K20 Gear Up

The University of Oklahoma’s K20 Center has awarded Lawton Public Schools (LPS) with the “GEAR UP for LIFE” seven-year grant that will follow middle school students through high school.

“I’ve worked with K20 in my other districts and they’ve done excellent work for our schools, teachers and students,” said Doug Brown, LPS assistant superintendent of Educational Services. “They’ve done exceptional training for teachers and great college-prep experiences for the students. This opens the eyes of many students who have never dreamed of going to college and shows them it is possible.”

“GEAR UP” – Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs – is  sponsored by the United States Department of Education. “GEAR UP” grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school.

More than 8,000 Oklahoma students across 27 partner schools will benefit from the $86 million secured by the K20 Center for this collaboration. Eisenhower Middle School, Central Middle School and MacArthur Middle School have all been accepted for the program’s new cohort.

“‘GEAR UP for LIFE’ is the largest grant in the nearly 30-year history of OU’s K20 Center,” said Dr. Gregg Garn, executive director of the K20 Center. “Students benefiting from the grant will be better prepared to help grow the workforce necessary to ensure Oklahoma’s continued economic prosperity.”

Through “GEAR UP for LIFE,” the center strives to “empower students and their families for successful college pursuits and workforce training” by providing support for technology, activities, college visits, career exploration and other initiatives. 

This is the second long-term grant awarded to LPS by the K20 Center. Through the previous “GEAR UP for the FUTURE” grant, all LPS middle and high schools were able to offer new courses and initiatives, including the expansion of multimedia opportunities such as broadcasting, introducing new coding and other STEM-based classes and supported the start of the Lawton High School aviation program.