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Gear Up Virginia

Spring 2018 Newsletter

» News
» Regional Highlights
» Resources


GUV Schools Partner with Virginia College Advising Corp

VCAC staff and college advisers at UVA during the 2017 summer training

GEAR UP Virginia (GUV) and the Virginia College Advising Corps (VCAC) continue working together to prepare 12 new college advisers to be placed at 12 GUV high schools in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years. Charlottesville High School, George Washington High School, and Washington & Lee High School have had VCAC college advisers for a number of years. Eleven GUVSchool Divisions starting a new partnership with VCAC school divisions will join them, welcoming new college advisers starting in 2018-2019.

On February 23, 2018, GUV high school representatives participated in interviews held at Bryant Hall within the University of Virginia football stadium.  (Interviews took place in the skyboxes, and GUV representatives took advantage of the opportunity by snapping many photographs!)  They interviewed college advising candidates, asking questions to determine whether the candidate and school would be a good match.  In return, candidates asked questions about school culture and life in our GUV communities. 

VCAC college advising candidates are in the final stages of being placed at GUV high schools.  Some are still being vetted, while others have participated in shadowing days.  Many have already committed to their GUV high school placement.  Summer training for college advisers will start on July 9th and end on August 3rd.  Summer training includes college campus visits, college admissions and financial aid training, SAT/ACT updates, cultural competency training, professionalism training, and much more.  Site supervisors will attend a training at University of Virginia on July 24th.  Please mark your calendars!

Regional Meetings Across the State

Regional Meetings are a once a year opportunity for GEAR UP divisions in each of the three regions to come together to share best practices, network, learn about new opportunities, and hear about GEAR UP Virginia updates. Each of the three regional meetings reflected the spirit of the Southeastern, Western, and North Central Regions.

The Western Region (covering Charlotte, Covington, Danville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke) held their meeting at beautiful Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA. Schools presented on topics including technology in the classroom and the innovative idea of “push-in” tutoring, where tutors are used inside the classroom. 

The Southeastern Region (covering Dinwiddie, Petersburg, Newport News, Suffolk, and Sussex) coordinated an appreciation meeting. Dinwiddie County offered their skills and designed GUV trophies in their 3D printer and woodshop class. The trophies were presented to the winners for their schools’ best practices in five areas.

The North Central Region (Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, King and Queen, and Westmoreland County) met at the brand new Varina Area Library.  Each school presented on their best practices, from Kajeet hotspots to growth mindset curricula to university partnerships.  Presenters also showcased new opportunities that are available to GUV students. 

It was great to see all GEAR UP schools come together and share ideas!

GEAR UP Regional Meetings


Western Region

Mr. Stevenson talking to GUV StudentsAntonio Stevenson is a mentor and founder of "My Brother's Second Chance." He is also a former GEAR UP coordinator from Winston-Salem, North Carolina and a motivational speaker. He visited Heritage High School in Lynchburg in April and shared a powerful message with our GEAR UP students. In the morning, he spoke with students with high referrals and/or absences about the "bridge builders" in their lives. He told the students, "Show me your friends, I'll show you your future." Mr. Stevenson also had lunch with a group of GEAR UP student athletes to discuss the importance of excellence in the classroom in reaching their goals for college. In the afternoon, he spoke with 10th grade English students, the school faculty, and the football team. His message resonated with our students and was positively received.  


EMU student talking with GUV students

Eastern Mennonite University created a “GEAR UP day” on their campus for 44 Harrisonburg High School GUV students. College student mentors guided them through a day of “mock” college classes, conversations with coaches, admissions officers, financial aid staff, and professors in various majors. Students experienced a deeper understanding of how college life works and were able to discuss what becoming a college student requires.


GEAR UP students with Judge Aundria D. FosterOn March 24,  An Achievable Dream Middle/High and Warwick High in Newport News held a program to encourage minority, female students to pursue law related careers. Students networked with local judges and attorneys with some receiving an opportunity for future job shadowing.  Panelists included the first African American woman to become a Judge in Newport News, a Chief Judge in the Hampton General District Court, and a College of William & Mary School of Law Professor.


Time sensitive information about Professional Development, Grants, Scholarships, Opportunities for Students, and Resources available in this section.


ENGAGE VA: Youth Engagement Seminar & Showcase

GEAR UP VA is proud to partner with CoolSpeak to present the ENGAGE VA Conference, a training and teacher professional development seminar that will focus on student engagement best practices and researched techniques, at George Mason University on June 20-21, 2018.

2018 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference

The NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference is being held this year from July 15-18 in Washington DC.  This is the premier professional development event for state and partnership GEAR UP grantees. Registration is now open!


American School Counselor Association: ASCA offers a wealth of professional development opportunities, from its annual conference to its regularly scheduled webinars, from self-paced topics, specialist training, to one-day workshops. These training events give you, the practicing school counselor, the chance to network with your peers, learn more about your chosen profession and, in many cases, earn CEUs or contact hours as well.

Connect the Ages: Connect the Ages is on a mission to connect 5 million students and young professionals to multidisciplinary career, internship and volunteer opportunities with older generations by 2025.

