Lufkin Independent School District is the recipient of the U.S. Department of Education Linking Education to Success (LETS) Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant for the fourth time over the past two decades. LETS GEAR UP program will implement activities to promote awareness of post-secondary education opportunities, such as instructional and extended support services, beginning with students in the 6th and 7th grade. The program aims to increase cohort students’ academic performance, enrollment in advanced placement courses, graduation rates, and matriculation to and success in post-secondary education. The grant was given to institutions of higher learning and universities across the country but given to only two independent school districts in the state of Texas, Lufkin ISD and DeSoto ISD. The grant will total $5,950,400 over seven years.

Lynn Torres, Superintendent of Lufkin ISD, said, “Lufkin ISD is thrilled to receive the LETS GEAR UP grant during this federal funding cycle. To be presented this grant once is an honor, but to receive it a fourth time, is beyond what I could have hoped. Lufkin ISD is committed to the success of all students. With this grant, we will be able to leverage more resources to ensure that all Lufkin ISD students will be college and career ready when they graduate from high school.”

She said, “Over the next seven years, we will follow two groups of students; current 6th and 7th grade students throughout their secondary school career. Through the grant Lufkin ISD will receive approximately $898,400 each year over the next six years and $560,000 during year seven. We have some hard work ahead, but we are excited about this opportunity.”

Stephen F. Austin State University and Angelina College will partner with Lufkin ISD to provide a wide range of engaging student, educator and parent learning experiences. These partners will be instrumental in outreach, academic, and enrichment enhancement, as well as support services and professional development for teachers, administrators and parents. Mentors, parent workshops, student peer support will all be a part of the agreement with these college partners.

Dr. Keven Ellis, member of the State Board of Education said, “Receiving this grant for the fourth time is a tribute to the success of the past implementation of the grant, as well as the positive impact the grant had on our students. It will be a great benefit to our school district and community to receive this federal financial backing to ensure that our students not only know about postsecondary education options, but are college, career and/or military ready when they graduate.”

The grant will be effective immediately and the cohort will begin with this year’s 6th and 7th grade students. The first order of business will be to hire a Project Director and develop a steering committee.

“I’m very pleased to see Lufkin ISD as a recipient of the GEAR UP grant program,” stated State Representative Trent Ashby. “Participants in this program have shown very positive gains, as students graduate and attend college at a higher rate than their peers.”