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February 2006 


Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs 

Office of the Commissioner of Higiier Education 

46 North Last Chance Gulch | PC Box 203201 

Helena | MT | 59620-3201 

(406) 444-0056 | 

CtFARUP Dil^eCtOr'S Message by sandy Merdinger 

Inside this issue: 

Director's Message 

OPI Announces Indian 
Education Division 

GEAR UP Spotlight: 
Arlee School is Running! 

February Reminders 

Free Admission to 
Museum of the Rockies 

MIEA Spring Conference 

College Goal Sunday — 
February 12th 

2006 Youth Leadership 

GEAR UP Staff 

The big news in the GEAR UP office is the birth of Cyrus and IVIegan IVIalkin's baby, 
Aria, on January 25^^ Congratulations to Cy and his family! We wish them all the 
best as their family grows. In order to spend some time with Aria, Cyrus will be out of 
the office the first week in February, so please direct your calls or emails to others in 
the office. 

Beyond celebrating Aria's birth, we are pleased to announce that Montana GEAR UP 
will partner with the Student Assistance Foundation to help pilot College Summit in 
Montana. College Summit is designed to navigate the gap between high school and 
college for students that are "better than their numbers" but need some extra support 
to get into college and to stay in college. There was a positive response when College 
Summit staff presented information about the program in Havre in early January. 
Representatives from six GEAR UP schools attended and some are interested in 
participating in the pilot program. We will keep you posted on the program as we see 
how College Summit can be effectively rolled out in a rural state like Montana. 

On the national level, the U.S. Department of Education just announced a new 
competition for GEAR UP funding. We encourage postsecondary institutions and 
schools not already a part of a GEAR UP program to consider coming together and 
submitting a partnership proposal. The deadline for applications for the six-year grant 
is March 7'^ As you might imagine, we've seen great success in many of the GEAR 
UP schools, so we hope others will also become involved in GEAR UP. If you have 
any questions about the new round of funding or questions on writing a proposal, 
please feel free to contact our office. 

OPI Indian Education Division Fully Staffed! 



Superintendent of Public Instruction Linda McCulloch is 

pleased to announce the full staffing of the OPI Indian 

Education Division. Due to funding in the 2005 Legislative 

session, the Indian Education Division is expanding from 

one Indian Education Specialist to a team of eight 

individuals. Denise Juneau, Lynn Hinch, Mike Jetty, Martha Many Gray Horses, Mandy 

Smoker Broaddus, Amy Sings In The Timber, Cal Boyle, and Joan Franke bring a wide 

range of experience but a common vision in the area of Indian Education. 

The Indian Education Division is dedicated to an equal and quality education for all 
Montana students and is especially grateful for the diligent efforts of those who have 
worked in and advocated for Indian Education throughout the years in Montana. 

The Indian Education Division has two major functions. First, the group will work to 
promote and uphold Montana's constitutional mandate of Indian Education for All, which 
requires that ALL Montanans learn about the "distinct and unique heritage of American 
Indians" (MCA 20-1501). Second, the Division works to improve the academic experi- 
ence for American Indian students, including working to close the achievement gap that 
exists between Indian and non-Indian students, decreasing drop-out rates, and creating 
culturally responsive curriculum and school environments that promote success. 

The Indian Education Division works in conjunction with educators, school districts, state 
and tribal organizations, and state agencies to improve education for all Montana 

Page 2 

Montana GEAR UP 

The GEAR UP Spotlight: Arlee Schools 

■Arlee is off and RUNNING!! bYTammvElsenGEARUPUalson 

Arlee Schools are proud to be a new 
participant in Montana GEAR UP, and we 
looking forward to the next six years of 
academic enrichment, college awareness, 
and new scholarship opportunities for our 
talented students. GEAR UP helps us build 
on the many initiatives we began over the 
past few years, modeled off GEAR UP 
principles. One initiative, which is now a part 
of our implementation plan, is our annual Buttercup Scholarship 


This year, the race will be held on Saturday, March 25 , and it has been 
officially renamed in honor of a master teacher and treasured colleague: 
Ted Hesse, who died of cancer on December 7'\ 2005. 