College Funding Group: College Funding Group provides families with customized college funding guidance and strategies to reduce college costs. This is a web source for local Virginia Scholarships.

Five Ways to Cut the College Price Tag: This U.S. Department of Education blog details five things that families can do to help cut the cost of college.

Khan Academy:  Khan Academy has SAT Prep and Practice videos and practice tests that can be customized based on the students' results.

Self-Advocacy Skills and Self-Determination for Students With Disabilities: The report has steps for parents, educators and policymakers to ensure all students are able to take an active role in their education.

Virginia Council on Economic Education: VCEE is the primary resource for Virginia’s K-12 teachers and school divisions seeking training and classroom resources for economic and financial education, at little or no cost thanks to financial support from partners.

Federal Student Aid Webinars: Managing your Student Loans: Tips for Recent College Grads (Tuesday, May 22, 2–3 p.m. ET)

Upcoming SAT Testing Dates: October 6, 2018 (Registration Deadline: September 6, 2018)

Upcoming ACT Testing Dates: July 14, 2018 (Registration Deadline: June 15, 2018)


Penguin Teacher Awards for Literacy: The Penguin Random House Foundation is offering awards of $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500 to support teachers who inspire a love of reading in students through programs and curricula that are innovative, original, and have measurable success. Winners are awarded grants to help further their reading programs and to help disseminate them to other teachers around the country. Deadline: June 1, 2018, Award: Up to $10,000

Art Teacher Incentive Grants: Teacher Incentive Grants are given to projects that promote the teaching of art. Eligible projects may address instructional process, curriculum, student learning, student assessment, classroom behavior, management, discipline, or other practices relating to instructional interaction and the achievement of student learning. Deadline: October 1st, annually, Award: Grants up to $2,500 are awarded

Community Impact Grants from The Home Depot: Home Depot gift cards are being offered to schools that are using the power of volunteers to improve the community. Funds may be used for school renovations, additions, and other improvement projects and can cover the cost of tools, materials, or services.Deadline: Rolling,  Award: $5,000 gift card to Home Depot.
Education and Youth Grants: The Webb Family Foundation makes grants in the areas of education; youth development; career and workforce readiness; financial literacy; entrepreneurship; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; digital and blended learning; and youth mentorship. The foundation supports programs and projects that target underserved children and youth. Recent grants have funded a college success program and support of charter schools working to close the achievement gap for low-income students. Deadline: Rolling, Award: Varies
Field Trip Grants from the Civil War Trust: Want to get outdoors for a history lesson? The Civil War Trust's field trip grants allow K-12 educators to take students on learning trips at natural historic sites. In particular, The Trust provides grants to help educators plan field trips to Civil War, War of 1812, and Revolutionary War battlefields, as well as related historic sites. Deadline: Rolling, Award: Up to $1,500.



Aspiring Fashion Professional Scholarship: Scholarship for students who intend to pursue a fashion related field of study. Deadline: June 1, 2018, Award: $1,000

Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship: Scholarship is open to students interested in cosmetology or barbering schools. Deadline: June 1, 2018, Award: $1,200

Trade Scholarships: Scholarship opportunities for students wanting to learn a skill or trade, from the host of "Dirty Jobs." The mikeroweWORKS Foundation started the Profoundly Disconnected® campaign to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success. Deadline: June 4, 2018

Narrative Prize: Prize awarded for the best short story, novel excerpt, poem, one-act play, graphic story, or work of literary nonfiction published in Narrative. Deadline: June 15, 2018, Award: $4,000

CNO Naval History Scholarship: Essay contest on a lesson learned from naval history that can be applied today. Deadline: June 30, 2018, Award: $5,000

Clubs of America: Write an essay of no fewer than 600 words about your career aspirations and how your current course load will help you achieve success in your career. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? Thinking outside the box is encouraged! Deadline: July 31, 2018, Award: $1,000

Innovation in Education Scholarship: LA Tutors awards a monthly $500 Innovation Scholarship to high school and college students who showcase their creativity and make a positive impact. Deadline: Ongoing, Award: $500

GEAR UP VA Divisions and Partners

Important Dates

June 1:
Final Budget Modification Due for 2017-2018

June 20-21:
CoolSpeak Engage VA Conference

June 22:
GUV State  Partnership Meeting

July 13:
5th Reimbursement and Match Due for all Regions

July 15-18:
NCCEP Annual GEAR UP Conference in Washington DC

July 20: 
1st Draft of I-plan due to Regional Manager

August 3: 
I-plan returned to you with comments

August 17: 
I-Plan Due

Staff Contact

Erin McGrath
GUV Senior Coordinator

Tierney Jackson
GUV Scholarship Administrator 

Stacey Garnett
GUV Fiscal and Administrative Specialist

Amy Wiggington
GUV Data Specialist 

Linda Staylor
Regional Manager- West

Melissa Benavidez
Regional Manager- North Central

Reshaud Rich
Regional Manager- Southeast

Paula Robinson
Assistant Director, College Access and PK-12 Outreach

SCHEV values honesty, quality, diversity, inclusion, growth-orientation, personal well-being, equity, transparency and accountability.
Through these values, we create a welcoming work environment that represents the best of who we are as an agency and as individuals.

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