gear up news & events


GEAR UP Archives


GEAR UP On Stage

A group of GEAR UP students won a place on the Story Week stage this Saturday. These are young, talented writers, learning to explore their craft.

Learn more.

Welcome to GEAR UP

A new cohort begins this year with Chicago GEAR UP. Some schools have participated in the GEAR UP program in the past, others are new. Welcome to all.

Let Them Read Trash

When students learn to read for pleasure, they are progressing toward all of the goals that we want for them as readers, learners and people. View the slide show.

iMATHination 2015

From finding the weight of the galaxy to the creation of hydrogels, teachers had an array of STEM workshops to choose from. See view a slide show of iMATHination 2015.

Capacity Building Workshop 2015

"GEAR UP is not a program but a movement," Dr. Wendy Stack, Director of the GEAR UP Alliance in Chicago, told a packed room at the annual event held this year in Philadelphia, PA. View a slide show.

Youth Guidance

This year's Youth Guidance Parent Leadership Conference, Parenting with Knowledge had both Youth Guidance and Chicago GEAR UP working together to support a common goal. Read more.

What Is Race?

Is it simply a construct, a way to justify inequality?  That’s what Solorio sophomores were grappling with at the What Is Race? Exhibit, part of their unit on the Holocaust. Read more.

Reading Is Fundamental

What does it take to get books into the hands of hundreds of students?  A vision of literacy, a venue to exchange ideas, a dedicated teacher,  determined staff, collaboration between organizations, the books, and hundreds of eager students. Read more.

Parent Advocates Brushing Up on Study Skills

Do you know how to create a learning environment in your home? That's one of the questions GEAR UP parent advocates were discussing at a recent professional development session. They're discussing best practices that parents can use to help their children be successful in school. Read more.

Latino Heritage Expo

Rene Lopez, GEAR UP Alum and mentor says Latino Heritage Expo was a way for students to learn to work together on a sizable project in a short time frame. With only 2 weeks to plan and organize the event, students had to work as a team, make decisions and execute plans. Read more.

National GEAR UP Week

Chicago GEAR UP celebrates another year of making college real for thousands of GEAR UP students across Chicago. Celebrations include 2 highly motivated motivational speakers addressing students at GEAR UP high schools. View stories from the week.

GEAR UP University -
The Experience

— An intensive 3 day immersion program where rising juniors live on campus, sample classes, and learn what college is all about. View the slide show.