Mr. Hesse served for nearly 30 years as a first grade teacher and taught 
hundreds of Arlee students to read. In addition, he mentored dozens of student teachers over the past 20 
years. Our community partners, the Friends of Arlee Schools, decided that there was no more fitting way to 
honor Ted than to name the scholarships we will award to deserving 
Arlee graduates after him. He gave them a great start in their 
academic pursuits as 6 year olds, and now, in his honor, they will 
be attending college! There is no doubt he would be very proud. 

We want to invite students from other GEAR UP schools to 
participate in our annual run. As this is our area's first race of the 
spring, we encourage everyone to dress warm, prepared for sun, 
rain, or as is often the case.... snow! More information and 
registration forms can be downloaded from our website, Cost for students is $15, which 
includes a t-shirt, or $8 for no shirt. All proceeds go to providing 
scholarships for as many as 1 Arlee graduates of the class of 2006. We hope to see you there! 

February Reminders 

2005 GEAR UP graduate surveys were due January 13, 2006 for 1999 Grantees. 

Online student survey completion deadline was January 25, 2006. 

Winter Liaisons Meeting is January 31 — February 1 , 2006 in Helena. 

Essay contest submissions are due February 1st. For more information, contact Tina 

Wagner at (406) 444-0350 or twagner@mgslp. state. 

College Goal Sunday is February 12th, 2006. Check out for more information. 

The 2006 Title I Conference is February 14-16 in Billings. To register online, or for more information, visit Montana GEAR UP will sponsor up to three (3) from each GEAR UP 


GEAR UP Spring/Summer 2006 Professional Development Opportunities schedule is available on the 

GEAR UP website ( 

Spotlight articles for the March newsletter are due February 17th and can be sent to Cyrus Malkin at 

This newsletter can also be viewed on our website ( 

If you know of anyone who would like to receive this newsletter, send his or her information to Cyrus Malkin 


Free Admission to the Museum of the Rockies! 

For the first time ever, school groups from across the state of 
IVIontana will be admitted free to the Museum of the Rockies thanks 
to generous donations from individuals and corporations. The 
donated funds will also be used to establish a scholarship fund that 
will subsidize bus transportation costs that schools may incur. 

The Museum of the Rockies was founded in 1957, by Dr. Caroline 

McGill, a Butte physician, as her gift to all the people of Montana. It is 

committed to preserving and interpreting the natural and cultural 

history of the region. "We feel strongly that our exhibits and 

collections need to be accessible in order to educate children about 

their heritage," said Museum Dean Sheldon McKamey, "The museum 

is incredibly grateful to the donors that made this possible because free admission will make a visit to the museum 

far more feasible for schools," 

In order to take advantage of the free admission, schools simply have to call the museum's education office at 
(406) 994-6618 to make reservations. All trips for schools groups can include guided tours, planetarium shows, the 
living history farm, and the Lewis & Clark challenge course, but schools must prearrange which features of the 
museum they want to visit. 

Montana GEAR UP Note: Museum staff would love to host Montana GEAR UP schools, and they ask that they 
have three weeks' notice to set up a great visit. The museum is especially busy in May, so advance notice is very 
important if schools wish to visit in May. 

MIEA Spring Conference-March 30-April 2, 2006 

The Montana Indian Education Association celebrates 25 years at its Spring Conference on March 30- April 2, 
2006. Montana GEAR UP is proud to once again help sponsor this conference, entitled Creating Change, 
Eliminating Barriers, Building Successful Programs - 25 Years of Indian Education. Attending this year's 
conference will be a great way to celebrate the many positive changes in Indian Education. As stated in a recent 
memo from the MIEA Board of Directors, "We cannot nor should we forget our history - it is who we are and what 
sustains us in our work to give every Indian child the hope and opportunities for success. When we are united in 
this effort, we can make a difference." The MIEA 2006 conference will be held at the Billings Hotel and Convention 
Center. Montana GEAR UP will support up to four staff members from each of our schools to attend this 
conference. This support will include conference registration, mileage, per diem meals, and substitute teacher 
costs. For a list of other professional development opportunities supported by Montana GEAR UP, contact Linda 
Safty, School Grant Manager, at (406) 444-0848, or visit our website at 

Collejge Goal Sunday Reminder!! 

