Career pathways programs let students earn college credit in high school, like these graduates of the Liberal Arts Academy.

About the school

Ponderosa Middle School & Klamath Union High School, Klamath Falls, Oregon

  • 1,068 students in grades 7-12
  • 74% eligible for free and reduced lunch
  • 41% students of color

GEAR UP highlights

Klamath students in college t-shirts

T-shirt Tuesdays gave students the opportunity to see their teachers and staff in college gear and the chance to ask questions about college. Just this one day a week really opened a whole new world for them to imagine and be a part of. The college fairs and "pizza with professionals" were very much appreciated and used by the students as well.

Because of GEAR UP, students were able to know of the resources available to help them get to the next path of their lives

The impact of GEAR UP

More students are graduating from high school and going to college

[Before GEAR UP,] the culture was general, focusing on graduating the students but not much emphasis on taking them to the next level in their lives whether it was college or a career of some kind. The culture at the middle school level is so much better. GEAR UP culture has really been created and solidified at Ponderosa Middle School. At Klamath Union High School, I know we have a college-going focus, though it is not as strong as Ponderosa. Building a college and career going culture is what I am currently working on and will work on for years to come.

Because of GEAR UP, students got the chance to dream and think of a better future for themselves.

What has helped your school be successful in implementing GEAR UP?

AVID UO trip

GEAR UP supported a school-wide AVID program that included regular tutoring and college visits.

I would definitely say the passion and the vision for the program from the previous GEAR UP coordinator, Valeria Menke. She was really passionate about doing everything she could to help the students. Whether it was going to Klamath Community College on a college trip, giving one-on-one counseling, helping with FAFSA, pizza with professionals, and other events she had, it really helped the students she was able to give and present that to.

Because of GEAR UP, some students were able to get a first-hand understanding of what the word college means.

Information provided by GEAR UP coordinator Karla Andrade.