The GEAR UP program provides funding and support for schools for six or seven years, with the intention to sustain the programming and college-going culture after the life of the grant. Therefore, The Ford Family Foundation generously provided funds in a competitive program to former GEAR UP schools to encourage innovative ways to sustain and build the capacity of post-secondary education awareness, readiness, and enrollment efforts.
Nine clusters received funds for a variety of projects that included revenue-generating projects like a student-run coffee shop, providing professional development to teachers, creating a local radio station and revamping college and career centers.
With the creation of a student-run radio station based at Chiloquin High School, students have the opportunity to step into the world of broadcasting in the areas of programming, business management and planning, technical management and maintenance and organization.
So far, major milestones achieved are receiving the FCC permit and license for KCHS, 101.5 FM, building the studio and acquiring equipment, involving community media to promote and educate the greater Klamath basin, livestreaming on kchs1015.org, surveying community members regarding programming and willingness to support the station financially and construction of the radio tower and turn-key FM station.
"There’s still much to do, including involving more students in the classroom, beginning regular programming and broadcasting and establishing a business plan," said Becky Wilson, the original project lead. "The community is excited to have a platform for engagement with the school."
Photo Credit: Herald and News
With one successful student-run business under its belt, Hermiston High School created a print and engraving manufacturing business, creating custom trophies, awards, pens, golf balls, cups, cell phone covers, and signs.
Students design, market, manage, and sell all items created through the various programs offered at the school. Students from the art department generate and create design ideas that can be passed on to the computer aided design program for modification to the equipment software. Marketing students will be responsible for coming up with new product ideas and ways for us to advertise our business. The accounting program will be responsible for managing the business operations, specifically, setting budgets and tracking expenses and sales.
“Our first project was using the school logo to print on Christmas ornaments, which was a big hit. We even provided some custom ornaments for special projects,” said Roger Berger, the business education teacher and advisor for this project. “It has been very fun and shows great promise. Our goal is to continue to experiment and try new ideas to develop a yearly sales schedule.”
Profits from the sales of this business will be used to fund a college club at the high school with the purpose of providing support for all members as they pursue a post-secondary education.
South Umpqua High School updated their College and Career Center, choosing a central and accessible spot that had been sitting empty. The previous College and Career Center consisted of outdated furniture and countertops, old computers, peeling paint, faded posters, and was devoid of any type of organizational structure. Organized and brightly decorated with college logos and materials, with new computers and technology, the new College and Career Center serves as the hub for a variety of activities including financial aid and scholarship workshops, a college access class period, college visits, on-site admissions, school and community outreach organizations, parent meetings, and an open invitation to past students who need continued assistance with the postsecondary process overall. The South Umpqua School Board decided that they liked the new space so much they use it for their executive sessions.
“The kids love it and utilize it daily,” said the counselor, Kristy Westbrooks. ”It’s an asset to our school and has truly been established as a key school and community resource.”