GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federal program funded by the U.S. Department of Education whose mission is to significantly increase the number of low-income middle and high school students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The goals of GEAR UP are to build an academic bridge between high schools, businesses, and colleges in NH to better prepare students for success in college by expanding the NH Scholars program statewide. Additionally, GEAR UP will provide opportunities for underrepresented students to develop the non-cognitive skills critical for accessing higher education; to create a college-going culture in NH so that every student embraces the idea that college is possible; to design an academic model that aligns K-12 and higher education academic content expectations to increase college enrollment and preparedness;  and to develop and sustain a local and statewide commitment from businesses, high schools, colleges, and parents to make NH students college-ready.

We currently have Access Coordinators, full-time GEAR UP staff members, in each of Manchester’s public middle schools and public high schools. Along with Access Coordinators, we also have 4 AmeriCorps Members in the middle schools supporting our efforts.

Damond Ford, Associate Director of GEAR UP Alliance, GEAR UP New Hampshire / GEAR UP Manchester

Due to the challenges faced by many students during the pandemic and remote learning, many students failed in their school courses. Our staff wanted to provide supports to students before our summer program, Gear Up For Success, and so we started some academic supports for students. This spring we held several academic support initiatives including afterschool tutoring, Saturday tutoring sessions, and Spring Break Academic boot camp sessions. The afterschool tutoring is continuing alongside other initiatives. But the highlight has been the Spring Break Academic boot camps. The camps were held at MST, Memorial, and West HS open to all GEAR UP students, Class of 2024 & 2025. Students were able to get assignments done, additional tutoring in whatever subject they need and just be able to get additional support for their academics. We had over 40 students participate across all three campuses. We haven’t seen the data back from our efforts but we are hopeful that our efforts made an impact on the students’ academics.

Along with the Spring Break Academic boot camps we are currently planning Gear Up For Success summer program, June 28th through August 6th. Gear Up for Success (GUS)  is a six-week summer program providing an opportunity for students to gain exposure to college, career development and gain one semester of English 1 or Algebra 1/1A credit. Additionally, we hope that this program will increase the number of students who are on track to graduate high school as we continue to cultivate Manchester’s future talent. The amazing part about this summer program is that we are partnering with Manchester Community College who will also be our host for the program. Dr. Bicknell has been an amazing partner and champion of GEAR UP and our efforts and has opened the campus to us this summer. And what we also love about this summer program is that we are engaging some of Manchester School District’s amazing teaching talent. Teachers will be in-person teaching students in the subjects they will receive credit in. Outside of academics, college, and career exploration, students will also have tons of fun including field trips, team building, and guest speakers. Families who have rising 10th graders should reach out to their school administration or their school’s GEAR UP Access Coordinator to find out if they are eligible to attend. For more information students and families can visit

And to stay in the know about GEAR UP please follow us on all social media platforms at @nh_gualliance