CFES Brilliant Pathways knows what it takes to help students in rural areas gain the skills needed for college and career readiness: We’re located in a small town in northern New York, we’ve worked with dozens of schools in rural areas, and we understand the unique challenges faced by these communities.

That’s why we’re especially proud of our work with the U.S. Department of Education’s GEAR UP program. As part of an $11.6 million, 7-year grant awarded in 2018, we’re partnering with seven school districts in New York’s heavily rural North Country to prepare low-income students for college. We’ll follow each of the 2,075 students as they make their way through high school.

Our GEAR UP schools are:

Putting Our Methods to Work

GEAR UP grants, awarded to schools nationwide, are meant to increase college attendance and success and raise the expectations of low-income students—which happens to be exactly what we’ve done at CFES for 30 years.

Using our time-tested, three-pronged approach—Essential Skills, Mentoring, and Pathways to College and Career—we’re able to achieve each of these GEAR UP goals:

  • Increase students’ academic performance and postsecondary preparation.
  • Increase students’ high school graduation rate and postsecondary participation.
  • Increase GEAR UP family knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation, and financing.
  • Create or expand opportunities for students to obtain recognized postsecondary credentials in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science.
  • Foster knowledge and promote the development of skills that prepare students to be informed, thoughtful, and productive individuals and citizens.

In addition, we work closely with colleges, businesses and non-profit organizations. Our students receive valuable lessons about college and career, while our partners build a pipeline to future employees and give their own staff the chance to participate in meaningful activities with local youth.

Setting Teachers Up for Success

Society expects teachers to prepare students for an ever-changing landscape. CFES Brilliant Pathways can help prepare teachers to deliver on those expectations. We provide an array of high-quality professional learning opportunities, such as participation in regional and national conferences and resources to develop STEM curriculums. Other highlights of our GEAR UP program include:

  • CFES Brilliant Pathways staff assigned to each school
  • Resources provided to support out-of-school learning opportunities for students
  • Compensation for tutors
  • Parental engagement support