A low-achieving Jefferson County public school is getting help with boosting the number of students attending college.
Gear Up Kentucky is an initiative of the Council on Postsecondary Education that provides college-preparation tools to students. The program was awarded a six-year, $27 million grant last year to assist its college-readiness program.
Western Middle School is one of 29 Kentucky schools that were announced Friday to participate. The grant allows Gear Up representatives to follow groups of students beginning in 7th grade through high school, offering various services to encourage them to be college bound.
“Our goal is to change the culture in the school and to really institute a college going culture that will last far longer than our grant will. That’s what we want to accomplish here, is a cultural change,” said spokeswoman Kim Millerd.
Students will have access to services like a mentoring program and may be invited to a summer program that houses students on a college campus, she said.
“We will have a Gear Up staff person in every school and so that staff person will work with the school leaders, teachers, counselors to implement the program,” Millerd said.
The schools were chosen based on the number of students on free and reduced lunches and also assessment scores. Western Middle was in the first group of schools that was deemed low-achieving according to the federal No Child Left Behind standards. It has since begun to show improvements.