GEAR UP Maine Bulletin
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October, 2015


GEAR UP Maine staff

The Bulletin is full of important updates! Here is what we have included this month:

Grant Requirements:

  • CAT's To Do's for October and November
  • *NEW* GEM updates, invoicing & match requirements, and support tools
  • *NEW* Shared Leadership- What is it? Why does it matter? 
  • 21st Century Certificates 
Free resources, & most importantly, stories reflecting the reason why we do the work we do: 
  • CALLING ALL CATs! GEAR UP Maine Building Bright Futures Conference November 15-17
  • GEAR UP Maine Staff Spotlight- Kayla Hopkins
  • Pilot information (FREE to districts who are interested in participating. Deadline to enroll in first roll out is October 16th!)
  • GEAR UP Maine School Spotlight: BINGHAM!
  • Recap of National GEAR UP week 2015
  • Summer Experience Update
  • 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
October Must Do's

College Access Teams:
  • Begin draft action plan for Year 2 with your Regional Facilitator
  • Follow-up on student and parent surveys (will be sent out through GEM in October)
 Data Stewards:
  • Update student eligibility for GEAR UP in GEM (please see your RF for grade levels requiring eligibility documentation)
 Guidance Counselors (High School):
  • Please make sure you have fee waivers for all GEAR UP students for college applications and PSAT/SAT/ACTs. 
November Must Do's

College Access Teams:
  • Finalize Year 2 plan with Regional Facilitator
  • Year 1 grant funds supporting Year 1 Plan should be invoiced for by December 31, 2015.
Guidance Counselors:
  • Distribute 21st Century Certificates (See your Regional Facilitator) 
Invoicing Staff/Business Manager:
  • Identify and prepare documentation for quarterly In-kind/Match, due December 5th in GEM
GEM Updates, Invoicing & Match Requirements,
& Support Tools

GEM Software Development, Inc. 

Match Updates:
  • 2:1 match required and uploaded into GEM by December 5, 2015
  • Contact Kim Parks with any technical issues with entering match in GEM 
  • Contact your Regional Facilitator or Eleni with questions regarding what is allowable to use for match
Invoicing Updates: 
  • Invoicing due by December 31, 2015
  • Contact Kim Parks with any technical questions that are GEM-related (i.e numbers are not showing, error messages are popping up, etc.)
  • Contact your Regional Facilitator with Program questions 
Data Stewards: 
  • Click here to learn how to advance students in GEM
  • Contact Kim Parks if you have a GEM software related question
  • Contact your Regional Facilitator if you have any questions about data related questions. 

Got Shared Leadership?  
Part I

The GEAR UP Maine Model-A Sneak Peak
Please click here to be directed to the full Shared Leadership GEAR UP Maine Model Document


What is Shared Leadership?
“Shared leadership involves maximizing all of the human resources in an organization by empowering individuals and giving them an opportunity to take leadership positions in their areas of expertise.”  Marshall Goldsmith 

Why should College Access Team's know about it?
The GEAR UP Maine grant design is based on the concept of visionary leadership that emphasizes the importance of partnerships with educators, community members, parents, and students to create a shared vision and strategies to find solutions to challenges. Our shared leadership model emerged from a variety of leadership models that are associated with positive outcomes relative to promoting a college-going culture and all students meeting challenging standards.


As GEAR UP Maine leaders, our job is to effectively partner with others in a common mission to prepare students who live in economically disadvantaged communities for post-secondary education by:

  • increasing academic performance and preparation for post-secondary education;

  • increasing the rate of high school graduation and

  • increasing students’ and parents’ knowledge of post-secondary education options, preparation and financing.

A sneak preview of what's to come!
  • Holding meetings with a clear, shared purpose.
  • Providing effective facilitation with meeting norms and self-assessment procedures.
  • Include the voices of stakeholders in decision making.
  • Inspiring, allowing and welcoming leadership among all stakeholders.
  • Assessing the effectiveness of the leadership team- task and process.

