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Johnson County receives GEAR UP grant

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

The Johnson County School System is proud to be one of the counties selected for the U.S. Department of Education’s GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduates Programs) grant for its third consecutive time. GEAR UP TN is a $617,633 grant spread over a six year period used for services such as mentoring, financial aid counseling, tutoring and so much more to prepare students for postsecondary school success and give access to students who normally would be unable to attend. Ten states are selected and communities go through a competitive process to be chosen.

This program will also includes a local community-based collaborative to spread the influence to students at both Johnson County High School and Johnson County Middle School. Partners help with activities and keep the ball rolling long after the grant is over. Johnson County School District’s GEAR UP partners will include the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Elizabethton, Northeast State Community College, the Niswonger Foundation, the Johnson County Arts Council, the Johnson County Community Center and Danny Herman Trucking. Members of the Johnson County School System are pleased to see what new success this program will bring.

“I am excited that we were selected to continue our work as a GEAR UP TN Collaborative,” Exclaimed Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Johnson County Schools. “Our college-going rate has increased dramatically since the beginning of our previous grant, and we look forward to continuing that progress over the next six years.”

Data shows that university attendance rates in rural areas have grown since GEAR UP TN. Rates rose 22.8 percent from the grant starting in 2005 and 9 percent from the grant starting in 2012. For more information, please contact Dr. Stephen Long, Secondary Supervisor/GEAR UP Collaborative Project Director, Johnson County Schools, at (423) 727-2640, [email protected]