GEAR UP 4 LA: Writing the City

As part of a new ongoing series and the newly formed California Partnership Initiative, a collaboration of GEA RUP Programs in California, we will be posting stories from other GEAR UP programs across the state.

From July 13th-17th, one of the amazing GEAR UP Partnership Projects in Los Angeles, GEAR UP 4 LA, sponsored a one week, field based writing workshop in partnership with Bard College Master of Arts in Teaching, with the goal to create better writers and prepare for the kind of writing valued in college.

Research shows that kids who graduate from HS and college participate in high impact practices one of which is participating in summer enrichment opportunities. This is what GEAR UP is all about. –Paula Crisostomo, Occidental College Assistant Dean of Students

Here is the breakdown:

Writing the City: Los Angeles

A one-week, field-based Writing Workshop in the dynamic city spaces of Los Angeles

“I’ve been all around the world and I haven’t found a city that I’d rather be from, or rather come back to, than Los Angeles.” –Ice Cube

What does exploring a city and writing have in common? How can you find your writing voice as you rediscover Los Angeles? Grab your notebook and come write with us.

This summer we are sending small teams out into Los Angeles–with pen, paper, and camera. The city will be our campus and inspiration. Together we will figure out makes writing so useful, important, and powerful. We will build on the writing you already do everyday—texts, posts, tweets, and email. We will help you expand your skills to communicate your ideas to others.

Our goal is to become better writers and prepare for the kind of writing valued in college. We will explore the place you call home with new perspectives. We will feed our curiosity through writing. We will discover how to use words to build out ideas and become more confident.

This five-day workshop is designed to get your moving through Los Angeles, energizing your summer, rewarding your creativity, making new friends, and kicking up your writing.

In preparation for college-level writing, you will be pursuing big questions:

  • What is real about Los Angeles and what is imagined?
  • How do Angelinos see this city differently than outsiders?
  • Can we see our city fairly?
  • How can writing about Los Angeles help others see our city more clearly?

Our week-long adventure begins at Heart of Los Angeles in the Rampart District; each day we explore different parts of the city and the arts–walking, observing, talking, and writing together:

  • Downtown L.A. • Mid-city & LACMA • Occidental College & East L.A. • Hollywood • Arts District

We will write on location–and along the way. We will write for fun–for ourselves and each other. We will write informally and we will write with purpose. We will write to discover our voice. We will write to have our voice heard. And together we will give L.A. a new song.

I wished it were longer. It opened my mind and that early on it was hard to write for even 10 minutes and now I write for 30 minutes. When I am done I say “I’m not done I have more to say “.

—-Writing in the City Participant.

For more pics and information about their experience check out the Writing the City LA Facebook page.

Students who participated in The Writing the City program this week were able to spend time walking around the city with the question “What is Los Angeles to you?”as their theme. They wrote in parks, on the train, at museums, and in public spaces such as Pershing Square and Olvera Street. The students got the chance to share their ideas and challenge themselves to think differently about the city they call home. At the end of the week they presented some of their work to their peers.  They all agreed that it was a great week; several wanted to keep going for another week.

— Kristin Didrickson, GU4LA Program Coordinator.

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Check out the websites for more information on California GEAR UP and GEAR UP 4 LA.

Free Community College Idea Catches On

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Article originates from Inside HigherEd.

President Obama’s push for free community college has yet to be shunted aside by the debt-free college ideas his aspiring Democratic successors are talking up.

Oregon now is poised to follow Tennessee as the second state with a plan on the books to provide free two-year college. And Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives introduced bills Wednesday that seek to make Obama’s federal proposal a reality. The proposed legislation lacks any Republican support, however, so the bills are unlikely to go anywhere.

Yet the Oregon Promise, which the Legislature passed last week and which Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, is expected to sign, is an indication that the concept of free community college has some momentum.

Mark Hass, a Democratic state senator in Oregon, proposed the legislation. It’s a last-dollar plan, which means the state will spend $10 million a year to fill in the tuition gaps that state and federal aid don’t cover. But eligible students also will receive a minimum grant of $1,000, which they can use for transportation, books and other expenses besides tuition (click here for a fact sheet about the plan).

Oregon also will spend a new $7 million on related student success and completion programs, which higher education leaders in the state called a much-needed and welcome move. The new money is part of a large funding boost for higher education in Oregon.

In his written testimony about the free community college bill, Hass argued that making community college free is a “bold, visionary” idea. It would help the 70,000 people in the state who are between the ages of 18 and 24 and have no job or higher education, he said, by better enabling them to enter the workforce.

The legislation could also direct more federal aid to the state, said Hass, by increasing community college enrollment and student applications for financial aid.