In the next Bulletin, we will describe how to be sure leadership meetings have a clear, shared purpose and include voices of diverse stakeholders.


We would love to hear your ideas about how you build a culture of shared leadership in your schools! Please email

GEAR UP Maine Building Bright Futures Conference November 15th-17th!

GEAR UP Maine will host a College Access Team (CAT) conference at The Samoset Resort in Rockport. 

This conference is intended to galvanize and energize the efforts of district GEAR UP teams across the state, working to build bright futures, the conference will provide district CAT representatives with a platform for exploring best practices to carry back to their teams.  

Among the outcomes of the conference will be:

  • increased collegiality and collaboration

  • a clarification of roles

  • tools and resources for CAT members to work more effectively in their home sites 
Come away with a sense that you are a part of a vibrant, energetic, capable group of folks who are changing the face of education in Maine!

Join us in celebrating work to date as we GEAR UP for year two! 

Get to Know Your GEAR UP Maine Staff

Kayla Hopkins 
Communications Specialist 

The book I could read a hundred times over: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I would love to travel back to: Rome. I studied there for 4 months in college.

When I'm not working I am: Singing in my band called The Depths, or doing photography. 

Kayla earned her B.A. in public relations from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. Kayla designs, develops and maintains promotional materials, websites and social media platforms for GEAR UP and Syntiro. Prior to coming to Syntiro, Kayla was the public relations specialist for Tri-County Mental Health Services in Lewiston. Kayla has a gift and a passion for photography and singing--key attributes for the creative and innovative work of Syntiro. She lives in Minot and enjoys spending as much time outside as she can, taking advantage of the beauty Maine has to offer.
Whats Happening?
Free Career Planning and Exploration Program
Last call for October Deadline to Enroll!
 Please read below for more detail and 
click here to complete this survey if interested! is a unique multimedia career planning and career exploration resource.

***For interested schools, CLICK HERE, as the survey must be completed to complete the sign-up process. There will be no cost to your school, or district, Syntiro will pay for a license for this upcoming academic year until December 31, 2016 for ALL students grades 7-12. Trainings are scheduled for October 27th 8am-9am & October 28th 2:30pm-3:30pm*** is a highly-engaging, easy to use interface that encourages students to explore different career paths,  determine career goals, and match appropriate post-secondary programs to those goals. With a strong emphasis on job realities, soft skills, and workforce terminology, is a wonderful tool that is customizable and offers simple yet meaningful, easy to follow lesson plans, to support career readiness.

Each student gets their own login username and can access their profile on from any device with internet browsing options. 

Beating the Odds 2015: Top High Schools for Low-Income Students
During the summer of 2015, RSU 83 did a fantastic job of combining their GU and MELMAC funds to provide their students with some experiences they had never had before.  Students explored university libraries, went swimming in a pool, saw the ocean, and went to a "sit down" restaurant, things some of them had never experienced before.  The students  loved the libraries so much, they did not want to leave!

Because of their success, an admission person from Bowdoin called the principal and told her to let him know who was interested in going to Bowdoin.  He will be do everything he can to help them. Way to go RSU 83 in using the grant funding in very creative and meaningful ways!

Check out Bingham's slideshow presentation to learn exactly how much they did and what their students were able to learn both academically and socially. 
THANK YOU to our GEAR UP Maine Scholars who participated in  NATIONAL GEAR UP WEEK 2015!

The following schools shared with us what they did and their events and stories are highlighted on the home page of the 
GEAR UP Maine District Portal:

RSU #39  (Caribou)
RSU #86 (Fort Fairfield)
AOS #96 (Machias)
Did you participate in National GEAR UP week and your school is not on the list? Please email with stories and/or pictures!
This past summer we had a UMF Summer Experience for 2 college-going High School Seniors from every GEAR UP Maine High School. Going forward we are looking into what other Summer Experiences there are for High School college-going seniors regionally in Maine. 
Stay Tuned! 
If you have any ideas please email Corda
District Portal
Upcoming Events
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