GEAR UP Site Directors examine why students miss class and then implement programs - both proactive and reactive - to encourage students to attend their classes. Creating interventions that address the reasons for absenteeism is the key to solving the problem.
Through tutoring, mentoring, improved attendance, academic enrichment activities, and the encouragement and inspiration they receive from their Site Directors, GEAR UP students do better in school, and their grades reflect this. Between the first and third years of the Program, the percentage of NAU-GEAR UP students getting grades of B or better in mathematics and language arts increased.
A fundamental GEAR UP premise is that children will live up to, or down to, the expectations that are held for them by others. GEAR UP sponsors training for site staff, faculty and administration, parents, and mentors on the Power of High Expectations. As a result, GEAR UP students regularly and consistently hear that they will graduate from high school, that they are capable of succeeding in college, and are made aware that they have the support they need to do so. Because parents and students alike are provided information about the cost of college and the availability of financial aid and scholarships, they learn that money does not have to be a barrier to post secondary education.
Higher enrollment in college prerequisite courses
Through one-on-one academic counseling, GEAR UP Site Directors ensure that students are enrolling and succeeding in classes beyond those required for high school graduation, and which are required for college admission.
Enhanced knowledge of the value and cost of college
GEAR UP-sponsored Financial Aid and College Preparation workshops, one-on-one counseling and numerous written communiqués to parents (in both English and Spanish) give parents and students a more realistic picture of how much college costs and how much financial aid is available. Assistance in finding and applying for scholarships provides concrete financial assistance. Job shadowing and career workshops let students experience first-hand the kinds of careers that will be available to them if they succeed in college.
Increased high school graduation rates
With improved attendance and grades, inspired and encouraged by mentors and their Site Directors, and motivated by the expectation of going to college and the possibility of a rewarding career, it is anticipated that the drop out rate among GEAR UP students will be lower than the drop out rate of comparable non-GEAR UP students.
Increased college admission rates
Because of the broad range of interventions and enrichment activities provided to GEAR UP students over five years, in 2012, NAU GEAR UP students graduated from high school at a rate of 83%; 72% verified college-enrollment in the fall.