“Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs” (GEAR UP) is a competitive grant program of the U.S. Department of Education that increases the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education by providing community-education partnerships to offer support services to high-poverty, middle and high schools. Awarded in September 2017, the To College & Beyond GEAR UP project is spearheaded by the Institute for Public School Initiatives, housed at the College of Education, through The University of Texas at Austin. SMCISD is one of eight school districts in the Greater Austin and San Antonio region who qualified for the grant. The program serves all of our current 7th graders, and will follow them through high school plus one year after graduation.
GEAR UP provides critical early college awareness and support activities such as: tutoring, mentoring, academic preparation, financial education and college scholarships All of these activities will improve the access to a higher education for low income, minority and disadvantaged first-generation students and their families. GEAR UP will work with business and community partners such Texas Instruments, Princeton Review, AVID, ACT, All Aboard Tours. Additionally, the grant will also partner with higher education institutions such as Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson University, Texas State University and The University of Texas at San Antonio. #GEARUPWorks
How Does GEAR UP Help Students
- Opportunities for before-school, during-school, and after-school academic tutoring and homework assistance
- Access to advanced & rigorous curricula such as Pre-AP, AP, CTE, and Dual Credit courses
- Opportunities for credit recovery, extended learning, and accelerated learning for targeted groups of GEAR UP cohort students
- Counseling/advising services in terms of core curriculum, non-core curriculum, financial literacy, and college knowledge in assistance with GEAR UP staff
- Off-campus visits to college tours and/or college student shadowing, job site visits, and educational trips
- Summer intervention or bridge courses and summer camps/programs for college knowledge and readiness activities.
- Mentorship Program where our students are paired with our faculty, district members, college students, and businesses in our San Marcos community
Meet our GEAR UP Coordinators
Greer Del Rio inspires families as a GEAR UP Coordinator for San Marcos High School, Class of 2023. She is on a mission to provide equity and close the opportunity gap for the San Marcos, Texas community she serves. Greer graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a Specialization in Reading from Southwest Texas State University and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from American College of Education. She is currently working on completing a second Master’s Degree in School Counseling through the University of Texas at Tyler. She utilizes her background and passion as a former intervention teacher, counselor, instructional coach, and at-risk specialist to build authentic relationships with families, teachers, administrators, and community members. After many years as a certified Strategic Instruction Model Professional Developer, Greer believes in using best practices during professional learning that will directly benefit students. Outside of work, she is involved in her church, volunteers regularly, and along with her husband chases her energetic 6-year-old daughter, Blythe.
Megan Mossman is igniting sparks here in San Marcos CISD as GEAR UP Coordinator for the current sophomore class graduating in 2023. Megan utilizes her communication, marketing, and technology "trial and successes" to create community-wide learning experiences for GEAR UP families. She is inspiring students with the art of Digital Media and Community Outreach as a new component of the GEAR UP Club. Megan is on a mission in San Marcos, TX to close the opportunity gaps and prepare students to be college and career confident. Megan has over 10 years of educational experience in the fields of Special Education, Mathematics, and GEAR UP along with a Master of Education Degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. #GEARUPWorks
Amadeo Villanueva is the 9th-grade GEAR UP Coordinator at San Marcos High School in San Marcos, TX. His mission is to motivate all students into realizing their potential and understanding that the pursuit of education benefits them forever. He joined San Marcos CISD in the fall of 2016, after 3 years as a program manager for the University of Texas at Dallas. Prior to his career at UT-Dallas, he served in the United States Army and retired as a Captain after a 12-year career with a skill-set that will guide him for the rest of his life. During his time in the military, he earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Tarleton State University and a Masters in Human Resources Development from Webster University. He has also recently completed his second Master’s in Educational Administration from Texas A&M-Commerce.
A ten-year teaching veteran and travel-addict, Brittney Posey is part of the GEAR UP team as the 8th-grade coordinator in San Marcos CISD. She is bringing her positive energy to the squad to find new ways of sustaining a college-confident culture by providing unique opportunities for students and teachers. Her degree in International Business and minor in Spanish from Texas A&M University initiated her focus on creating an equitable environment for all students. After 9 years of teaching English and AVID and a Master of Education Degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, she is spending her eleventh year as an educator in the GEAR UP world. Brittney is most noted for building rapport with her students, leading meaningful professional development, and her mentorship to many teachers on campus.