ESC Region 12
News & Announcements
As Global Pandemic Forces Schools to Rely on Tech, Area School Districts Receive Over $60,000 in Technology Integration Grants

Technology Grant Winners


WACO, Texas - During a global pandemic that has revealed the necessity of the foundation's mission, Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12 Technology Foundation board members presented over $60,000 in technology grant awards to eight fortunate school districts via Zoom this week. While the board and ESC staff typically team up to surprise technology grant winners in person every spring, closures and restrictions due to the pandemic delayed award notices.

"While we always enjoy surprising the teachers and students with these grants in person, we are following in the steps of educators, using technology to make these award presentations exciting and memorable", Dr. Jerry Maze, ESC Region 12 Executive Director said. "We continue to be amazed at the creative, innovative methods that educators come up with to use technology as a tool for instruction that is enticing, relevant and meaningful to their learners." 

"The work of our foundation would not be possible without our donors, which include Gravely Attorneys & Counselors, Alliance Bank of Central Texas and our very own staff."


China Spring ISD's Elementary School received $10,000 to fund their project, "Brining Tech to Rec," which will utilize an indoor protection system to create a digital interactive playground.

Corsicana ISD's Collins Intermediate School received $4,694 for "MaKey Makeying Vocabulary Instruction Easy" by providing teachers and students with hands-on, interactive content that can be accessed on-demand.

Hill County Shared Services Arrangement (SSA) and member districts (Abbott ISD, Aquilla ISD, Covington ISD, Bynum ISD, Gholson ISD, Hubbard ISD, Itasca ISD, Malone ISD, Mount Calm ISD, Penelope ISD, Whitney ISD) received $10,000 for their project "Assistive Technology (AT) Makerspace." The awarded funds will be used to expand the AT Lab in order to provide custom-made AT devices that will increase functional capabilities and help maintain least restrictive environments for special education students.

Hillsboro ISD’s Elementary School received $10,000 to increase information retention through their project, "Fusing Academic Gaps with Osmos," which will provide activities to stimulate multiple areas of the brain.

Killeen ISD's Richard E. Cavazos Elementary School received $1,999 to integrate 3D printing into the curriculum, "Making Design Thinkers and Problem Solvers in 3D" by offering a hands-on approach to prepare students for life and work in the digital era.

La Vega ISD's 4th - 12th grade received $9,300 to expand STEM thinking while "Learning to Fly" through a variety of engaging hands-on applications.

Rapoport Academy Pre-K and Meyer High School received $9,996 to "Design, Animate, Read" an illustrated book and animated videos to help develop cross-communication between high school and Pre-K students and staff.

Waco ISD's Kendrick Elementary School received $4,758 to fund their project, "iLearn by OSMOsis," which will provide students with hands-on technology opportunities that will increase higher-level critical thinking skills through problem solving and object manipulation.

Including these eight grants, the ESC Region 12 Technology Foundation, has awarded nearly $461,200 to school districts and charter schools, serving 18,630 students in Central Texas. To learn more about our foundation and donors visit our website.

Find photos here.

ESC Region 12 Celebrates National GEAR UP Week, City of Waco Issues Proclamation

National GEAR UP Week Logo


WACO, Texas - GEAR UP programs across central Texas announced their participation in National GEAR UP Week 2020, while Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver issued a proclamation declaring September 21-25, 2020 as GEAR UP week. This week commemorates the continuing success of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), a college access program providing students and families the support and resources they need for college success. Since its inception in 1999, GEAR UP has improved educational outcomes for millions of low-income, minority and disadvantaged students across the United States, including the more than 6000 students that are currently served by 19 districts in seven counties across Region 12.

To kick off the week, students from all 19 districts will watch a virtual keynote from “America’s #1 Youth Motivator,” Jonathan Medina. For the remainder of National GEAR UP week, each campus site will hold their own individual events to celebrate with their students and families.

Below are some highlights of virtual events happening across Region 12. For more information about ESC Region 12’s GEAR UP programs, or any individual district or campus program, please contact Sheila Anderson, To learn more about the national GEAR UP program, please contact the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships at 202-530-1135 or



Mart High School: College T Shirt/ Color Day, Career Readiness Lessons- Week long activities in the 8th grade career cruising class where students participate in lessons that cover attitude, interpersonal skills, exploring careers, overcoming obstacles and positive identity.  

Offering CoolSpeak teachers', parents', and students' live sessions, Teacher introduction/advice slide presentation and interactive Padlet for the students on schoology. Teacher guided-student conversation starters

Teachers share college stories on Monday; Announcements each day with college facts and trivia; Passing out GEAR UP supplies on Tuesday; Coolspeak virtual workshops on Schoology Wednesday; Virtual dreamboard on Thursday; College T-shirt day on Friday

Hillsboro Junior High: 
College T-Shirt Day; Virtual College Tour- Angelo State University & Quiz; Financial Choices Game during College and follow up activity
Early College HS:
Teachers share college story/experience with classes, Letter to my future self, Virtual Dream Board (College, Career, Goal this year), College T-Shirt Day

Virtual college visit, job shadowing interview and a career assessment in Virtual Job Shadow. 

Temple High School:
College Vine Virtual College tours- Students register and can choose from a variety of colleges to virtually visit; Spirit Dress up days; GEAR UP Bingo During Lunches

Whitney ISD:
Monday: College Bound Google Scavenger Hunt Each period of each day teachers will post a clue, the students will have access to a Google survey to submit a guess throughout the day as to what college the clue refers, a prize will be given at the end of the day to the first student to submit the correct guess. This will continue throughout the week.
Tuesday: Virtual Job Shadowing; Wednesday: Dress for Success Day
Thursday: Dress Like Your Favorite Teacher Day

Virtual College Tour of Angelo State; Payback Game-Financial literacy game that shows students the cost of what college may cost depend on their choices.; Soft Skills Video/Lesson; Virtual Job Shadowing Activity

La Vega High School:
Teacher interviews about their college and career experiences, and classroom visits with the College & Career instructor (GU resources give-a-ways)

Blooming Grove:
Each day we will hit a popular college that the students are interested in with college facts over school announcements; Dreamcatcher College Goal setting activity.; Promoting TACRA virtual college fair to all students

Mexia ISD:
Thank you notes to congress and GEAR UP student display "My plans for the future."



About ESC Region 12’s GEAR UP 
GEAR UP is a cohort grant that serves students in McLennan, Bell, Freestone, Coryell, Hill, Limestone and Navarro Counties. GEAR UP is designed to help young Americans stay in school, develop good study skills and take the right courses to go to college. A partnership funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is administered in Central Texas by ESC Region 12 to give qualifying students the skills, encouragement and preparation to pursue a college education. Focusing on early intervention beginning in middle school, the program serves students as they progress through middle and high school. Nineteen districts in Region 12 are participating in the grant activities.

About Education Service Center Region 12
Education Service Center Region 12 focuses on helping schools save money and leverage resources into the classroom. One of 20 regional education service centers statewide, ESC Region 12 offers training and expert assistance to educators and school personnel in order to increase student achievement. ESC Region 12 offers effective, economical programs and services through professional development, expert assistance, direct services and alternative educator certification. Based in Waco, ESC Region 12 serves 76 school districts, 10 charters and private/parochial schools in Bell, Bosque, Coryell, Falls, Freestone, Hamilton, Hill, Lampasas, Limestone, McLennan, Mills and Navarro counties.