July 8, 2008

Schools Land $482K Boost for Programs: The Federal Grant Will Partly Fund College Preparation for Middle School Students.

By Cathy Grimes, Daily Press, Newport News, Va.

Jul. 8--HAMPTON -- The School District's middle and high school reform program recently received a $482,000 boost from the U.S. Department of Education.

Hampton was the only school district in Virginia -- and one of just 24 programs nationwide -- to receive an Education Department GEAR UP grant.

GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. The money is used to help middle school students prepare for college, and requires districts to work with at least one college or university and two community or business organizations.

Districts also must focus on at least one low-income middle school.

Hampton's program will help rising seventh-graders at Lindsay and Spratley middle schools prepare for college or other post-high school education. Last year, 253 seventh-graders attended Spratley, while 289 were enrolled at Lindsay.

Services include a summer program in 2009, tutors and assistance during their middle and high school careers, and Saturday school for Lindsay students.

Hampton also will partner with schools and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium for summer and school-year science, technology, engineering and math programs.

Parents are included in the mix. The program calls for annual parent retreats and parent involvement facilitators.

The federal grant covers about 40 percent of the program's cost. Partners and the district will cover the rest. Hampton's partners include the Coliseum Central Business Improvement District, the Educational Policy Institute, Old Dominion University, and the YMCA. The program begins this fall.

In addition to the 24 programs started this year, the U.S. Department of Education gave grants to 166 continuation projects begun in the last five years. Together, they serve more than 738,000 students.


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