"Gear Up" program to help prepare MPS students for college

For many kids, going to college seems like just a dream, due to skyrocketing fees, and the rigorous workload.

However, that mentality is beginning to change in the Milwaukee Public School District, as it's rolling out a new program after receiving a $30 million grant.

"In a city like Milwaukee, 3,000 children are homeless, but what we're attempting to do, is to begin to knock down those barriers for our young people to experience success, like many of us have experienced," Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Thornton said.

Milwaukee Public Schools are preparing to launch a new program called "Gear Up." It stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, and it's all thanks to a $15 million federal grant, that's matched by a group of local partners.

The goal is to prepare MPS students to enter and succeed in college.

The program begins with middle school students, and follows the students through high school, all the way up to their first year of college.

"Targeted tutoring to some of our students, workshops for parents and families about beginning to plan for college, and understanding what it takes to be on the pathway for college," MPS Chief Academic Officer Heidi Ramirez said.

"I want to get into college. I want to have a real life. I want to do something important with my life. I want to be a teacher and help other people, so they can accomplish their goals," MPS seventh-grader Lanesha Flowers said.

Wisconsin is one of 19 states nationwide receiving "Gear Up" dollars. The program will serve nearly 3,000 students in 13 schools.