GEAR UP Maine Bulletin
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December, 2015


GEAR UP Maine staff

Happy Holidays!
Here is what we have included this month

(Don't forget to click "view entire message" at the bottom of this email to view all of our updates)

Grant Requirements- Must do's and To do's

  • Year 1 grant funds must be expended  by December 31, 2015
  • All year 1 funds expended to date must be invoiced in GEM
  • Edit and Finalize  Year 2 Plan (If applicable- please see your RF)
Bulletin Highlights
  • Important FAFSA Information- No more PIN. Students need a FSA ID!
  • SAT- What Changes to Expect
  • Building Bright Futures CAT conference College Going Culture Definition
  • GEAR Up Maine staff spotlight: Frank McElwain
  • Partner Spotlight: GEM
  • Summer Experience - Know of one? Contact us!
 Check out our public facing website here for the following information
  • GEAR UP Maine Partners
  • Parent and Student resources
  • Upcoming public events (our GEAR UP Maine Calendar)
  • News and resources
  • Family and school engagement article by Corda Kinzie

Share your GEAR UP successes and challenges with us to share in Bulletins to come! Email

The GEAR UP  Maine Staff

CAT team Must Do's
December Must Do's

College Access Teams:
  • Finalize Year 2 plan with Regional Facilitator 
  • Year 1 grant funds must be expended  by December 31, 2015
Invoicing Staff/Business Manager:
  • Invoice all 2015 expenditures to date
January Must Do's

College Access Teams:
  • Student Representative Contact Information (see your Regional Facilitator) 
  • Year 1 grant funds must be expended  by December 31, 2015
  • year 2 budget must be finalized and approved by your Regional Facilitator
  • FAFSA parent and guardian financial aid awareness
Invoicers/ Business Managers:
  • Any funds expended in the first year of the grant up to December 31, 2015 invoices need to be submitted by January 30th, 2016
Data Stewards
  • Input the number of GEAR UP students who have completed their FAFSA in GEM


Get to Know Your GEAR UP Maine Staff

Frank McElwain   
Aroostook County Regional Facilitator 

The book I could read a hundred times over:

11-22-63 by Stephen King

A mystery/thriller released in 2011.  It’s a time travel story about the assassination of President Kennedy.  The book does a great job capturing details of the 1950’s and 60’s and the story keeps you guessing.


I would love to travel back to: Italy
My wife and I visited several Italian cities on a tour last year.  We had a great time experiencing the culture and food while learning about their rich history.


When I’m not doing Gear Up work, I am: Working on our strawberry farm where we grow a variety of fruits and vegetables in addition to strawberries.  My non work hobbies include restoring antique farm tractors, skiing, and hiking.

District Portal
Upcoming Events
Tell us what you'd like to know more about
Whats Happening?
Taken directly from the FAME newsletter.  FAFSA is now requiring that every student sign up for an FSA ID.

GEAR UP Maine CAT members can serve as a great support in informing colleagues, parents, and students about this change and assist students and parents to receive their FSA ID as soon as possible!
FAFSA Filers - Get Your FSA ID Early!
Students need an FSA ID (which has replaced the PIN) to access the FAFSA.  It takes about 10 minutes to create an FSA ID, so we recommend creating an FSA ID ahead of time. 
To learn more about the FSA ID and how to create one, check out one of FAME's series of informational videos, Creating an FSA ID.  If you are ready to create an FSA ID, go to  Keep track of your FSA ID information using this sheet.
For informational videos on other topics related to planning and paying for college, check ouFAME's full video series.
College Board has made some changes to the SAT. So how will the new SAT compare to the current version?  The College Board website has created a table to compare the new vs. the old SAT. Click here to be taken to the college board website table.

Don't forget! December 28th is the deadline to sign up for the January SAT!

What Does "College-Going Culture" Mean?
A college-going culture in Maine’s GEAR UP communities inspires, encourages, and supports all students and their families to gain the necessary skills required to achieve success of their personal goals to continue their education beyond high school
Our first annual GEAR UP CAT conference was a success thanks to the coordination and hard work of the GEAR UP and Syntiro staff.

Participants at the first-annual GEAR UP Maine CAT conference joined forces to create the definition of what college-going culture means to them. GEAR UP Maine will use this collective definition going forward when referencing a "college-going culture."
GEM Inc., is a GEAR UP Maine partner-- GEAR UP Maine contracts with GEM to develop, run, and support GU Maine schools
to invoice for the grant.

GEM's motto is "Simplifiying Complexity since 1999."

GEM Software Development was founded in 1999 with a single aim - to take complex information and transform it into simplified web-based solutions to make the job of the end users as easy and effortless as possible. Their principal work involves projects within state government, typically bridging the gap between program administrators and non-state government end users. GEM currently manages projects in Maine, Virginia, Washington D.C., Texas, Georgia and Illinois. GEM has also developed two branded products, a Medicaid billing system (GEMCare) and a Student Case Management System (SCMS) both of which are used extensively in school districts throughout Maine.

The GEM team is comprised of a group of talented problem solvers and software developers that includes internet entrepreneurs, data analysts, evaluation experts, programmers, and individuals with expertise in education, quality improvement and health care. Corporate shares are held equally by Gary Seekins of Kennebunk, GEM's President, Chief Technology Officer, and contact for all Special Project Contracts; Ed Anthonis Jr. of Searsport, its Executive Vice President and CFO, and Dr. George S. Smith, of Winthrop, Vice President and principal contact for New Product Development. 

If you are looking for technical support Kim Parks, is the staff to contact. Kim can be reached at 207.985.8802 or
Summer Experience
Know of any Summer Experience opportunities in your area that recent high school graduate students are able to: 
   ~ live on a college campus & experience life in a dorm with a roommate,
   ~ take academic course work, and;
   ~ participate in the social life on campus.

If so, please contact Corda Ladd Kinzie at

GEAR UP Maine is looking to give stipends to 2 GEAR UP students from each of the GEAR UP High Schools, summer 2016!

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