• Announcements


    NPM Logo

    The PPS GEAR UP program is currently hiring Near Peer Mentors for the 2024-2025 school year.  Below you will find a link to the recruitment flyer which will give you more information.  Or, apply now on the PPS Careers Webpage (Job ID#27463).  Click HERE to learn about the near peer mentor program.

    NPM Flyer




    • Fall 2023
    • Winter 2024



  • GEAR UP Engage, Empower, Elevate

    GEAR UP LogoEngage, Empower, Elevate (E3) is a college and career readiness initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s GEAR UP grant program. E3 follows students from middle through high school and provides an array of classroom-based services focused on student academic achievement.  GEAR UP E3 provides direct services to students in Jefferson, McDaniel and Roosevelt High Schools as well as leadership, administrative and funding support for the district's Near Peer Mentor (NPM) and Parent Teacher Home Visit (PTHV) programs.

    Link to GEAR UP 2023-2024 Calendar

    GEAR UP Vision

    GEAR UP E3 provides classroom-centered wrap-around support structures that elevate student voice and experience, authentically collaborate with families, and prioritize culturally-sustaining pedagogy, to create responsive classrooms and improved student engagement.  Key to this strategy is recognizing and mitigating explicit and implicit racial inequities, committing to transforming traditional power structures, eliminating structural and academic barriers for underserved students, supporting teacher professional capacity-building, and empowering students and families as equal partners in education. The result is a classroom climate in which all students can realize their academic potential and fulfill college and career goals.  

    GEARUP Venn GEAR UP Core Strategies

    Near Peer Mentor Program: Using the classroom as the nexus of student services, GEAR UP provides leadership and support for a cohort of college-going near peer mentors (NPMs).  NPMs collaborate with a teacher partner to create a bridge for acknowledging and integrating youth voice. They model appropriate academic behaviors and skills, improve student engagement, and help younger peers cultivate post-secondary aspirations and identity.  The Near-Peer Mentor program currently operates in the district's nine comprehensive high schools.

    Teacher Capacity Building:   GEAR UP TOSAs (Teachers on Special Assignment) promote data-informed teacher professional development and networking opportunities that allow educators to explore, practice, and build capacity to embed student voice and life experience into pedagogy, curricula, and assessment.  GEAR UP TOSAs act as instructional coaches to help integrate GEAR UP core strategies in support of the district's Instructional Framework, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy Objectives and Educator Essentials.

    PTHV and Family Engagement:  GEAR UP supports an evolving parent organizing and leadership model that activates family voice, while connecting them more deeply with each other, teachers and the educational system.  GEAR UP provides leadership and centralized administrative support for the district-wide Parent Teacher Home Visit (PTHV) Program.  PTHV is a nationally recognized methodology that provides opportunities for parents and teachers to come together as equal partners through voluntary home visits designed to build trust and collaborative relationships in service to student academic success.  

    Holistic Data Practices: In partnership with PPS Research, Assessment & Accountability (RAA), GEAR UP supports the operationalization of quantitative and qualitative data tools and processes that gather the voices and experiences of our stakeholders -- students, parents, teachers, and mentors.  Currently in a pilot phase, GEAR UP and RAA are using community researchers to conduct interviews and focus groups, compiling stories and experiences that will be analyzed and integrated with other district assessment data.  The goal is to provide a richer, more informative and authentic measure of student academic progress commensurate with the district's Student Graduate Profile.

    [Click to view a timeline of the evolution of the GEAR UP initiative.] 

     Gear Up Timeline  

GEAR UP Contacts

Dr. Angela Nusom, EDD, MSW
Assistant Director of College & Career Readiness, GEAR UP
Mary Evans, MSW
PTHV-Parent Engagement Program Manager
Jennie Cha, MSW
Near Peer Mentor Program Manager
Jessaca Willis, MSW
GEAR UP Evaluator
Steve Smith, MED
GEAR UP TOSA/Instructional Coach
Shannon Rooney, MED
GEAR UP TOSA/Instructional Coach
Noel Tamez, MED
GEAR UP TOSA/Instructional Coach
Diane Besser, PhD
Business Operations Analyst
Pauline Celino
Senior Clerk