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PCC Gear Up Project Rewarded with $2.8 million Grant
Photos and Story by James Hill
PORTLAND – Portland Community College’s Gear Up Project has received a $2.8 million grant from the Department of Education to serve more than 700 sixth- and seventh-grade students at Harriet Tubman and Ockley Green middle schools as well as students from Jefferson High School in north Portland. The goal of this project, which will run between the years of 2000 and 2005, is to provide intervention and academic strengthening services to low-income middle and high school students to prepare them for post-secondary education.The project will get $576,800 in each of the next five years. It is part of 28 percent of the total proposals submitted nationwide that were approved this year. Organizations like Portland Public Schools, Oregon Students Assistance Commission, Albina Rotary, Multnomah County SUN Schools and Oregon Council for Hispanic Advancement also helped develop the grant proposal."I think this is another example of the type of partnership emerging from the northeast Portland area between PCC and programs within the Portland Public School system," said Linda Reisser, Cascade Campus dean of Student Development who helped to spearhead the project. "PCC is grateful to school principals and other partners in the community for helping to achieve this grant."The students from Ockley Green and Harriet Tubman middle schools feed into Jefferson High School, which is located in the federally designated Portland Enterprise Community. The completion rate for freshman getting their high school diploma the last two years is just 32.5 percent. The Gear Up Project is targeting these Portland schools because they serve a disproportionate number of economically and educationally disadvantaged students. The schools also have had well-documented problems with student retention and success.The goals of the PCC Gear Up Project are to increase academic performance and preparation for post-secondary schools, increase high school graduation and expectations of students, increase knowledge of post-secondary options and work with partners to build a system of intervention as well as ongoing staff training and development. For more information, contact Reisser at 503-978-5307.