Students listening to a career presentation.


Rolanda Deshield
Equity Specialist (Palmer Lake, Birch Grove and Oak View elementary schools)
(763) 315-9767


Get Ready

Course Description:

Get Ready/GEAR UP Minnesota is an early intervention college awareness program administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Their vision is college and career success for all Minnesotans. Their mission is to get underrepresented students to college and through their post-secondary pursuits. They achieve this by providing college and career programming, engaging in community outreach, and creating systemic change in education. The core values that they recognize in their program are equity and inclusion, innovation, empowerment, collaboration and integrity.


The Get Ready Program began in late 1995 in response to conclusions of a study conducted by the Wilder Research Foundation in 1994. The findings of the study emphasized the importance of disseminating accurate information to students and equipping them with the necessary tools to interpret it. The study concluded that students and parents should be provided: information at an early age (elementary school years) in order to broaden their options in thinking about post-high school education and careers; opportunities to explore first hand and experience various education and career areas; and publications available in non-English languages.


The Get Ready program is primarily funded through a federal GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is the state grantee for GEAR UP. The agency originally secured a GEAR UP competitive five-year grant in 1999 to establish the Get Ready program in Minnesota. The program is currently in its third grant cycle that ends in August 2017. Get Ready recently submitted a grant application to continue their work but with a strengthened focus on systems-level change.


The Get Ready program has its own set of curriculum that is taught in the school by Osseo Area Schools equity staff. The curriculum was developed in a collaborative effort with the Get Ready program. The work was created by committee with members of the grade level staff, evaluation team members and administrators with a knowledge of the historical context of the program. Objectives were established based on research driven practices in college and career knowledge acquisition, academic preparedness and personal identity. Lessons were then developed with those objectives in mind.


This curriculum aims to challenge students to understand the importance of higher education through a variety of exercises covering identity, exploring high school, colleges and careers. We want "college and career success for all Minnesotans," and we feel that these interconnected exercises are steps towards achieving our mission, vision, and core values.

Searching for identity can be an amazing experience and for many students, finding their identity can be a struggle. Identity continues to play a big role throughout a student's high school and college years. Get Ready hops to help broaden students' decision-making capacity and have them consider their identity in their career, high school and college search. A lot can happen in high school and college. Get Ready feels it is their job as educators to teach and prepare students socially and academically for what milestones to adulthood are ahead of them. By allowing students to connect identity with high school, college and careers, it is hoped that they make well informed and confident decisions for their future. The curriculum nurtures the students to get a glimpse of their future selves and to know that they have the power of choice in all the steps along the way.


The purpose of this portfolio is to showcase students' progress over the course of a year in the Get Ready program. They will be able to identify their work around career, college and academic performance and show proficient organizational skills. The portfolio will be a project under construction during the course of the school year culminating into a collection of student work, thoughts and reflections. It keeps them in tune to what is going on in the Get Ready classroom each lesson by connecting each program component to the next stop and eventually to their final project. The portfolio is a terrific resource to provide a summary of what they discovered about themselves and what they learned during the school year.

Objectives of Portfolio

  1. The student will connect their identity with their personal path to college.
  2. The student will be able to draw connections between their high school experience and future aspirations.
  3. The student will be able to identify their next steps to future self.

College Visit: Students end the program each year by visiting a college or a University.

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