GEAR UP in Vancouver Public Schools

Gear Up logoGaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programming—or GEAR UP—helps prepare young people to be academically, socially and financially prepared to go to college. The GEAR UP Scholars Project provides six- and seven-year grants to increase the number of disadvantaged students who are prepared to enter and complete postsecondary education.

GEAR UP began in Vancouver Public Schools in 2006 with a $1.8 million grant and 151 seventh-grade students at Discovery and Jason Lee middle schools. Funded at $300,000 a year for six years, the project provided mentoring, academic assistance and scholarship opportunities for the selected students. Ninety percent of the 79 students still active in the program in 2011 graduated from high school, and 87 percent of these graduates went on to college with a GEAR UP scholarship.

VPS received a second six-year grant in fall 2011, which targeted seventh-graders at Discovery, Gaiser and McLoughlin middle schools. The grant will follow the students, now sophomores at Fort Vancouver, Hudson’s Bay and Skyview high schools, through high school graduation in 2017.

The 2016-17 GEAR UP school year

It’s not too late to start planning for college!

Each high school has a designated site director who works directly with the GEAR UP class to ensure success in high school and college preparation. Support includes homework help, mentoring, leadership training, career guest speakers and information on careers and college.

Quarterly Family Events offer support and information on how to navigate the path to college.  Site Directors are also available for individual appointments to help families with financial aid and college applications.

The focus for this year is helping students file their FAFSA/WASFA, which opens October 1 this year, and college and scholarship applications.  In addition, GEAR UP provides students with skills to help them be successful in their post-high school pursuits.

  • Each school will host financial aid nights during October and November.
  • Future U Fair on October 25 at Hudson’s Bay High School from 5:00-8:00 pm.  Get information from over 60 universities, colleges, technical and trade schools, training programs and military.  Information sessions on College Bound Scholarship, Scholarships, FAFSA and WASFA.  Open to ALL Vancouver Public Schools students and families.  Unlock Your Future!
  • College Goal Washington – in partnership with the Nationwide 12th Year Campaign, WSU-Vancouver and Clark College.  Provides direct support for students to file their FAFSA/WASFA and get information about financial aid.  Saturday, October 29 at WSU-Vancouver.  GEAR UP will provide transportation from each school.
  • Students will have opportunities to attend local college fairs, career fairs and leadership seminars.
  • Students will have opportunities to visit local colleges, universities and training programs to help them decide the best college fit for them.
  • College application events will be held at each school in late November.

Contact your GEAR UP site director for more information about any of these activities.



National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

Northwest Education Loan Association


Nina StemmDistrict coordinator
Barbara NelsonFiscal clerk

School locations

Cody ShultsSite director
Skyview High School
1300 NW 139th St.
Vancouver, WA 98685
Hannah ValentiSite director
Hudson’s Bay High School
1601 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA 98663
Arlisa HintonSite director
Fort Vancouver High School
5700 E 18th St.
Vancouver, WA 98661

Board members

John Anderson
Katrina Choi
Kathy Everidge
Marilyn Gaffrey
Carol Ann Jacobsen
Jodi Martin
Milissa Ormiston
Jan Redding
Mike Stromme
Courtney Yinger