Freshman Connection

— is a 4 week summer program designed to help students make a successful transition to high school. View pictures from the culminating event at GEAR UP high schools on Facebook.
STEM Summer STEM - The perfect time of year to be on campus, learn about careers in STEM while studying VEX Robotics and Infectious Diseases. GEAR UP students are learning about all this and more on Northeastern Illinois University's campus this summer in a program through the Center for College Access and Success. View the slide show or watch a video.
Preparing Students - Chicago GEAR UP through the Center for College Access and Success at NEIU has created partnerships with Chicago Public Schools, university and community partners to offer direct services to students, support for parents and professional development for teachers. Watch the video.
guala GUALA Teaches GEAR UP Alum to Become the New Leaders - Pamela and Rene, 2 GEAR UP Alum, now college students themselves are working to give back to the community as student mentors. Learn more about Pamela Rene and GUALA.
Kelly Jr Achievement Learning to Succeed - Summer enrichment programs help students to develop strategies and strengthen the skills they need to succeed in college. Here students from Kelly High School are playing an interactive Junior Achievement Game, Be a Success, at Roosevelt University.
Freshman Connection Freshman Connection - GEAR UP students, it's time to plan for summer and with Freshman Connection coming up, you'll have a great summer filled with 4 weeks of activity, all the while getting used to your new high school. Learn more.
Best Foot Forward: High School Preparation - This video from the Center for College Access and Success Parent Video Series covers general CPS graduation requirements, the high school transcript and calculating a GPA.
View Resources.
Curie College and Career Fair - At the Curie College and Career Fair, and families are rolling in. GEAR UP's Maribel Gomez meets one of the families at the door.  Christopher, a sophomore at Curie is here with his family for an evening of conversations with representatives from colleges and businesses alike. Read more.
gear up Clark Celebrated Black History Month - GEAR UP parent, Mr. Mitchell dropped by to celebrate Black History Month at Clark High School.  His daughter, Genesis was going to be performing in the assembly in an interpretive dance blending traditional African and modern dance movements.  As he waited for the assembly to begin, he walked through the school library which had been transformed into a Black History Museum. Read more...
gear up iMATHination Resources Online - The 2014 iMATHination Conference resources are now available online. Teachers, find lots of great resources for your classroom. See photos from the conference on Facebook or watch a YouTube video with conference highlights.
gear up GEAR UP Parent Tina McKinney, a Success Story - Since 2000, Chicago GEAR UP parent Tina McKinney has worked diligently to support the education of elementary and high school students and encourage parental involvement. Now with the support of the GEAR UP community and her own determination, she has accomplished her own educational goal. Read more.
gear up 21st Parent Leadership Conference - It's the Youth Guidance Parent Leadership Conference, this year's theme, "Parenting with a Purpose". This year's GEAR UP workshop is Transition-Coaching Your Student to Success, in English and Spanish. Check out the photos on Facebook or watch videos from the conference.
gear up Solorio Freshmen On-Track- After first quarter they’re off to a good start with 90% of the freshmen meeting the CPS On-Track goal. How can students make sure they do as well or better for their first semester grades?  GEAR UP staff headed by Ellen Zipprich and Roberto Ochoa have some strategies in mind.  Read more.
gear up Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice - 9 months before Rosa Parks, Colvin refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus. Instead of being haled as a hero, she was shunned by her classmates and community. What was it like to grow up under Jim Crow laws? Students begin to investigate through an interactive Gallery Walk of pictures from the Library of Congress. Watch the video.
gear up World Language Video Tour - Learn more about one of the many dynamic Chicago GEAR UP high schools. Students will take you on a tour of the school. From the library to the gym, there's lots to see and learn about. Watch the full version video or the 2 minute short version.
gear up GEAR UP Students Win Scholarship - On October 25, students from 2 Chicago GEAR UP schools met astronaut, José Hernández. Students also participated in a full day of STEM workshops, sponsored by HACU(Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) and hosted by NEIU (Northeastern Illinois University). The BIG NEWS of the day however was the announcement that students won 400 $1000 scholarships from NEIU! Learn more.
gear up National GEAR UP Week - Chicago joins the nation celebrating National GEAR UP Week. September 23 - 27, Chicago honors the accomplishments of GEAR UP students, families and members of the GEAR UP community. From welcoming freshmen at Kelly High School to recognizing the 2013/14 GEAR UP Scholarship winners, there's lots to celebrate. GEAR UP grads are speaking up, listen as they give a shout out this week.
gear up GEAR UP Summer Programs - How would you like to change the world? What can you create with a little scientific knowledge? What will high school be like? From life's big questions to life's next steps, students spent the summer learning - Summer Academy for rising 8th graders and Freshman Connection for students making the transition to high school. Check out the Chicago GEAR UP Facebook photo gallery.
gear up Intensified Algebra - A Conversation in Math - The school year is almost over and students at two different GEAR UP high schools have gathered to have a conversation about their experience as math students this year. They have been participating in a GEAR UP sponsored math program. It's called Intensified Algebra. Learn more about what students had to say about the program.
gear up Overcoming Obstacles - We Beat the Street - Students want to read when the material is relevant to them. Getting high quality novels and nonfiction text into the hands of teachers and their students is a goal for Chicago GEAR UP. Learn more about a unit that was created by a CPS teacher as part of Chicago Teachers' Center Unit for Books (UfB) program.
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Summer Academy is Coming - Summer Academy is a great place for learning. Check out the Robotics class, one of last year's programs that emphasized STEM education. Teachers, if you are interested in applying for a summer position, find out what teachers had to say about last year's program.

