Berea College GEAR UP

CTL is a partner in two major projects led by Berea College which promote and support college readiness for disadvantaGEAR UP Berea picged students in eastern Kentucky, part of the national Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) program. The two grants provide nearly $10.7 million annually for seven years from the United States Department of Education.

The goal of the work is to prepare at-risk students for post-secondary education by increasing academic performance and promoting a college-going culture in schools and communities. Key components of the grants include implementation of college- and career-readiness standards, increased student participation in academically rigorous courses, and support through the college admissions process. The Berea College GEAR UP projects serve students in 17 central and southeastern Kentucky counties, many of which are among the poorest in the nation.

CTL’s work has included assessment of instructional rigor, implementation of college readiness and Common Core standards, and alignment with the Kentucky Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) via more than 70 walkthroughs in participating schools to inform school wide planning and professional and leadership development. CTL has also launched Leadership by Design, a Principal Professional Learning Community (PLC) that uses IDEO’s Design Thinking Process as a way to link data from the walkthrough reports and new evidence of practice, with the goal of helping teachers strengthen instructional practice. PLC members engage in shared learning and serve as resources to one another as they develop their capacities for instructional leadership, and will earn certificates fro
m Berea College and CTL.

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CTL’s expertise in creating a college-going culture and using data to inform instructional decision making is providing administrators, counselors, teachers, students, as well as GEAR UP Berea project leaders, with insights and practical knowledge that benefit the more than 70 participating schools.


During 2012-15:

Administrators, teachers and instructional coaches were trained in CTL’s Adolescent Literacy Model (ALM) to more effectively support and target literacy instruction in alignment with the Common Core.

During 2014-15:

CTL carried out walkthroughs in 65 schools to assess instructional rigor and analyze patterns across subject areas, Common Core alignment, and preparation for college readiness. In addition, CTL guided leaders on use of this data with faculty to support rigorous instruction.

In addition, CTL conducted a workshop for Berea College GEAR UP school leadership teams on using data to improve teaching and learning. CTL continues to follow up with individual schools, responding to requests for customized walkthroughs and assistance with instructional planning.


Berea College
Hazard Community and Technical College
Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation


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