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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Portland Public Schools has received a seven-year federal grant for $10.9 million to expand services to prepare students for college and careers.

The funding will go toward students, families and teachers in the Jefferson, Madison and Roosevelt attendance areas.

The grant is part of the U.S. Department of Education’s GEAR UP – Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs – initiative.

PPS will receive more than $1.5 million per year. PPS alumni from participating high schools will be hired to serve as college advocate mentors.

The program is intended to help students starting in sixth grade, with a particular focus on historically underserved populations.

It will give students opportunities for advanced coursework, to earn college credit and to participate in Career Pathways and CTE (Career & Technical Education) programs, according to administrators.

In addition, the grant will allow PPS to develop data collection tools and processes that utilize student voice and out-of-classroom factors. The data will be used to create assessment and teaching methods, and curriculum that incorporates student voice and life experiences.

The grant, in collaboration with Portland State University, Unite Oregon, Portland Community College, Campus Compact of Oregon and Parent Teacher Home Visits, will also help teachers form partnerships with parents through voluntary home visits designed to build trust and collaborative relationships, according to PPS.

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