WMU Home > WMU News

WMU News

WMU News on Twitter

GEAR UP presents program for teachers and students

Sept. 4, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University initiative to provide professional development for local teachers and support for students to succeed beyond K-12 is highlighting its efforts Friday, Sept. 18, with an appearance by entrepreneur and music industry executive LeRoy McMath at Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo.

McMath, head of Power Entertainment Group and the World Basketball Association Inc., will speak at 1:30 p.m. at the school, following remarks that start at 1 p.m. by Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice and state Rep. Robert Jones. Sponsored by WMU's Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs--GEAR UP--the Kalamazoo activities are being held in coordination with events across the country for National GEAR UP Day. The goal of the federally funded program is to transform low-achieving, high-poverty schools into high-achieving centers for learning. Local GEAR UP work is managed through WMU's College of Education, which partners with universities, school districts and communities in Michigan and Ohio.

Guest speaker McMath, founded Power Entertainment Group more than 15 years ago and has since expanded it to include Power Records and Power Books. He also is the founder of the World Basketball Association and has worked on various film projects. The Atlanta-based author of the 2008 book "The Music Game: Playing to Win," he frequently speaks to young musicians and consults for independent record labels.

Now in its ninth year of funding from the U.S. Department of Education, WMU's GEAR UP works with about 4,000 students annually in four schools districts, including Kalamazoo Public Schools, Battle Creek Public Schools, Bangor Public Schools and Toledo Public Schools in Ohio. Programs include job-embedded professional development for teachers; development and implementation of mentoring, counseling and tutoring programs for students; support for students and families to prepare for post-secondary education; community engagement; workshops and campus visits to WMU and other schools.

Since the first GEAR UP grant to WMU was received in 2000, students in participating schools have increased academic achievement, outcomes on state proficiency tests and school attendance while decreasing disciplinary problems and suspensions in schools, says the project's director, Dr. Joseph Kretovics, WMU professor of educational leadership, research and technology.

"GEAR UP attempts to support teachers and schools in their efforts to assure all children have post-secondary opportunities, if they wish," Kretovics says. "Through the hard work of the teachers and GEAR UP staff, we've seen some remarkable gains in the schools we work with. Nearly all of our schools have met annual yearly progress as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act."

For more information, contact Dr. Joseph Kretovics at joseph.kretovics@wmich.edu or (269) 387-6865.

Share |

Media contact: Deanne Puca, (269) 387-8400, deanne.puca@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400