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Professional Development Resources Professional Development

Description: is Tennessee’s online, one-stop shop for career, high school, college, and financial aid exploration and planning. By creating a free account on, students create academic plans, take career assessments, explore Tennessee postsecondary institutions, and research financial aid opportunities. professional development offers trainings across the state that focus on ways to use various college and career planning resources with their students in both classroom and individual or small group settings. Representatives are available to conduct presentations and trainings for educators throughout the state free of charge. To request to schedule a training, please fill out this Training Request Form or contact Kevin Edwards at

Ideal Team: Educators, Site Coordinators, Counselors


Below is a list of resources that GEAR UP TN has provided to site coordinators to develop their skills around college access and success. 

College Access-Focused Conferences

Tennessee College Access and Success Conference- (November) The annual Tennessee College Access & Success Conference brings college access and success professionals, educators, college admissions officers, business leaders, public service and community leaders from across Tennessee together to learn, share best practices and network.

Tennessee School Counselor and Administrator Leadership Institute- (September) Conference for Tennessee school counselors and administrators, focused on a number of education issues, including college access, academic preparation, and Tennessee-specific education policies.

National College Access Network Conference- (September) National conference focused on the latest resources for college access, best practices, and networking for college access and success professionals.

NCCEP Capacity Building- (February) Annual gathering for GEAR UP professionals to learn about best practices, grant requirements and resources, and meet other GEAR UP professionals.

NCCEP Annual Conference- (July) Annual conference for GEAR UP and college access professionals to share their work and learn about tools and resources for college access.


Prichard Committee – Authentic Parent Engagement

Description: The Prichard Committee has a twenty-eight-year history as a citizens’ education advocacy organization and a fifteen-year track record with the Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership (GCIPL) that trains, organizes, and supports parent leaders as informed, skilled partners to work with educators to improve schools.

Authentic Parent Engagement trainings are a train-the-trainer model for anyone working with parents to impact student achievement. This full day of training comes with a comprehensive manual full of information to use to engage parents, and covers the following:  parent involvement research and law, how to make parents welcome, understanding social assumptions and making families aware of what they can offer the school, and building home/school relationships.

Ideal Team: District/School Parent and Family Liaisons, Administrators, Office Staff, Anyone working directly to engage parents/families or have interaction with parents. 


ACT Preparation Training - TestDemystifier by Cambridge Education Services

Description: GEAR UP TN is partnering with Cambridge Education Services to offer two regional professional development sessions on ACT Preparation to up to 90 GEAR UP TN educators. Cambridge Educational Services partners with educators across the country to achieve educational advancement for all students. A leading innovator in education for over twenty years, Cambridge is the nation’s premier provider of school-based college and career preparation and supplemental curriculum services.

The TestDemystifier session trains educators to combine standardized testing instruction with daily classroom instruction. Educators will be able to: 1) teach test mechanics; 2) teach students how to distinguish high-value test items; and 3) incorporate powerful test-taking strategies into their curriculum. This training will provide resources for teachers and counselors to share with students and better prepare them for the ACT, which aligns with GEAR UP TN’s goal of increasing academic performance and preparation for postsecondary education for GEAR UP TN students.

Ideal Team: Site Coordinators, Guidance Counselors, Educators


SAS Curriculum Pathways

Description: SAS Curriculum Pathways is a free online tool available to educators to enhance classroom curriculum. The software is organized by grade, subject, and Common Core competency to allow teachers to easily utilize activities and visuals to supplement their lessons.

SAS Curriculum Pathways trainings are a train-the-trainer model. Following the training with the SAS representative, participants commit to host a SAS Curriculum Pathways training at their school where they will train educators in their community.

Ideal Team: Educators


Scholarship Success Educator Boot Camp

Description: Facilitator Kim Stezala, also known as the Scholarship Lady, is a scholarship expert whose mission is to connect the people who have the money with the people who need the money.

Scholarship Success trainings are a train-the-trainer model to help educators motivate students, keep them on task, and give them a competitive edge. Originally created for first-generation, low-income and under-represented students, other students find boot camp valuable, too. This training is an interactive, motivational youth development seminar – that happens to focus on scholarships. 

Ideal Team: Site Coordinators, Guidance Counselors, Educators


A Developmental Approach to College Access and Success

Description: Facilitator Mandy Savitz-Romer is director of the Prevention Science and Practice Program and a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

School administrators, counselors, and teachers working to increase students' college readiness find out what it takes to ensure that each and every student has the opportunity to aspire to, plan, and prepare for college success in this interactive workshop. Participants learn ways to engage students in planning for their own college success, generate meaningful support from families, and use data to track the success of college access programs.

Ideal Team: Site Coordinators, Guidance Counselors, Educators