Gear-Up program wins awards

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 21, 2003

The Ironton City Schools' efforts to encourage academic excellence and higher education among is getting state recognition.

The Ohio Gear-Up Foundation has recognized the city school's Gear-Up program for its summer proficiency class. Gear-Up Director Jeff Handley said the class is offered to students who do not pass the proficiency test during the regular school year. Students are given intensive training in a specific subject during the summer class, and then are allowed to take the test again.

The Gear-Up program is in its fifth year of funding. The federal grant was only supposed to be for five years, but the district got an extension.

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The mission of Gear-Up is to significantly increase the number of students prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.

Also, the district's "It Might As Well Be You" program was honored with

the "Best Recently Established Program" award from the Student Loan Funding Resources, LLC at this year's Ohio College Access Network (OCAN) conference.

"It Might As Well Be You" provides students from seventh through 12th grades with information on how to access higher education in spite of personal or financial obstacles.

In notifying Handley of the honor, SLFR President Lisa Mitchell noted that "Your (Ironton Schools) efforts to increase participation in higher education touch not only the lives of the people you counsel, but also enrich the social and economic environment throughout Ohio."

Handley said he is pleased with the awards, which he said points to the success of a collaborative efforts between teachers, administrators and students.

"The reason we have these programs is to help the students," Handley said. "We want to make students understand that a high school diploma these days is not enough to get the job they want after high school. And, that's what we're here for- to help them get the education they need."