“We like to study things in Oregon. And for the last two years, we have been studying how to make this happen here,” Hass said. “Under the Obama administration, funding for Pell Grants has doubled. It would be smart for Oregon to take advantage of those dollars.”

The White House has said it wants to encourage a broad shift in the way state and local lawmakers, business leaders and the general public view community college. Given increasing demand for workers with at least a certificate or associate degree, the administration’s goal is for public funding to cover a K-14 education that is open to all.

“The president has put a stake in the ground to say education after high school should be a given, just as K-12 education is a civil right,” Martha Kanter, a professor of higher education at New York University and former U.S. under secretary of education, said in an interview with Inside Higher Ed a couple months ago. “It’s always been called a ‘promise,’ but for too many people the promise was not delivered.”

The Obama plan, which is dubbed America’s College Promise, has its critics. Some don’t like the strings that would come with the money. For example, the proposal includes unspecified federal performance indicators and a requirement that colleges adopt “evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes.”

To conservatives, the free community college program looks like a federal takeover of the two-year sector.

Bill Haslam, Tennessee’s Republican governor, who played a big role in creating the Tennessee Promise, has argued that state programs are a better way to go than a federal free community college plan. Backing that call has been Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who leads the Senate’s education committee.

But the Obama administration hasn’t let up at the state and local level, either. Kanter has helped lead what observers say is an administration-backed “full court press” to build support for a broad range of free community college plans.

Results are starting to emerge. The Community College of Philadelphia and Harper College, a two-year institution located in Illinois, recently announced tuition-free plans, joining one the City Colleges of Chicago created last year, which the White House has touted.

Likewise, Minnesota began a pilot program for free technical college, and Washington, D.C., is mulling a free community college plan. But Oregon is the first state to follow Tennessee by jumping in with a broad statewide program.

“It’s certainly a great opportunity for Oregon to help lead the way,” said Ben Cannon, executive director of the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

The big kahuna would be California and its 112 community colleges, which enroll 2.1 million students. Filling in the gap between state and federal aid also wouldn’t be a huge stretch in California, which is flush with tax revenue. And community college tuition in the state has long been relatively inexpensive.

Sources said conversations have occurred with California lawmakers and higher education officials about a free community college plan. But nothing has emerged yet.

New Features

Oregon’s legislation would cap spending on the free community college subsidy at $10 million a year. In contrast, Tennessee created a $360 million endowment to pay for the $34 million estimated annual cost of its plan, and to protect that stream of money from the vicissitudes of economic downturns and new lawmakers.

The Oregon plan won’t cover student demand, as lawmakers and community college officials acknowledge. But the bill includes features to cope with the shortfall, which have won praise from higher education experts.

The minimum $1,000 grant for each qualifying student, which the state’s Office of Student Access and Completion will administer, helps solve the problem of a free tuition plan — and additional state funding — that could benefit wealthier students rather than the neediest ones, who are more likely to qualify for Pell Grants and other aid.

“For a student who gets the full Pell, they’ll also get some money left over for books and living expenses,” said Andrea Henderson, executive director of the Oregon Community College Association.

Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, testified before the Oregon Legislature in February.

“This bill will benefit low- and moderate-income students in real and measurable ways — it will increase their rates of enrollment in college, boost their persistence and may also increase their graduation rates,” she said in her prepared statement. “Rigorous studies have shown that reducing the cost of community college by even $1,000 a year results in substantial increases across the board.”

As with the Tennessee Promise and Obama’s proposal, Oregon’s plan includes several eligibility requirements for students. They must be residents of the state for a year, hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, and have earned a high-school grade point average of at least 2.5.

Recipients of the grant must enroll in degree, transfer or career academic tracks at an Oregon community college within six months of graduating from high school. They can’t have earned more than 90 college credits, and must maintain a 2.5 GPA to remain eligible.

Students will be required to kick in a $50 per-term “co-pay.” The new state grants will cover the price of full-time, full-year community college tuition, which is about $4,900, minus whatever state and federal aid is received — with the minimum grant being $1,000.

Henderson said community college leaders had “grave concerns” about early versions of the free community college plan that began circulating in the statehouse two years ago. She said the first ideas to emerge were mandates for the state’s already underfunded community colleges to cut tuition.

Since then both the proposal and the state funding situation have improved, with Oregon’s community colleges receiving a 22 percent increase in their state contribution this biennium. Henderson said one key change in the bill is that the grant will be administered as part of the financial aid process rather than as a tuition discount.

“The colleges aren’t on the hook for a waiver,” she said.

Another big selling point for the bill is the accompanying $7 million Oregon ponied up to help recipients get to graduation. That money could go toward student coaching and counseling, said Cannon, as well as to college readiness programs in K-12 schools. (The funding has yet to be allocated, and the commission must propose to the Legislature how to spend it.) The state also will spend a new $1.5 million on college advising.

Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission will have flexibility under the free community college bill to direct money toward priority students.

“We’re unlikely to be able to serve the entire state,” Cannon said. But being able to target the money to certain high schools will help the commission ensure that it is helping a “cross section of Oregon,” including rural and urban districts and students that need the most help.

The Federal Version

Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress on Wednesday introduced legislation based on President Obama’s free community college proposal.

In unveiling the bill, which stands little chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said it would “build on the momentum we’re seeing across the country and across the political spectrum with local and state efforts to reduce the cost of community colleges and expand college affordability.”

Duncan cited Minnesota, Oregon, Harper College and the Community College of Philadelphia as examples of a “growing movement.”

As Obama proposed, the Congressional bill would create a matching grant where the feds would kick in $3 for every $1 participating states spend toward waiving community college tuition and fees for eligible students. It would a first-dollar program, meaning that tuition and fees would be waived before other forms of state and federal aid are applied.

The free community college legislation would cost $90 billion over the next decade, an increase from the $60 billion price tag the administration cited earlier this year.

Part of the legislation’s estimated $90 billion cost includes a proposal for a new $10 billion federal grant program for historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions. Under the bill, the federal government would pay the first two years of tuition and fees of low-income students who attend minority-serving institutions that enroll large numbers of low-income students.

The House version has 61 co-sponsors, all Democrats, while the Senate version has 10 Democratic co-sponsors.

“We strongly support structuring this program to support low-income Pell Grant students by preserving the availability of the award for full cost of attendance. This will allow students to borrow less, and potentially persist at a faster rate,” said Noah Brown, president and CEO of the Association of Community College Trustees, in a written statement. “Additionally, we support requirements that ensure states continue to invest in higher education.”

2015 GEAR UP National Conference: TIPS

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 July 19-22, 2015 San Francisco, California

The 2015 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference will take place July 19–22, 2015 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square in San Francisco, California.  The Annual Conference features five plenary sessions, approximately 135 concurrent sessions, and a variety of pre- and post-conference events.

Access the 2015 Annual Conference schedule-at-a-glance.

Access the 2015 Annual Conference Preliminary Conference Program (Upated 6-26-15; Subject to Change)

Go the the home page of the conference registration web site.

Access conference materials (PowerPoints, handouts, etc. if/as available).

Learn about the theme and highlights of the 2015 Annual Conference.

Learn more about pre- and post-conference workshops and special conference programs.

To register now, click here.

Hotel registration is also open.  To make reservations with the Hilton San Francisco Union Squareclick here.  Group Code is “GEA.”

If you have any questions about the registration, please contact Suzan Shimko.

If you have any questions about the Annual Conference program, please contact John Donaldson.

If you are interested in exhibiting or sponsoring, take a look at the Sponsor, Exhibitor, and Advertiser Prospectus or contact Betty Paugh-Ortiz.

Get the most out of the conference!

1) REFLECT ON YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS BEFORE YOU ATTEND

2) FOCUS ON VARIETY

3) READ THE CONFERENCE MATERIALS AND DO SOME PRELIMINARY PLANNING BEFORE YOU ATTEND

4) USE A TAG TEAM APPROACH TO ACCESSING CONCURRENT SESSIONS

5) PARTICIPATE

6) VENTURE INTO NEW TERRITORY

7) TAKE NOTES AND APPLY KEY LEARNING TO YOUR PRACTICE

8) ATTEND THE SOCIAL EVENTS

9) BRING CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS HOME

10) FOLLOW UP

#gearupworks 

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Better Together: 2015 California Teachers Summit

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The event is FREE to all California PreK-12 teachers and will be held at 33 locations from 8:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. To register for the free day of learning or to locate a host site, visit:

http://www.cateacherssummit.com

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Graduation Time is Here, Time to Save

 

Graduation is the Perfect Time to Think About the Future

Graduation season is here. Whether you have a child finishing kindergarten or high school, graduation is the perfect time to reflect and think about the future. Planning for college can be daunting at times, and that’s why graduation is a natural time to consider your options about saving for college, which may be just around the corner. ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan, offers families a tax-advantaged way to save early and help them ease the burden of rising tuition as well as provide some additional encouragement for that college-bound child in your life. Also, a great graduation gift could be one your graduate can’t unwrap, a contribution to a ScholarShare 529 account. Family members and friends can easily make a gift contribution to that special graduate’s college savings account.

ScholarShare is proud to be partners with GEAR UP, so we can work together to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college.

