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Akron Public Schools to receive $1.18 million in grant money for 'GEAR UP' program

Grant, program helps students in poverty
School Desk
Posted at 1:52 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 13:52:57-04

AKRON, Ohio — Akron Public Schools is a recipient of a federal grant awarding more than $1.18 million for it's GEAR UP Partnership Program that will help students from low-income families go to college.

The GEAR UP Program aims to help 1,500 students at the following schools in Akron:

  • Buchtel Community Learning Center
  • East Community Learning Center
  • Innes Community Learning Center
  • Jennings Community Learning Center
  • Kenmore-Garfield High School
  • North High School

The grant was announced by Congressman Tim Ryan, who represents Ohio's 13th District.

“As we work to build a new economy in Northeast Ohio, we need to ensure that all of our students get the education they deserve. The GEAR UP Program will provide Akron Public Schools the resources they need,” said Ryan. “Education is about making sure all students are healthy, ready to compete, and up to the challenges that face them in the future. The GEAR UP Program will provide our students with the tools they need to succeed. I congratulate the Akron Public Schools for the vision and commitment needed to ensure the best education possible.”

The federal funds will allow the school district to provide services to middle school and high school students in poverty as well as provide college scholarships.

"This grant certainly will enhance our ongoing work on behalf of our students by giving us useful, comparative data as they progress from middle through high school,” said Christine Fowler Mack, superintendent of Akron Public Schools. “Our thanks to Project GRAD and the many partners who contributed to this gift to our students."

Specifically, the grant funds will be used in the following ways:

Assist the Akron Public Schools in providing financial aid information for postsecondary education encouraging enrollment in rigorous and challenging coursework to reduce the need for remediation at the postsecondary level; implementing activities to improve the number of participating students who obtain a secondary school diploma and who complete applications for and enroll in a program of postsecondary education; and providing scholarships to students.

“Project GRAD Akron is pleased to be the lead partner in the GEAR UP grant submitted by the Akron Public Schools to the US Department of Education,” said Jackie Silas-Butler, executive director of Project GRAD Akron. “We are so excited that our "Aim High Akron" grant was approved for federal funding. A team of individuals worked tirelessly to bring this grant proposal to fruition. This was a herculean and community effort supported by so many school officials, parents, colleges and universities, elected officials, community leaders, and other stakeholders, partners, and supporters. We look forward to the amazing work that we plan to do with students currently in the 6th & 7th grades. This grant will allow us to follow these students for seven years to their eventual high school graduations from one of the targeted schools and as they matriculate to post-secondary success. It is an incredible opportunity for our students, families, our community, and of course, Akron Public Schools.”

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