Don't forget about College Goal Sunday, February 12th, from 1 :00 to 4:00!! This is 
an excellent opportunity for your high school seniors (and early graduating 
juniors) to complete their Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FASFA). This 
year. College Goal Sunday will be offered in many locations accessible to GEAR 
UP schools, including the following: Flathead Valley Community College — 
Kalispell; Blackfeet Community College — Browning; Salish Kootenai College — 
Pablo; Carroll College— Helena; University of Montana— Missoula; MSU— 
Northern; MSU— Great Falls College of Technology; MSU— Billings; Little Big 
Horn College — Crow Agency; Chief Dull Knife College — Lame Deer; and others! 

Students can pre-register for College Goal Sunday online and find more 
information, including important information to bring, at, or 
you can call Libby Siebens at the Student Assistance Foundation at 
(406) 495-7392. 

Page 4 

Montana GEAR UP -February 2006 


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Montana GEAR UP Note: 

Last year, Box Elder student Ashley 
Haley was selected as a Youth 
Leadership Summit scholar. Ashley 
said she had a wonderful time, and 
Montana GEAR UP strongly 
encourages students entering 10th, 
11th, or 12th grade next year to 
submit an application. Best of luck! 

Booz I Allen [ Hamilton 

National Council 
for Community 

and Education 

In an effort to inolude student -centered perspectives and the 
opinions of youth in the education reform debate, tlie National 
Councii for Community and Education Partnerships and Booz 
Aiion iHamiiton inc. ( have joined togGthor to 
present the Youth Leadership Summit 2006 The Summit 
provides opportunities for high school students to participate 
in a wide range of activities at the NCCEP/GEAR UP Annuai 
Conference in Washington, DC from July 22-26, 2006, During 
the summit, the youth leaders will participate in a broad range 
of activities, including conference plenary sessions, student 
forums, and leadership development training. Their experience 
will culminate in the preparation and oral presentation of a 
report to be issued during the final luncheon plenary session of 
the conference. 

This year, 30 GEAR UP high school students and four 
alumni will be selected to participate in the 2006 Youth Lead- 
ership Summit. The competitive application process requires 
each youth applicant to submit an essay, formal appiicatton, 
academic transcripts, letters of reference, and a parental 
permission form. For additional information, please visit the 
NCCEP web site (www.edpartnerships,org), or contact Marie 
Hughes at (202) 530-1 135 or via e-mail at 

Montana GEAR UP 

Office of the Commissioner of 

Higher Education 

46 North Last Chance Gulch 

PO Box 203201 

Helena, MT 59620-3201 

Fax: (406) 444-0425 

Cal Boyle, OPI GEAR UP Specialist 

Kelly Hert, Federal Accountant 

Janice Kirkpatrick, Scholarship Coordinator 
444-063 8 , jkirkpatrick@mgslp . state . mt. us 

Cyrus Malkin, Administrative Associate 

Bruce Marks, MGSLP Director 
444-0351, bmarks@mgslp. state. 

Sandy Merdinger, GEAR UP Director 
444-03 1 7 , smerdinger@oche . montana. edu 

Andrea Rankin, Program Manager 

Linda Safty, School Grant Manager 

Tina Wagner, Financial Aid Outreach 

Annette Walstad, Program Manager 

Montana GEAR UP vi^ebsite: 
www . gearup . montana. edu 

Montana Guaranteed Student Loan 
Program website: 

National GEAR UP website: 

National Council for Community & 
Education Partnerships (NCCEP) site: 
www . edpartnerships . org/