• College Advocate Mentors promote positive relationships, help build nurturing environments, and create enriching experiences for students through College Journey Workshops, College & Career Exposure Activities, Parent & Family Engagement, and Student Data Infused Programming.


  • Coordinators support CAMs to be leaders, natural mentors and external change agents. They provide direct support to CAMs through leadership development, mentor training, and ongoing coaching support. Coordinators collaborate with Educators to provide meaningful placements for CAMs- in service of student support programming. Coordinators also collaborate with College Partners and School Admin to build a sustainable relationship -- to establish and maintain access to CAMs for the school.


  • Educators elevate teaching as an equity strategy towards the inclusion of all students. They  provide direct support to GEAR UP students through teaching and instruction, support the CAM work through coaching and referrals; and collaborate with Coordinators to sustain the program.


  • College Partners support CAMs to be community change agents, and work with Coordinators to support schools to create learning spaces. They provide direct support to CAMs through leadership development and academic coaching; and collaborate with Coordinators and School Admin to establish and maintain access to CAMs.


  • Schools commit to creating an educational climate that builds readiness for all by creating space for CAMs to provide services for students. They provide direct support to educators through training opportunities and professional development; and collaborate with Coordinators and College Partners to establish and maintain access to CAMs throughout the school year.

GEAR UP PPS believes that families, students, and educators are the key to creating school where students thrive, have the tools to succeed, and aspire to higher education. To take action on that vision, we have launched teams of near-peer college work study mentors from the local community into cohort schools through SMART; mobilized a team of ethnically, linguistically, and economically diverse parent leaders through BUILD ; and infused youth and parent voices into ongoing teacher professional development through TDIP.


The SMART Program believes that college youth from the community have the experience, perspective, and personal connection to help schools provide meaningful college preparation opportunities for students.  To that end, we pair Near-Peer College Advocate Mentors (CAMS) with educators to enrich curriculum and help students link academic progress to specific college aspirations; provide guidance and instruction around social-emotional skills that impact learning; and offer community-based enrichment opportunities to excite and motivate students, helping them understand how academic performance fits within the context of their lives and futures.


To achieve our goals, the SMART Program requires deep collaboration between schools, college partners, coordinators, educators, and the mentors themselves. Each plays a key role in success.


               Katie Clark



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