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Watauga County Schools GEAR UP




Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a discretionary grant funded through the United States Department of Education designed to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. 

The mission of the GEAR UP NC Appalachian Partnership initiative is to accelerate the academic achievement of middle and secondary school students in 11 Western North Carolina counties including Watauga, so that increasing numbers will graduate from high school and enroll and succeed in postsecondary education. 

 Watauga County Schools GEAR UP supports students in planning their postsecondary path by providing enriching opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

Who do we serve? 

8th grade students at Bethel, Cove Creek, Green Valley and Mabel Schools. Additionally,  GEAR UP will serves all 9th - 11th grade students at Watauga High School and Watauga Innovation Academy.  

How do we support students, teachers and families in Watauga County? 

  • Academic intervention and enrichment services
  • Personal and career counseling 
  • Mentoring 
  • Educational field trips 
  • Summer enrichment programs 
  • Leadership development 
  • Family events 
  • Parent workshops covering topic such as 'How to pay for college'
  • Professional development for educators 

For more information regarding GEAR UP NC Appalachian Partnership, please visit:

Phone: 828.773.1948


Degrees and Certifications:

Master of Arts in Professional School Counseling Appalachian State University Bachelor of Arts in Psychology North Carolina State University NCC-National Certified Counselor

Ms. Laura Turner

Welcome to Watauga County Schools GEAR UP! As your students' GEAR UP Coordinator, I assist you and your students with planning their postsecondary path. 

College. Dream It. Plan It. Do It.