The Waterbury GEAR UP program is currently enrolling for the summer component of its year-round college-readiness program. All students entering seventh or eighth grade in Waterbury public schools in fall 2013 are eligible to participate but space is limited. Approximately 500 student slots remain open as of Fri., April 5.

Although all Waterbury students in this age group are considered GEAR UP students, parents are encouraged to enroll their students through the GEAR UP office in their child’s school in order to take advantage of all in-school and after-school services offered throughout the academic year. According to David Celotto, GEAR UP coordinator, about 1,200 students enrolled in the program in 2012-13 and there is space to double participation in 2013-14.

Part of this growth will extend naturally from the expansion of the GEAR UP program into all of Waterbury’s public schools. Originally, the grant was written to include North End, West Side and Wallace middle schools only, but Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary and School Superintendent Kathleen Ouellette have worked to extend the program into Waterbury’s K-8 schools as well.

“Superintendent Ouellette and I worked hard to make the GEAR UP program available to all students in this age group because we believe in the opportunity it provides,” said Mayor O’Leary. “All of our studies point to college readiness as a critical indicator of a person’s success. We’re proud to say we offer this program to all of our city’s sixth and seventh grade students and hope parents will encourage their children to keep the learning momentum going over the summer.”

Students who enroll will be bused to either North End or West Side Middle School from 8:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. five days a week from June 24 to August 2. The program is a full six-week commitment in which students will participate in rigorous math, science and English classes in the morning followed by workforce and job training classes in the afternoon such as public speaking, business, accounting, debate and nutrition. Social activities and weekly field trips are also included. Breakfast and lunch will be served daily at each site.

“I am delighted that we have this wonderful opportunity to collaborate with our middle schools,” said Naugatuck Valley Community College President Daisy Cocco De Filippis. The College oversees the GEAR UP program through its Bridge to College Office.

“I am a firm believer that a twenty-first century education requires preparation in math, science and language arts,” said President De Filippis. “It is essential to use the time in middle school to prepare our children to take an algebra course, a science lab course and a literature course in the classics when they enter ninth grade.”

Applications for the summer institute are currently being distributed by GEAR UP staff in schools and should be returned to GEAR UP site coordinators. The applications will be reviewed and decisions on acceptance will be made by late April or early May. The GEAR UP summer institute will follow all Waterbury Board of Education conduct policies including those relating to dress code.

For more information, call David Celotto at 203-575-8007, contact a GEAR UP representative at your child’s middle school or visit and search “gear up”.

The summer institute is also seeking teachers in a variety of subjects. Email<