Parents of Marietta Middle School students are asked to attend GEAR UP Family Night on Monday, October 14 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium.

Middle School Counselor Jan Hayes will be offering parents information that is vital to their children’s future.

“Parents need to understand that they can’t wait until April of their child’s senior year to get ready for life after high school,” Hayes said. “They need to start now, gathering information and planning.”

GEAR UP grants are awarded to help schools increase preparation for higher education and careers, increase graduation and college enrollment rates, and increase students’ and families’ knowledge of higher education options, preparation, and financing.

For participating schools, GEAR UP offers college campus visits, college readiness family events, mentoring and professional development, among other services.

Hayes will also be talking with parents about post-secondary education choices and why it’s important for students to seek some type of education after public school. She will present information about the cost of college and financial planning for those expenses.

“Marietta’s eighth grade students will take the Pre-ACT on Novmber 7,” said Hayes. “This is an important step in planning for college, but not our first step, as they have already created an account on and completed a career interest survey.”

Oklahoma’s Promise, a state-funded program that offers qualified Oklahoma students an opportunity to earn a scholarship for college tuition, will be another topic of discussion. Hayes will be speaking about the requirements for the program and giving parents advice about applying. Parents will also hear about 529 savings plans for education expenses.

Perhaps most importantly, Hayes will be giving all parents in attendance a Student Career Development Checklist, a tool that can be used to keep students on track from their middle school years all the way through high school graduation and beyond.

“Students need their parents’ involvement in all steps of their education,” said Hayes, “but beginning the middle and high school years are when really important decisions are being made.”

If you have questions about Monday night’s meeting, contact the Middle School at (580) 276-3886.