Partnered with Fenton Area Public Schools


Who We are

GearUp Academy is a nontraditional public high school which focuses on helping disconnected youth in the area obtain a diploma and meaningful employment. We provide opportunities for students to cultivate a growth mindset and develop the social and emotional skills needed to succeed. The target population served by GearUp Academy are at-risk youths 15-18, low to moderate income, who are not currently engaged in high school or work. 

How it works

Our program is a part of Fenton Area Public schools, and so the district helps us provide the tools necessary to help our students find success in their education goals, as well as their professional goals. 


Student attendance requirements are contingent upon whether or not they're meeting their weekly academic goals. If the student reaches their goal for the previous week they are only required to come Monday through Thursday 9 am to Noon. However if they fail to meet their academic goals for the previous week they are required to attend Monday through Friday 9 am to 3 pm. Juniors and Seniors only have to attend the morning session on days they are scheduled to work. 


Each student will meet each week with a staff member in order to review their progress, and plan strategies that will aid them in their journey to success in their education. 


Students will also collaborate with local professionals and community leaders to enhance life skills and entrepreneurial skills. This goal is accomplished by both offsite field trips, as well as workshops or talks by local business owners and other various guest speakers. 


Program Pathways


GearUp students begin each school year by developing the skills needed to recognize and solve problems in their communities. After identifying problems, they tackle the problems either by changing policy through civic engagement or by creating a business model that takes advantage of the opportunity, or a combination of the two (ie. socially responsible business). If students choose a problem that falls into the civic track, they will follow the Project Citizen Program.


Project Citizen is an interdisciplinary curricular program that promotes competent and responsible participation in local and state government. The program helps participants learn how to monitor and influence public policy. In the process, they develop support for democratic values and principles, tolerance, and feelings of political potency.


Working together, students first identify a problem in their community, after which they research the problem, evaluate alternative solutions, develop a solution in the form of a public policy, and create a political action plan to enlist local or state authorities to adopt their proposed policy. Participants develop a portfolio of their work and present their project in a public hearing, with the intent of influencing officials to adopt their policy proposal.


Students who pick a problem that can be solved in the marketplace will follow the Entrepreneurship Education / Business Startup track. This track will equip students to seek out problem-solving opportunities, think creatively, take risks, make mistakes, and appreciate the relationship between hard work and success.


Young people are looking for ways to make a difference. Entrepreneurs, by definition, want to make a difference. In the business sense, entrepreneurs seek to solve problems, meet needs, and ease pain or difficulty as a means of selling products or services. In the social sense, entrepreneurs seek to solve problems because ideas and solutions can impact the lives of human beings. Either way, students trained in entrepreneurship education enter the world not only trained to identify problems, but also determined to solve problems, meet needs, and make the world a better place.


GearUp Academy is a program run by GearUp2Lead

GearUp2Lead is a Flint based nonprofit that helps people transform their mindsets from defeatist to determined through the understanding and practice of the GEAR concepts: Growth mindset, Empathy, Action and Responsibility.

Partnered with Peckham

Peckham Youth Services provides cutting edge vocational programming to high school aged students. Peckham staff specialize in helping students in supporting youth who face barriers to employment. As students navigate through the career readiness curriculum they gain skills necessary for a smooth transition to the world of work. Ultimately students earn the opportunity to be placed in the community to work and master employable skills, as well as the opportunity to gain industry recognized credentials to aid with an easy transition from school to work. 


Our Students

The ideal GearUp student is one who flourishes in a non-traditional learning environment. Our students take an active role in their learning and are able to self-pace to maintain growth. Since our classes are online based, we stress the importance of time management and responsibility for one's progress. 

"GearUp Academy was a great experience for multiple reasons.  The first reason being as I was able to graduate a year early because I could work at my own pace.  Secondly, the academy taught me a lot of responsibility and provided me a college like experience which I will benefit from as I go into my freshmen year.  Lastly, we were able to volunteer and help in ways in the community that other students aren't able to do.  We also became a really tight knit group of leaders."


James was part of GearUp Academy's first cohort, and the first student to graduate and earn their high school diploma.  James was able to complete two years worth of work in just one year.  He will be attending the University of Michigan Flint campus in the fall and studying engineering.