than 300 high school students from the Black Belt region of Alabama from May 13-16 to participate in Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness of Undergraduate Programs, also known as GEAR UP, mini-camps.

The camps are directed by UAB’s School of Education with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s GEAR UP grant. UAB was awarded its GEAR UP grant in 2014.

GEAR UP Alabama aims to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Now in its fifth year, GEAR UP Alabama serves nearly 10,000 rising high school juniors and seniors in 21 school systems across the state.

This is the second year for UAB to host the mini-camps, which give the students a preview of college life and how to succeed in a higher-education institution. Students from 19 high schools will participate in this year’s camps, including Greene County High School, Selma High School and Pike County High School. Students will interact with admissions representatives, attend classes, explore UAB’s campus and spend the evening in one of UAB’s residence halls.

READ MORE: GEAR UP Alabama harnesses the power of collaboration to serve students in Alabama’s Black Belt

Classes will be taught by faculty across multiple disciplines. Courses include Youth Social Movements by Tondra Loder-Jackson, Ph.D., Careers in Language and Language in Careers by Josie Prado, Ph.D., and Nazi Germany and the Holocaust: New Questions and Approaches by Jonathan Wiesen, Ph.D.

The mini-camps are designed to engage students, prepare them for college and encourage them to take advantage of the services offered through GEAR UP Alabama, including dual-enrollment through UAB Start, which allows students who meet specific pre-ACT and GPA requirements to take introductory college courses.

READ MORE: How UAB is transforming education in the Black Belt

GEAR UP Alabama is a competitive grant program of the U.S. Department of Education that provides states and local community-education partnerships with six- to seven-year grants to offer support services to high-poverty middle and high schools. In the fall of 2014, the UAB School of Education was awarded the $60.2 million grant, $24.5 million of which is from the U.S. Department of Education and $35.7 million matched by donations from partners and in-kind support, which includes time, effort, donation of services, space and other non-monetary contributions. Serving nearly 10,000 students in 42 schools across 21 school systems throughout the Black Belt region of Alabama, GEAR UP Alabama has five objectives to meet the overall goal established by the grant:

  • Increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education for GEAR UP students
  • Increase the rate of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education for GEAR UP students
  • Increase GEAR UP students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation and financing
  • Increase the percentage of GEAR UP students who enroll in and succeed in postsecondary education
  • Increase the preparation of the project’s teachers and staff to teach and serve GEAR UP students