GEAR UP Maine Bulletin
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May, 2016


GEAR UP Maine staff

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)

Please see your Regional Facilitator with any questions.

Data management system interviews and demonstrations have concluded. A big "Thank you" to the data stewards who were on the team and helped us to make our decision. Once it is official, we will share who our new data management vendor will be and update all on our process moving forward!


You DO NOT need to enter data through GEM as of March 15, 2016. Your student level, district data must be kept secure at your site. GU-ME will be asking for this information to be ready to transfer to the new data management system by June. As soon as we have a new vendor on board, we will be keeping you updated on any end of the year data that is needed, 

As we transition to a new data management system, GU-ME has created files for all Data Stewards to track required data under the GEAR UP grant the file to track student data information can be found here.

Please continue to invoice using the GEM data system


Bulletin Highlights
  • GEAR UP Maine staff spotlight - Jan Brackett
  • Narraguagus Boston Trip
  • WCLT Career Fair
  • Resource of the Month -
  • GEAR UP Maine Partner highlight - Thomas College
  • Summer Experience - Know of one? Contact us!
 Check out our public facing website here for the following information
Share your GEAR UP successes and challenges with us to share in Bulletins to come! Email

The GEAR UP  Maine Staff

Grant Must Do's
May Must Do's
  • Document activities completed (in Excel spreadsheet, NOT GEM)
  • Submit invoices (via GEM)
  • Review duplications of services (if you have TRiO) while completing your Year 3 action plan. Make sure to sign it and email a copy to your Regional Facilitator)
  • Document student information regarding who completed the FAFSA, number of college applications filed, and number of college acceptances (in Excel spreadsheet, NOT GEM)
  • Send final Year 3 Action Plan to your Regional Facilitator by May 31st
June Must Do's
  • Document activities completed (in Excel spreadsheet, NOT GEM)
  • Submit invoices (via GEM)
  • Document student information regarding who completed the FAFSA, number of college applications filed, and number of college acceptances (in Excel spreadsheet, NOT GEM)
  • Year 3 plans must be completed and approved by your regional facilitator by June 17th.

Get to Know Your GEAR UP Maine Staff

Jan Brackett

1.) The book I could read a hundred times over: While I do regularly re-read books (and that is one reason that my goal of drastically downsizing my book collection is proving to be such a challenge), I cannot imagine reading a book one hundred times. There are too many great books still to be read! I was pleasantly surprised by one recent re-read: I loved the novel Siddartha by Hermann Hesse when I first read it in high school, but I hadn't re-visited the book in the intervening years (er...decades). When I did re-read Siddartha recently, I learned that the process was more about re-discovering than remembering (so much for my memory!) and felt more fresh and enlightening than I'd anticipated. Isn't that what happens with great books? They bring you new insights each time you re-immerse yourself in them.

2.) I would love to travel back to: One place I would like to experience again are the Magdalen Islands (Les Iles de la Madeleine)--a small archipelago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that is part of Quebec. When I was there many years ago, I was struck by the red sandstone formations, the friendly people, the beaches and rolling hills, and the force of the wind!

3.) When I'm not working I'm:  I'm building my tiny house. I plan to finish it and move into it this year!

Jan brings her love of data, accounting, and reporting to her role as GEAR UP Bookkeeper. In the past, she has served as Data Analyst and Registrar for Bowdoin College, and as Data Specialist for the Lewiston Public Schools. A true believer in lifelong learning, Jan earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and continues to take classes to enhance both her work and her hobbies. Jan recently took a later-in-life "gap year" during which she rode her bicycle from the Gulf of Mexico to Niagara Falls and started building her soon-to-be-finished tiny house.
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Narraguagus Students Visit Massachusetts Colleges
On April 28th, four Narraguagus High School students embarked on a three-day trip to visit three Massachusetts colleges. Please read the write up below written by Maria Frankland, the Narraguagus GEAR UP Coordinator.

"We arrived safe and sound in Amherst around 11 PM Thursday night. We spent Friday morning at Smith College and Friday afternoon at Boston College. After our tour, we spent time with a current BC student from Orrington. He talked with our girls not only about BC but also about adapting to an environment so different from rural Maine. The girls wanted to go to Quincy Market for dinner, so we headed into town. Little did we know that the Yankees were in town to play the Red Sox, and that our path would lead us into the Fenway traffic. What's a road trip without a little adventure?

