GEARing UP for Literacy and Mathematics
Have you eaten a fraction lately? Do you like to let your imagination take an adventure? These are among the questions middle school students, adult learners, and Baylor students address while investigating mathematics and learning English through the GEAR UP Waco project (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). The program is possible through a six-year grant of $11.3 million from the U.S. Department of Education, the largest grant to a university. It is Baylor's second award. The initiative partners Baylor with the Waco Independent School District and other agencies that prepare at-risk students academically and socially for college.
Learning English Among Friends (LEAF), a family literacy program created by Dr. Randy M. Wood, and Math Super Saturdays, developed by Dr. Trena Wilkerson, are programs offered through the 2006 GEAR UP Waco initiative. Teacher candidates in Baylor's Department of Curriculum and Instruction are able to gain key educational experiences through these two community-based programs.
The grant will expand the implementation of LEAF to six partner school sites. LEAF already has impacted more than 200 participants and received national recognition. After a core literacy class each week, families eat dinner and a guest speaker makes a presentation about a topic of interest to participants (e.g., Earned Income Tax Credit, preventive health, etc.). LEAF helps parents learn English and how to help their students succeed in school by deepening their understanding of public education and post-secondary systems.
Math Super Saturdays, summer math camps, and teacher institutes provide experiences to make math engaging and relevant to each student, teacher candidate, and classroom teacher. In collaboration with the math department, this ensures that students have access to rigorous coursework to prepare them for post-secondary education. The first grant helped more than 800 middle school students, 30 teachers, and 60 Baylor students. The Texas State GEAR UP Initiative recognized this project in 2002 as an exemplary model program for school and university partnerships.
Visit the LEAF Web site at www.baylor.edu/soe/leaf to learn about how you can become involved in the program or call Dr. Wood at 254-710-2410. For more information about Math Super Saturdays, visit www.baylor.edu/soe/mathedlab or contact Dr. Wilkerson at 254-710-6162.