Summer Application (PDF)
Summer Application (Word Doc)

gear up Developing Leadership In the Community - Lexus, a freshman at Harlan High School recently attended the GEAR UP Leadership Conference for the class of 2016. In a workshop on peer pressure, she says, "I learned you can be selfish in a good way, determined not to submit to peer pressure." Students and parents attended workshops. Learn more about the conference.
gear up GEAR UP Graduates as GEAR UP Tutors - GEAR UP graduates are giving back to the community while working as tutors to support their own college education. Meet more of the Chicago GEAR UP high school grads who are making college real for themselves and the next generation of GEAR UP students.
gear up Parents Are Part of the Program - Parents have always been an essential part of the GEAR UP program, and at Northwest Middle School, parents are learning about True Colors, a personality assessment that will help them and their children begin to identify future college and career choices that will be a good fit.
gear up Adventure Ed for ISAT Prep - The academic groundwork has been set for the year. Now how do you prepare students for the ISAT?  Get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and in the weeks preceding the test – participate in Adventure Education.  That’s what they’re doing this year at Thurgood Marshall Middle School.
Read more.
gear up Kelly Goes to College - “We’ve done college trips before, but never a whole freshman class,” said Lorena Gasca, GEAR UP Coordinator for Kelly High School.  Kelly’s a large school and GEAR UP staff wanted to make sure that all the freshmen had a chance to see a college campus their freshman year, so they know what they’re aiming for. Learn more about the college visits.
gear up A Project in Nontraditional Portraiture - Students exploring their identities is part of the nontraditional portraits project in Mr. Montañez's art class. As students work their way through the project, they reflect on their own personalities, their strengths and their interests that will help them succeed as they move first toward high school and then college. View a slide show of some of the student work in progress.
gear up

iMATHination Looks at "Common Practices" - The Chicago Teachers' Center conference that addresses math, science, and technology this year concentrated on providing teachers with strategies and resources for teaching to the new Common Core Standards.


View a slide show of the conference.

gear up

GEAR UP Grads Now GEAR UP Staff- Now in college themselves, these recent GEAR UP high school graduates want to help the next group of students on the road to college. Meet some of these students and find out which GEAR UP high schools they graduated from.


Posing with Dr. Wendy Stack in this photo, GEAR UP students/staff have just been provided with a lap top computer to help with their school work.

GEAR UP Students Succeeding in Algebra - Students are learning to succeed in algebra class this year thanks to Intensified Algebra a special curriculum designed for double period math classes. This math curriculum is being implemented with targeted GEAR UP schools this year. See how students are responding to the class as Chicago GEAR UP follows their progress this year.
GEAR UP Reading Is Fundamental at Pasteur - A special day of reading at Pasteur Elementary included a visit from Reading Is Fundamental a non-profit group celebrating its 40th year of putting great young adult literature and non-fiction texts into the hands of students. Learn more.
GEAR UP Supporting Teachers & Classrooms - See how Ms. Whittles at Albany Park used Gallery Walk, a technique she learned about at the Chicago Teachers' Center YAL Conference to engage her students in complex material for her social science/language arts class.

Intensified Algebra - CTC, Chicago Teachers' Center in collaboration with the University of Illinois, Chicago is piloting

the implementation of Intensified Algebra with selected GEAR UP high schools.

