To College and Beyond GEAR UP (2017)

In 2017, IPSI was awarded the first of two GEAR UP Partnership grants from the U.S. Department of Education: To College and Beyond GEAR UP (TCB). This grant allowed UT Austin to engage directly with eight high-need, underserved school districts identified as having a large percentage of first-generation and low-income students. These districts, located in economically depressed pockets within the flourishing Austin and San Antonio metro areas, had traditionally gone ignored or unnoticed by previous grantees, making UT Austin GEAR UP a critical intervention opportunity. TCB grant activities and services include, but are not limited to:

Strengthening the capacity of schools to deliver high-quality instruction through job-embedded professional development;

  • Strengthening the capacity of schools to deliver high-quality instruction through job-embedded professional development;

  • Enrolling students in rigorous curriculum such as AP and dual-enrollment college courses;

  • Providing students and parents with enriching supportive services;

  • Educating students and families about rigorous courses, high school graduation, college search, planning and application requirements, enrollment processes, and financial aid, and;

  • Implementing a rigorous evaluation to include a quasi-experimental design for continuous improvement.

UT GUIDES – Gearing Up for Industry Development and Educational Success (GEAR UP 2018)

In 2018, IPSI received its second GEAR UP Partnership grant award from the U.S. Department of Education, for UT GUIDES: GEAR UP for Industry Development and Educational Success. This grant added four new districts to the UTGU roster, two of which are located in rural areas of Deep East Texas. Two districts served in the 2017 TCB grant – Lockhart I SD and San Marcos CISD – were also included in GUIDES as a means of extending GEAR UP support into additional grade levels. In addition to the services provided by the TC grant, UT GUIDES activities include a focus in the following areas:

    • Providing students pathways to recognized postsecondary credentials, career skills that align with in-demand sectors, work-based learning, rigorous coursework such as AP and dual-enrollment college courses, and certifications in Geometry in Construction, Construction Science, Geoscience, Accounting and Computer Science, etc.;

    • Supporting educators with professional development in technology/STEM integration, instructional improvement, assessment, and ensuring that students have college- and job-ready skills that align with in-demand fields. 

    • Conducting outreach activities in an effort to enhance education and awareness about the value of college education within GEAR UP communities.

R2 – Reset and Reimagine (GEAR UP 2022)

In 2022, IPSI was awarded a third GEAR UP Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education: Reset and Reimagine GEAR UP (R2). This grant supports college readiness and success among low-income and underrepresented students in Central and Deep East Texas. Not only do students received traditional UT GEAR UP services and support, but they also receive health care services to address a growing need in rural Texas. The program aims to ensure that all students, regardless of their socio-economic background, have access to the resources and support they need to succeed in college and beyond. The R2 – Reset and Reimagine GEAR UP Grant is an important initiative in promoting opportunity in higher education, and is a testament to UT’s commitment to supporting the success of all students.

Educator Professional Development

The educator professional development services at the Institute for Public School Initiatives serve to implement instructional practices that will turn students into critical thinkers and problem solvers. To this end, we provide significant and ongoing professional development to allow time for teachers to learn a new strategy and implement the strategy in the classroom. Professional development engages teachers through varied approaches so they can actively make sense of a new practice. Our instructional coaching program provides support for teachers during strategy implementation and addresses the specific challenges of changing classroom practice. Our coaching model includes classroom observation feedback with researched instructional strategies.

Summer Programs