I have a new job. Well, I have a new employer.
I recently joined GEAR UP Maine. GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is that federal grant program that increases the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
The traditional approach to GEAR UP programs provide academic supports so students are both academically ready for college and can graduate on time. It provides opportunities to parents and students, such as tutoring, campus visits, and financial aid workshops, to help them view college and post-secondary education as a real possibility.
Maine is going further by leveraging several Multiple Pathway pilot programs of school-design, shared leadership training, and supports for proficiency-based education.
My position is Proficiency-based Education Specialist. I’m working to support our over-tasked, under-resourced schools with frameworks, tools, and supports right-sized for their context. In addition, we’ve identified a couple promising practices we’re helping some of our schools implementing: experiential math, and student micro-credentials to certify learning outside the classroom.
I have joked for a while now that for the last 20 years I’ve really only had one job: helping schools figure out how to reach disengaged learners, students in poverty, and youth from rural, isolated areas. I just keep changing who pays me!
Well, this change to GEAR UP Maine certainly fits the bill!