Yale Partnership With Bridgeport Schools Will Help Students ‘GEAR UP" for College

Yale has been awarded $6.9 million to partner with Bridgeport Public Schools to help prepare the district's students for college.

The "GEAR UP" grant from the U.S. Department of Education has been awarded to Nadia Ward, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of urban education and prevention research at the Yale School of Medicine's Consultation Center.

The grant provides annual funding through 2014 and will be used to launch extensive academic enrichment and support programs targeted at students in Bridgeport middle schools.

"The strength of the project lies in the extensive network of 20 university and community partners that have demonstrated their commitment to Bridgeport's youth," Ward says. "The level of support has been just incredible. We are very excited about this opportunity."

GEAR UP (for Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) involves local partnerships that help to prepare low-income students to enter, and then thrive, in college. Parents will also take part in the academic effort, which will include college-readiness workshops, college tours and information about financing college.

The grant also supports professional development and training opportunities to the district's teachers and school counselors. Allen Cook, professor of mathematics at the University of Bridgeport and Ricardo Rosa, the Bridgeport School District's director of mathematics, have designed an innovative training model for math teachers that has been recognized by the state. Supporting the professional development efforts of the district's English Department are Alice Daniels, director of English/language arts, Bridgeport Public Schools; Emily Smith, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, Fairfield University, and Faye Gage, director of the Connecticut Writing Project. Ruth Garth, the project coordinator, will be leading the professional development effort for the school counselors.