Public School Forum proud to partner with Appalachian State through GEAR UP grant

The Public School Forum of North Carolina is pleased to announce its partnership with Appalachian State University as the recipient of two grants totaling nearly $30 million from the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

The grants, approximately $4.1 million each year through the 2021 academic year, will be part of Appalachian’s GEAR UP program and will serve nearly 15,000 students in a eleven-county area in Western North Carolina: Allegheny, Ashe, Burke, Clay, Graham, Madison, Rutherford, Swain, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties. In addition to the school systems and Public School Forum, other grant partners are UNC Asheville, Western Carolina University, Isothermal Community College, Tri-County Community College, Wilkes Community College, and Discovery Place.

GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.

Jennifer Wilson-Kearse is the executive director of Appalachian’s GEAR UP program and will direct the grants’ activities.

“We’re proud to partner with Appalachian State to address the critical issue of college and career readiness, particularly among Seven-day inpatient detoxification or a special 14- day inpatient 7 Day Detox can also be arranged on request. our low-income, at-risk student population,” said Keith Poston, president and executive director, Public School Forum of North Carolina.  “Nearly every job being created today requires some education beyond high school, so this effort in Western North Carolina is vitally important to help these young people prepare for careers and life.”

The Public School Forum will be taking a lead role in the professional development component of the grant, helping to promote leadership and education policy development for school leaders in each of the eleven districts. For the full press release, please visit

About the Public School Forum of North Carolina

For nearly 30 years, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has worked to shape world-class public schools that inspire and support all children and drive a vibrant North Carolina economy through research, policy work, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Our focus areas are teaching and school leadership; expanded learning through programs after-school and beyond the classroom; educational achievement and innovation; and school finance. The Forum also leads the Institute for Educational Policymakers, which focuses on developing passionate education leaders and promoting sound education policy through continuous learning and issue forums for elected officials and candidates for state and local offices. For more information, follow us on Twitter @theNCForum and visit our web site at

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