On Saturday, our four students were among 189 girls from 29 states plus two countries who attended the Junior Open Campus event at Wellesley College. Our full day began with a panel discussion led by current Wellesley students, after which the students and guests went their separate ways for the remainder of the day. The girls attended one of ten sample classes. Two students chose Elementary Arabic, one chose The Wonderful World of Dante's Divine Comedy, and one chose Biomaterials: Chemistry in Action. They also toured campus and attended a workshop around the admissions process for selective universities.

Here are some comments from the girls:

I liked the fact that I was given the opportunity to look at such variety of schools so far away from home. Because I play sports and have many other commitments, it is hard to find the time and the money to go out of state and experience these kinds of colleges, which will be vital come time for the admissions process. One of my favorite parts was that it was a small group of students, so we were able to ask the questions we needed to ask without getting lost in the crowd. It made it feel like more of a personal experience. I would certainly recommend a trip like this to other students serious about looking for the right college for them. Before I visited Boston College, it was actually pretty high on my list. Now that I have visited, it is off of it completely. The opposite for Wellesley. I was a little on the fence about the school, but after this trip it is tied for my number one school along with another college. I think that this trip was a wonderful opportunity for me to experience some of the schools I have been looking at for some time now. Without this trip, it is very possible that I could have overlooked some incredible schools that seem to be a good fit for me, as well as consider a school that I would not have been happy attending.

I liked the opportunity that this trip provided. I was able to gather a lot of information and ideas of what type of colleges I want to attend. Yes, I would recommend this trip or a trip like this to other students.

I liked this trip because I learned what I want and don’t want. I learned that I don’t really want to go to an all-women school and that I don’t want to go to a really big school. I also learned about the Boston area and community. I would definitely recommend a trip like this because it was so beneficial to learn what I liked and didn’t like.

It was helpful to attend the admissions event. Not only did I learn about Wellesley College and its campus, but I was able to learn more about the admissions process which was very helpful to me. I feel like the advice that was given will also help me with exploring and choosing colleges in the future. I basically like everything about this trip. I love exploring and learning about the colleges. I love that it was a small group of students that came along and not a big group. I also like how students were able to contribute what they wanted to do. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunity that I got to experience on this trip. I was able to find colleges that I really like and learn a lot about them. I hope that the future students will also get to experience this. Thank you once again for contributing to my wonderful experience.
WCLT Career Fair
With the combined efforts of the JMG College Success program at UMM and the Washington County Consortium, the Washington County Leadership Team hosted a Career Fair for grades 7-12 on April 29, on the campus of the University of Maine at Machias.  The event, open to all schools in the county, left more than 500 attending students with a better understanding of the various careers available in Downeast Maine, as well as with a deeper appreciation of the training necessary to prepare for entry into those careers.  Participating businesses and organizations included: 

Berry Vines Florist 
Washington County's Career Center
CES Surveyors
Down East Community Hospital
East Machias Fire Department
JM Appraisal Services
Machias Ambulance
Maine Marine Patrol
Maine Warden Service
Photos by Lida
Tide Mill Farms/Tide Mill Creamery 
University of Maine at Machias
US Army
US Army National Guard
US Customs and Border Patrol
US Fish and Wildlife Services
US Wildlife Services
Washington County Regional Communications
Washington County Sheriff's Department
Washington County Community College
Resource of the Month
Teaching Channel is a thriving online community where teachers can watch, share, and learn diverse techniques to help every student grow. 

We are happy to announce our May Partner Highlight, Thomas College.
Thomas College prepares students for success in their personal and professional lives, and for leadership and service in their communities. Thomas College partners with several Maine high schools to provide "dual enrollment". Taking these classes will earn students college credit before they graduate from high school. 
For more information, visit their website -
Summer Experience
Know of any Summer Experience opportunities in your area that high school 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.

GEAR UP Maine is looking to help fund a summer experience for 2 GU students from each of the GEAR UP High Schools, summer 2016!

View our list we've put together of 2016 Summer Opportunities we know about 

Please contact Corda Ladd Kinzie at for more information.
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