Student Services FAQ

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.
< h4>Does IPSI have a contact to purchase safety shirts and other GEAR UP marketing items?

IPSI has 2 vendors we frequently use and collect match from. Feel free to use them or look into other companies.

Safety Shirts
Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More
5400 Brodie Ln Suite 235, Austin, TX 78745. Phone: 512-899-3764
Email: Website:
Contact: Nikki

Marketing Materials
Promo Direct
931 American Pacific Dr. Suite 100, Henderson, NV 89014. Phone: 702-534-4773
Email: Website:
Contact: Eva Mish

In what formats will the GEAR UP student and parent surveys be provided in by the evaluator?

Student surveys will be available in English and Spanish and will be distributed electronically.
Parent Surveys will be available in English and Spanish and can be distributed electronically or through paper.

Will there be a Spanish version of the ACT Tessera?

No. ACT doesn’t provide a Spanish version and has no plans to. A teacher will have to translate in real-time to better service the student.

Will ALG I be considered an advanced course? If so, will it automatically be counted in GUIDES?

If your district considers ALG I as above grade level, then Yes. However, it cannot be considered as advanced for Grade 10 and up.

Will inactive students be taken out of our student count for achieving our goals?

Yes, we do include the inactive students in the denominator while counting progress. If we take them out then, we have to take any services we gave them while they were still enrolled out from the numerator as well to have an equitable comparison. That starts to get messy pretty quickly as students move in and out frequently. Hence the maximum a target goal we set is 90% to account for inactive students. So far, we have a lot fewer than 10% inactive students in any school. For example, for 2017-2018, as a cohort, only 4.1% of students had enrolled by the end of school year.