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About Gear Up Birmingham

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a competitive grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to high-risk communities to develop comprehensive, research-driven programs to prepare low-income, minority and first-generation students for higher education. GEAR UP students receive tutoring, mentoring, enhanced advisement from counselors, summer academic enrichment and financial education to learn how to pay for college. GEAR UP programs change students' lives by building a college-going culture in schools. In September of 2014, the Birmingham City School System was awarded a $19.6 million GEAR UP grant from the USDE. 

Summer Camp Testimonials

“Birmingham City Schools has put forth a great deal of effort to ensure that our students have the resources to be both college and career ready. Our Career Academies have given us great momentum toward this goal in the high schools, and this grant gives us an opportunity to strengthen those efforts at the middle school level.”

Dr. Spencer Horn,  Birmingham City Schools, Director of Academic and Strategic Initiatives

Latest News

  • GEAR UP BIRMINGHAM OFFERS FREE SUMMER CAMPS
  • GEAR UP Birmingham to Offer 31 Free Summer Camps to Rising 9th and 10th Graders

    (BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – March 14, 2017) GEAR UP Birmingham is offering 31 free summer camps to rising 9th and 10th graders in Birmingham City Schools. The camps cover subjects that include: math, writing, earth science, theatre, game design and much more. Registration begins on March 15, 2017, and ends April 17, 2017. Transportation is provided for all camps for the upcoming summer.

    Auburn University, University of Montevallo, Samford University, Alabama State University, UAB and Girls, Inc. will partner with GEAR UP Birmingham to host the camps. Each camp is uniquely designed so all students can explore subjects or future careers in which they are interested. Daily activities include computer programming, writing, reading, culinary, sports, stock trading, college tours and more.

    University professors and trained professionals will lead these activities in a hands-on, interactive manner. Students will also experience life on a college campus and, in some cases, explore the cities surrounding these campuses.

    Space is limited so make sure your student is prepared for the upcoming school year by registering today.

    “We encourage our students to take advantage of the free summer camps for an enriching and educational summer. These camps help prepare our students to excel in a college going atmosphere,” said Dr. Spencer Horn, Director of Academic and Strategic Initiatives, Birmingham City Schools.

    To learn more about the camps and register, visit GEARUPbham.com.

    About Gear Up Birmingham

    GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a competitive grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to high-risk communities to develop comprehensive, research-driven programs to prepare low income, minority and first-genera1on students for higher education.

    GEAR UP students receive tutoring, mentoring, enhanced advisement from counselors, summer academic enrichment and financial education to learn how to pay for college. GEAR UP programs change students' lives by building a college-going culture in schools. In September of 2014, the Birmingham City School System (BCS) was awarded a $19.6 million GEAR UP grant from the USDE.

  • GEAR UP Mathletes Compete
  • GEARUP Birmingham students competed in the MATHCOUNTS ® Chapter competition held at Pizitz Middle School on Saturday, February 11, 2017. There were four student teams representing Birmingham City Schools – Phillips Academy, Jones Valley Middle School, South Hampton School K-8 and Huffman Middle School. Students endured a rigorous three hours of math. Each MATHCOUNTS competition consists of several parts: the Sprint, Target, Team and Countdown Rounds. Round one (the Sprint Round) had 30 questions in which the students had 40 minutes to complete them. The Target Round consisted of eight questions. Students received only two questions at a time and were given six minutes to complete each pair of problems. In the last round (The Team Round) students as a team were allowed to work together on 10 problems for 20 minutes.

    For several weeks, student teams have been participating in virtual coaching sessions and site prep sessions sponsored by the UAB Regions Institute for Financial Education/COLLAT School of Business. All this was made possible through the GEARUP Birmingham Partnership Grant.

    Daniel Harris, 8th grade student from Jones Valley Middle School, said that he thought the competition was very interesting.

    “At this competition, there are so many different races and different cultures competing. The tests were hard, and I mean hard! They were so hard that when I was trying to work them out, I felt like a freshman in college,” said Daniel. He can’t wait for the opportunity to compete again.

    Dr. Marsha Savage, West Area Site Facilitator, stated, “By participating in events such as this, our students further understand their need to take more academic risks and participate in more challenging activities. When our students compete, they can see that they are on the receiving end of a world-class education where they will one day be able to reach their full potential and succeed.” This is the main message of GEARUP.

    The MATHCOUNTS ® Chapter Competition hosted a total of 17 schools and 100+ students. Participation at any level in MATHCOUNTS qualifies a student to apply for a future college scholarship.

    Phillips Academy

    • Elizabeth Green
    • Joy Branch
    • Alexis Harris
    • Gabriel Barch

    Jones Valley

    • Jatlin Lee
    • Pierre Prince
    • Daniel Harris

    South Hampton

    • Jadien Boykins
    • Brandon Pope-Giles
    • Akera White
    • Antania Holmes

    Huffman Middle

    • Javier Garcia
    • Jordan Westbrook
    • Jamaya Jackson
    • Katherine Anderson
     

     

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“On behalf of the Alabama Community College System (ACCS), I would like to congratulate you and the Birmingham City School System (BCS) on being a recipient of the 2014 Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness of Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant.”

Dr. Mark Heinrich,  Chancellor, Alabama Community College System

Read Dr. Heinrich's Full Letter

“GEAR UP Birmingham is providing hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) experiences that are normally seen only at elite schools. These experiences will help our students successfully compete for great positions at top STEM university programs and in 21st century STEM careers.”

Dr. Michael Wyss, Professor, Director, Center for Community Outreach Development, University of Alabama at Birmingham

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