Jackie Whitten web(1)GEAR UP for success …

Haywood County GEAR UP TN Site Coordinator Jackie Whitten, has been employed at Haywood County Schools for 30 years as an elementary and middle school teacher, assistant principal, and principal. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Lambuth College and her M.Ed  in Administration and Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University.  Ms. Whitten completed educational courses from Cumberland University and college access courses from David Lipscomb University. She was Haywood County Teacher of the Year in 1997 and has spent her professional career working to achieve educational excellence for all students. She became Site Coordinator with GEAR UP TN in January 2013 and enjoys assisting the students from her area in obtaining their educational goals. She strives to encourage a college-going culture in all of the schools and with students, and parents she serves through GEAR UP TN and beyond. She has two children, Brandi and Brandon. Brandi received her master’s degree in education and teaches at West Carroll Elementary. Brandon attended UT Martin and is a self-employed farmer.

GEAR UP is a partnership between Haywood County Schools, the Haywood County Board of Education, and the City of Brownsville to provide college access, readiness, and student-focused services to Haywood County students. It will provide ways to develop and implement key educational reforms that will increase student academic achievement, academic rigor, high school graduation, and college enrollment rates. GEAR UP is an acronym for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program.”

GEAR UP involves several partners, including Haywood County UT Extension, REDI and Jackson State Community College.

GEAR UP TN – Haywood County

  • Haywood County Schools
  • Total Seven-Year Award: $648,375.00
  • Haywood High School
  • Haywood Middle School

The City of Brownsville is contributing matching funds for the grant cycle. A College Access Steering Committee was formed with several partners.

Goals of GEAR UP TN

  • Increase the academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education for GEAR UPstudents.
  • Increase the rates of high school graduation and enrollment in postsecondary education forGEAR UP students.
  • Increase GEAR UP students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.

How does GEAR UP meet those goals

  • Financial assistance, academic support, additional counseling, mentoring, outreach, and supportive services to secondary school students to reduce the risk of students dropping out of school or the need for remedial education at the postsecondary level.
  • Providing information to students and their families about the advantages of postsecondary education and about college financing options.

GEAR UP TN is a state grant that is administered by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. GEAR UP TN follows a cohort or whole-grade model, meaning that services are provided to all students in the participating grade level, rather than a selected group of students. This grant will provide college access and success services to all cohort students starting in the seventh grade and will continue to provide services through their first year of post-secondary education.

Mission of GEAR UP TN

  • GEAR UP TN aims to expand the college-going culture in Tennessee. By using an empowerment model that recognizes the assets and needs of local communities, GEAR UP TN looks to shift the state’s educational culture. We aim to develop long-term, successful partnerships to support students in reaching college and providing them with the resources to succeed in college.

GEAR UP TN’s programmatic objectives are to:

  • Increase student academic achievement and course completion.
  • Increase student performance on college entrance exams.
  • Increase student high school graduation.
  • Increase student postsecondary participation and success.
  • Increase student and family educational expectations.
  • Increase student and family knowledge of and access to financial assistance for postsecondary education.
  • Increase parent and community engagement in activities associated with student preparation for college.
  • Increase educator content-area knowledge and understanding.

Students Served

Academic Year Grades Served

  • 2012-2013 7th, 12th
  • 2013-2014 8th, 12th
  • 2014-2015 9th, 12th
  • 2015-2016 10th, 12th
  • 2016-2017 11th, 12th
  • 2017-2018 12th
  • 2018-2019 12th, College Freshmen

Student Services

  • Tutoring/homework assistance
  • Rigorous academic curricula
  • Comprehensive mentoring
  • Financial aid counseling/advising
  • Counseling/advising/academic planning/career counseling
  • College campus visits/college student shadowing
  • Job site visit/job shadowing
  • Summer programs
  • Educational field trips
  • Workshops supporting any of the GEAR UP TN objectives

Family Services

  • Counseling/advising
  • College visits
  • Family events

For more information about the GEAR Up program, call Jackie Whitten at the Haywood County Board of Education Central office at 772-9613.