Compton College Partnerships Result in GEAR UP Grant Awards

In an effort to build and strengthen a local college-going culture and improved access to higher education, Compton College established two new partnerships that resulted in the U.S. Department of Education awarding two seven-year Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) grants to benefit Compton Unified School District (CUSD) students. The program provides grants to states or partnerships to provide early intervention support services and scholarships to a cohort of students in low-income schools, following them from seventh grade through their first year in secondary education. The funding period for both grants began on Oct. 1, 2018.

University of California Irvine Partnership

The University of California, Irvine, Compton Unified School District, and Compton College partnership was awarded $5,440,000 over seven years to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. The Compton GEAR UP program will begin its intensive work at Davis, Bunche, Enterprise, and Willowbrook middle schools in the Compton Unified School District. This program will start by supporting a cohort of 1,000 sixth- and seventh- grade students and will continue to serve 1,000 students as they transition into Compton and Centennial high schools, and on to postsecondary education.

Many community-based partners have committed resources to contribute to the success of the project and sustain the work beyond the seven years of GEAR UP: The City of Compton, Verizon Foundation/Digital Promise, SNAP, and Project FIRST. Additionally, the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Schools Program conducted by the UC Irvine School of Engineering will contribute to joint programming efforts for this project.

California State University, Dominguez Hills Partnership

The California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), Compton Unified School District, and Compton College GEAR UP partnership was awarded $4,291,072 over seven years. The CSUDH GEAR UP program will begin at Roosevelt and Whaley middle schools in the Compton Unified School District. This program will start by supporting a cohort of 800 sixth- and seventh-grade students and will continue to serve 800 students as they transition into Dominguez High School, and on to postsecondary education.

Many community-based partners have committed resources to contribute to the success of the project and sustain the work beyond the seven years of the CSUDH GEAR UP: The Whittier-based Parent Engagement Academy, youth speaking and coaching company CoolSpeak, and Smart Study Tutors, a Westlake Village college testing preparation firm.

GEAR UP Grant Services and Activities

Both programs to benefit CUSD have overall goals and measurable objectives directed at improving students' academic achievement, college awareness and preparation, and parents' college knowledge in order to measurably increase students' rate of graduation and enrollment in and completion of college. Multiple activities and services will be implemented through this project, including:

  • Academic Tutoring and Instruction
  • Advanced Placement/Dual Enrollment Courses Information and Tutoring
  • STEM Enrichment and Instruction
  • Academic Advising and College Readiness
  • College Career, Financial Aid Awareness and Economic Literacy
  • Professional Development and Training Opportunities for Teachers, Counselors, and Staff
  • First Year of College Programming and Services

The program will allow for extensive professional development for all teachers and counselors at GEAR UP schools during all project years. Research-based math and English language arts strategies, college admissions processes and requirements, and multiple-source data will be used to improve teaching, as well as learning.



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