Are any consent forms required for participating in Gear Up, particularly for those students whom we will be working more one on one with and utilizing individual services/counseling more frequently?

No. We have a contract with the school/district. All GEAR UP activities are basically activities conducted by the school hence you’re hired as a district employee. GEAR UP is a cohort model and not an opt-in model like other programs like AVID, etc. Having said that, we have a mentoring agreement form that you can use. Since mentoring is an intent-driven activity, it’s one of the rare GEAR UP activities that requires consent from the student.

Is email or text an acceptable medium for counseling/advising?

It can be. As long as the email or the text conversation is two-way as compared to simply a mass information-providing email and covers substantive topics that you would otherwise talk about in-person, then it can be entered in GUIDES as virtual services. Determine an appropriate level of interaction (e.g. 7 or more messages exchanged) before you enter it in as 0.5 or 1 hour of service.

Can you count events that are not sponsored (paid for) by GEAR UP funds?

Yes. For data i.e. entering it in GUIDES purposes, you can definitely count it even if it was not a GU-sponsored event as long as the following two conditions are met:

  1. The activity serves the GU Cohort Students i.e. currently 7th graders
  2. The activity fulfills one of the three GEAR UP Objectives.

Participation in this activity will count toward your Annual Progress Goals target as well. If you used non-federal funds for this activity, then you can and should claim them as match for GEAR UP. In doing so, GEAR UP hopes the schools are doing additional college readiness activities to build sustainability post-GEAR UP.

Do we include travel time for events like education trips, college tours, and job site visits when we fill in the Hours field in GUIDES?

No. You should only include time spent at the activity site. The travel time is documented under match (if paid by non-GU funds).

Given that research shows participation in extra curricular activities, specifically fine arts, leads to higher academic performance and achievement, do fine arts tutoring or after school sessions count towards either match for the educator or toward tutoring services? How about sports, UIL, clubs?

Although you’re right about the research, it’s a second-degree relationship. Currently, we’re counting tutoring only for AP-level courses if it’s a non-core subject like Fine Arts. Some districts have AP Studio Art. When you choose Tutoring as a service in GUIDES, the subjects list will show that option.

Re: sports, UIL, and clubs generally can be counted but we ask that you ask your coaches to include a component of college readiness and/or scholarships during these activities. It may require planning up front. Since sports scholarships are a fact of college life, most colleges need students to be academically competent first in order to be admitted especially at selective colleges.