April 13, 2017

Purdue-led Indiana GEAR UP program making progress

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — With summer break quickly approaching, the Indiana GEAR UP program is announcing STEM camps for students and professional development opportunities for teachers that will provide exciting and innovative learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math for potentially up to 5,000 students and 300 teachers across the state. 

This summer, Indiana GEAR UP STEM camps will be offered to students in eight selected partner schools across the state. The camps will focus on real-world topics that will help build participants’ skills and knowledge in these essential areas.

STEM-focused professional development will be offered for teachers from 10 partner school districts this summer as well. This is part of a long-term professional growth plan for participating schools, as four additional days will also be provided each year of the project.

The summer activities build upon work that started this spring with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) providing two sessions at partner schools focusing on college and career readiness. Some of the partner schools have also been engaged in a series of after-school programming including community meetings, STEM activities, tutoring and homework support, and family-focused sessions.

“Our team believes that our research-based STEM programming combined with providing college and career awareness activities will make a significant impact on our cohort of 7,000 students across Indiana,” said Carla C. Johnson, Provost Fellow for P-12 STEM and Professor of Science Education. “We have great K-12 and industry partners and are in the midst of implementing powerful programming that has demonstrated success in other states.”

Indiana GEAR UP is part of the U.S. Department of Education’s GEAR UP program, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Indiana GEAR UP is funded by a $24.5 million-dollar federal grant awarded to Purdue and CHE to help more Indiana students stay on track from middle school to postsecondary education. The statewide effort aims to strengthen academic preparation, college readiness and career guidance with a special focus on students in Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program.

An estimated 7,000 students from up to 26 schools around the state will be aided by the seven-year partnership, which follows them from middle school, through high school and into their freshman year of college. As part of Indiana GEAR UP, tutors, teachers’ assistants and staff are being added to the schools, and after-school STEM programs are being initiated as is a “homework diner” in which parents can join students and staff two nights per month to eat and discuss what is happening inside and outside the classroom.

“The Indiana GEAR UP program is yet another great example of how Purdue University and the College of Education specifically are leading the way in STEM education through K-12 school partnerships in national and international arenas,” Johnson said.

Researchers in the College of Education are administering the program and conducting research on the impact of the STEM interventions on student success. This work will make a contribution to research, practice, and policy in STEM education in the United States.

Writer: Tim Doty, 765-496-2571, doty2@purdue.edu

Source: Carla C. Johnson, 765-494-0780, carlacjohnson@purdue.edu

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