GEAR UP National GEAR UP Week- The beginning of 2012-2013 school year marks another year that GEAR UP graduates take off for college. Chicago GEAR UP students have enrolled in colleges across the country. During National GEAR UP Week, we are taking a look at some of the students who have enrolled right here in Chicago at a participating GEAR UP partner college, Truman College.
GEAR UP Summer Programs 2012 - Chicago GEAR UP was busy this summer with 4 Summer Academy Programs at 4 GEAR UP university partner locations, 6 Freshman Connection programs, 2 transition to college programs, enrichment programs at participating GEAR UP schools, and several professional development opportunities for teachers. Take a look at some of the highlights.
GEAR UP Graduates from the Class of 2011 at Wright College - Students from Kelvyn Park and Roosevelt High School are attending Wright College. They're also back to help the GEAR UP program sharing their experience as freshman in college. Learn more about these amazing students....
GEAR UP Celebrating Seniors - It's a celebration of senior successes. From graduation to college enrollment, ceremonies to scholarships, GEAR UP students and staff share their accomplishments. Students from each of the 21 GEAR UP high schools won laptop computers. Meet some of the winners. Foreman seniors share their college choices and their awards ceremony has many special moments. More...

Class of 2012 College Kickoff - The class of 2012 is getting ready for graduation. Chicago State University hosted the celebration at the Emil and Patricia Jones Convocation Center. View the slide show of the event.


Check back for more pictures.

GEAR UP Students Accepted to DePaul University - Over 200 GEAR UP students were accepted to DePaul University this year. On May 2, 24 of those students visited the Lincoln Park campus to finalize their decision. They were met by Glenna Ousley, Director of Community Outreach at the Center for Access and Attainment. DePaul is a member of the Chicago GEAR UP Alliance. View the slide show.
GEAR UP Little Village High School Students Apply for IEF Scholarships - It's a busy Thursday after school in the library at Little Village high schools. The sound of clicking on keyboards can be heard as students fill out their IEF scholarship applications. The Illinois Education Foundation or IEF provides last-dollar scholarships to low-income, high-potential students for community college. Read more.
GEAR UP Chicago GEAR UP Top 20 Colleges and Universities Meet - The top 20 colleges and universities that GEAR UP students attend gathered on March 1, 2012 to meet with GEAR UP staff. The purpose: to determine how to strengthen the pipeline from high school to college. Over 1600 GEAR UP students from the graduating class of 2011 chose one of these top 20 to attend. Next year, the numbers are looking to be the same or higher. View summary.
GEAR UP Chicago GEAR UP Posse Scholars GEAR UP students win 13 of the 94 Posse Scholarships awarded to Chicago for the graduating class of 2012. Find out which colleges these students will be attending in the fall on a full ride scholarship.
GEAR UP Loyola University Hosts Summer Program Reunion – Over 100 GEAR UP participants showed up on a cold and snowy January Saturday for a summer program reunion. View the slide show on Facebook.
GEAR UP From iMATHination to the ClassroomWhen Sara Hughes from Curie High School attended the 2011 iMATHination Conference, she came away with an idea for a school project after attending Ethno-Math/Science and Passionate Research, a workshop about making science personal and relevant. Read more.
GEAR UP NCTE Presentation – Professional development specialists from Chicago Teachers' Center present at the National Council of Teachers of English. The 2011 conference theme, Reading the Past, Writing the Future provides a fit setting for staff to discuss CTC's Professional Development Cycle, which includes the YAL Conference and Units for Books program. View a slide show.

College Trips for Seniors – Seniors are making final college trips to help them finalize their decisions about what colleges and universities they will apply for. Over the Veteran's holiday week and weekend, students went on tours around the city and across the state. View the slide show.

You can also see more pictures on Facebook.
GEAR UP Chicago Celebrates National GEAR UP Week – The week begins with YAL, the Young Adult Literature Conference where teachers learn to prepare their students for college. On Monday, it's a meeting with GEAR UP 2011 graduates, now in college. Here's a sampling of some of the act vi ties that are made possible through the Chicago.

College Visit to NEIU – Part of the process of preparing GEAR UP middle school students for high school and college are early college visits that help students gain a better understanding of what colleges are all about. Starting in the middle school, GEAR UP students participate in college trips to four-year state universities, private colleges, and community colleges. For many students and their families, this is their first exposure to colleges. Read more.


