Partner Schools Gather to Launch New GEAR UP Program

01_GroupBEREA, KY—Superintendents and representatives from 14 school districts met with Partners for Education staff and Berea College President Dr. Lyle Roelofs at historic Boone Tavern today to celebrate the launch of the newest GEAR UP program at Berea College. The recently awarded grant expands Partners for Education’s service region to include Barbourville Independent, Casey County, Clinton County, Cumberland County, East Bernstadt Independent, Harlan County, Jenkins Independent, Letcher County, Lincoln County, McCreary, Middlesboro Independent, Somerset Independent, Wayne County, and Whitley County school districts.

03_Lyle_DreamaRoelofs provided an overview of Berea College’s history and mission, highlighting the institution’s commit to the region. “I’m looking forward to hearing about the positive effect GEAR UP will have in your district,” Roelofs said. “The students and families that benefit by our work will have a long term impact: every time you change the opportunities of one student, you are affecting an entire family. We have many cases of that.  Any of that that happens is great news for Kentucky, great news for the region, for our 8th commitment to Appalachia, and for that, we’re very proud to collaborate with you through the work of our fine Partners staff.”

02_Dreama_LyleDreama Gentry, executive director of Partners for Education, said she was excited to collaborate with the 14 school districts. “We are happy to do this work in these new counties and in these new schools,” she said. “I was once a student from the region, so I am just like these Appalachian youth, and we want to see all Appalachian youth succeed in school.”

Partners for Education will receive $5.5 million annually for the next 7 years from the new GEAR UP grant. The funds enable Partners for Education and their extensive network of strategic partners to provide services to nearly 7,000 students, their parents, and schools. To learn more about Partners for Education’s programs and services, visit:

Chat and Chew with Jenny Ceesay

Jenny Ceesay, associate director of college access, discussed and demonstrated how to use four free online resources that can be used to benefit K-12 and even college students.

Khan Academy: “We’re on a mission to unlock the world’s potential. Most people think their intelligence

is fixed. The science says it’s not. It starts with knowing you can learn anything.” Khan Academy

has recently made available college access resources and has a new partnership with the

College Board to provide free SAT prep to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Get Schooled: Get Schooled is a national non-profit founded on the belief that students have the

power to improve their future if given the right information and motivation. To do this, Get

Schooled uses the messengers (celebrities, powerful peers, pop culture events) and the means

(mobile/SMS, social, web) that youth turn to.

Ever Financial Literacy: EverFi focuses on teaching, assessing, and certifying students in the

critical skills that real life demands. Their digital course areas include financial literacy, student loan

management, digital citizenship, civic awareness, entrepreneurial thinking, alcohol and substance

abuse, and sexual assault prevention. (must have login from school)

Wells Fargo Hands on Banking: “The Hands on Banking online financial courses include free

instructor guides with classroom lessons and activities that will help you guide students through

real-life scenarios, group discussions, and other activities designed to teach valuable money management

skills and help them take control of their finances.”

Chat and Chew--Jenny Ceesay