Education Bus Tour – Dr. Eduardo Ochoa and Lynn Mahaffie from the U. S. Department of Education, stopped at Chicago Teachers' Center of Northeastern Illinois to engage education and community leaders in a discussion on leading the nation in becoming the number one ranked industrial nation in college graduates. What emerged from the day's discussion was a desire among community organizations for greater collaboration to support programs that help students achieve greater success. View slide show


Summer Film Institute – Now in its second year, Chicago Teachers' Center Summer Film Institute is developing into a robust and rigorous program where students learn about careers in multimedia, while developing skills that will help them in any career environment.

"They give you responsibilities and deadlines," says José.
Read more

Bon Voyage for GEAR UP Grads
GEAR UP students were honored at a special event celebrating their graduation from high school on June 8, 2011, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.  Read more.


GEAR UP has helped more than 5000 students in Chicago neighborhoods graduate from high school this year. To learn more about some of the notable achievements, read the press release.

GEAR UP GEAR UP Kickoff for Teachers
With new funding through the Department of Education, Chicago GEAR UP is able to add over 20 schools. Teachers spend the weekend at a conference learning about GEAR UP opportunities and experiencing high quality professional development in literacy and math.  Read more.
GEAR UP GEAR UP Creating a Pipeline to College
When colleges and universities are looking to recruit students, they’re learning that GEAR UP students are a good choice. On March 22, recruiters from 25 institutions gathered at De Paul University to learn about GEAR UP.  Read more.

Students Explore Literature and Publishing with Upstate Author


“College didn’t save me, but it gave me more options,” says author Kalisha Buckhanon to a group of young adult readers, members of a book club at Little Village High School that their GEAR UP mentor and coach, Khadeejah Lasuc, has organized for them to explore a range of topics that will help prepare them for the transition to college. Read more.


GEAR UP Student Wins Laptop for College

Erik sat at one of the many round tables in a large gathering space set up for Clemente's Senior Celebration. The room was full of other seniors who would soon be graduating, but Erik sat silently staring at a sheet of paper he was holding in his hand. He was in shock. He had just won a new Dell lap top computer, which he'd be getting in a few weeks from GEAR UP. Right now the paper was enough, showing a picture of the laptop with all of the latest gadgetry and functionality. He could hardly take his eyes off the picture as he spoke about going to Elmhurst College next year. Read more.


Discovering Health Care Careers

On Senior Celebration Day at Clemente High School, Maria had just come from giving blood in the morning. The site of blood is nothing new to Maria who was able to observe an actual surgery during the Discovering Health Care Careers program at Children’s Memorial Hospital.  She learned about the GEAR UP program from Mayra Vega, her CPS GEAR UP postsecondary coach. Read more.


GEAR UP Creating a Pipeline to College

When colleges and universities are looking to recruit students, they’re learning that GEAR UP students are a good choice. On March 22, recruiters from 25 institutions gathered at DePaul University to learn about GEAR UP.  Read more.


CTC Helps Teachers Design Rigorous Curriculum

What does a rigorous curriculum look like?  April Tondelli, a teacher at Clemente High School has been working with Chicago Teachers’ Center (CTC) professional development coach Germania Solórzano to explore that question. Read more.


ACT Prep Combined with College Visits Over Spring Break Create a Winning Combination


Roosevelt University, a GEAR UP Alliance partner hosted an ACT Test Prep class during spring break for GEAR UP students from Hope and Hyde Park Academy. Read more.


GEAR UP Students Learn about Careers in Construction

Magnolia is interested in a career in accounting, Quinton in art illustration and web design, and Jose in criminal justice.  So what did these three students get out of a trip to Dawson Technical Institute, a Chicago community college that specializes in construction and related trades? Read more.

GEAR UP iMATHination Conference for Teachers Focuses on Relevance in the Curriculum

Why learn math? - is a question teachers are always trying to answer for their students. Research shows that students learn better when they believe that the subject has relevance to their lives. This year's conference had a strong focus on demonstrating to teachers and students that relevance.
View Slide Show.
GEAR UP A New Attitude Makes College Possible

Walking into the GEAR UP office at Michele Clark High School is one of the bright stars of the senior class, but it didn’t start out that way for Toni.  She began her high school career less than focused and admits that she had attitude – not the kind that gets a student into college.  Then she found a mentor, GEAR UP Site Liaison, Rhonda Thomas. Read more.
GEAR UP Chicago GEAR UP Student Awarded Science Scholarship

Last summer, Rafael got a call from his GEAR UP coaches, Keith Lewis and Khadeejah Lasuc.  Was he interested in coming in over the summer to learn more about a special scholarship focused on helping Latinos interested in math and science?  The answer was yes.  One 500 word essay and application later, Rafael was the proud recipient of a $5000 scholarship from the AHTEMS Foundation. Read more.

GEAR UP Student Wins Posse Scholarship

From a group of over 9000 applicants, Keyonta, a senior at Michele Clark High School, is one of 430 students from across the country who won a 4 year full-tuition scholarship. Next fall, Keyonta will be attending Denison University in Ohio where he plans on majoring in psychology. Read more.

GEAR UP Student Discovers Health Care Career Through

Through GEAR UP support of Discovering Health Care Careers, an internship program at Children's Memorial Hospital, Isabel Castrejon found her career path. She is currently employed as a nursing assistant while working on her degree in nursing at the University of Illinois. She was recently featured in a Sun Times article. Read more.

GEAR UP staff met in November to share best practices and learn more about the college application process, financial aid, and scholarships. The meeting took place at Daley, one of the community colleges of Chicago. GEAR UP staff met with Daley president, Dr. Jose Aybar and Dean of Student Services, Dr. Gayle Ward, to learn more about special programs and services which will help students transition successfully. Read more.
GEAR UP Life After High School

The first cohort group of Chicago GEAR UP students has reached their senior year and now teachers, students and parents are learning strategies for solidifying plans for a successful transition. GEAR UP presented two fall 2010 conferences to explore transition plans, one for teachers and a second conference for students and teachers. As a student with special needs, Jasmine and her mother learned some strategies at the conference that will help her reach her college goal.
GEAR UP Planning a College and Career Fair

Thinking of planning a college career fair at your high school? Chicago GEAR UP's Khadeejah Lasuc knows exactly what is needed to make a college career fair a success. She has been hosting the event at Little Village High Schools for several years. Proper planning makes all the difference. Developing targeted goals for the students helps them make the most of the day. Ms. Lasuc shares her plans for planning the perfect fair. Read more.
College GEAR UP Summer Programs 2010

GEAR UP sponsored a variety of summer programs this year to meet student needs: College Quest, where students experienced life on campus while taking classes to prepare for college, classes at three of the City Colleges of Chicago, where students received a 1/2 credit for taking an elective class, credit recovery classes, college trips, the 1st Summer Film Institute, and classes for teachers. Learn more.
conference 1st Annual Math, Science and
Technology Student and Family
Conference 2010

Making the learning interactive, meaningful and fun was essential to the organizers of the conference and for students like Ruby, from Roosevelt High School, who said that math is her least favorite subject, but she decided to come out for the day and give it a try. Learn more.

Golden Apple Teacher

Teachers Win Golden Apple

Teachers from 2 GEAR UP high schools were honored this year with the Golden Apple Award, given for excellence in teaching. Math teacher, Rosalind Kline-Thomas from Michele Clark High School and science teacher, Aaron Reedy, from Kelly High School. Read all about it.



student leadership

Student Leadership

See slide show.


College Trips for GEAR UP Students

College Trips

View article.

See slide show.

A Taste of GEAR UP at Kelvyn Park

Kelvyn Park
Mini Conference

View article.

Math Conference

iMATHination Conference

View article.

GEAR UP Summer Program 2009

Summer Program

See slide show.

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