According to a 2013 survey by Hart Research Associates, 92% of parents considered getting a college degree worth it, but only 46% of parents have set up a dedicated savings or investment account for their child’s higher education costs. ScholarShare, recently awarded a Bronze metal rating by Morningstar, a prominent ratings agency, is administered by the state of California and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. Named for the section of the internal revenue code under which they were created, 529 plans offer families a tax-advantaged way to save for college.scholar

Some of the benefits of the ScholarShare plan include:

  • Accounts can be opened with as little as $25;
  • A wide variety of low-cost investment options are offered;
  • There are no annual account maintenance fees;
  • Potential earnings are tax-free if used for qualified higher education expenses such as tuition and fees, books and supplies, and certain room and board costs;
  • Funds may be used at eligible educational institutions nationwide, and some abroad;
  • Anyone can contribute to the account, making it a great gift idea for family and friends for special occasions.

To learn more or to open an account, visit www.scholarshare.com or call 1-800-544-5248. Like ScholarShare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scholarshare529 and follow us on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

Preparing for college academically and financially can help keep students on the path toward success.

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Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan. Please visit www.scholarshare.com for a Program Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully.

Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your Beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.

The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may also be subject to an additional 2.5% California tax on earnings. Investments in the Program are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss. The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan Twitter and Facebook pages are managed by the state of California. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Plan Manager

 

Site helps community college students find best online classes

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(from SF Gate article originally published here)

A website overhaul that makes it easier for community college students to know which online classes are best for their academic goals is the first tangible product of California’s $59 million push to make cyber college available for all.

State college officials unveiled the new website Monday, two years after lawmakers authorized spending the money over five years and made online education a key part of their plan to transform community college students from aimless course-takers into scholars with an eye toward university transfer.

The colleges offer thousands of online courses. But students complained that information they needed was often hard to find on the old site and that it couldn’t be used where they needed it the most: on their phones. Now it is.

“California may well be one of the largest providers of online education in the country,” said Brice Harris, the state’s community college chancellor. “We have a responsibility to make it good as we can and to provide support.”

The improved website — dubbed the “Virtual Campus” of the community colleges’ Online Education Initiative — is supposed to make it easy for students to find what they need from among more than 19,000 online courses offered at every level: community college, California State University, University of California, and even private schools.

But its main goal is to steer students toward the 2,500 classes that will earn them not merely an associate’s degree, but an associate’s degree “for transfer.” That degree premiered in 2013 and guarantees admission as a junior to CSU. The site “now provides search priorities that can be set for the associate degree for transfer,” said Steve Klein, program director of the Online Education Initiative.

Bold headlines — “Find your career path with an associate degree for transfer” or “Interested in guaranteed admission into a CSU?” — flash across the screen. But California has 2.1 million community students, and backing those promises up with enough courses to make it possible for all students to get the classes they need requires a huge amount of virtual assistance through online classes.

Online enrollment has more than doubled since 2005, from 13 percent to more than 29 percent this year, college officials said. That’s more than 650,000 students.

But the news isn’t all rosy.

Success in online courses is 11 to 14 percentage points lower than in traditional classrooms, says a 2014 study by the Public Policy Institute of California. The study looked at a wide range of students, subjects and colleges and found that students were less likely to complete online courses than those taken in the classroom, and were less likely to pass them.

Rather than give up, the college system — at the urging of Gov. Jerry Brown, a champion of online education — hopes to improve those outcomes. A new Public Policy Institute study with recommendations for the online effort is due out Tuesday.

A big reason students drop out is that they “don’t know what they’re getting into,” said Pat James, executive director of the online education initiative, who has taught online for years. “Very often they think it’s going to be easier. But you have to be self-motivated.”

One student who is self-motivated is Cristina Puente, 18, of Davis who has just graduated from high school and community college at the same time. Puente took all of her college courses online through Foothill Community College and will be a junior at UCLA this fall.

“A family friend who is savvy and technically smart worked alongside me” to sign up for the right courses, she said. “Without her, it would have been more challenging.” The new website, Puente said, “is a tool, like having a counselor. I think that’s wonderful.”

James and Klein said the next step in the online education initiative is to train instructors to do a better job, and to help students learn how to be students in the virtual world, where no one is there to welcome them with an open door and a clock on the wall to say that class is starting.

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Many blacks in educational limbo, some college credit, no degree

From LA Times June 2, 2015

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Ida Marie Briggs, shown at Cal State Long Beach, enrolled in community college as a young woman, but family and work kept her from earning a degree. Now, at 58, she’s about to re-enter school at Cal State Long Beach in the fall, determined to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology.  (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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Earning a college degree has eluded Ida Marie Briggs for nearly 40 years.

Growing up the eldest of seven in a poor New Jersey household, she wasn’t able to accept a scholarship at a local university because of family responsibilities. Out on her own, she went to work, relocated to California and raised two children.

There were fits and starts over the decades: She enrolled in community college, attended a fashion and design school, and a San Fernando Valley business college that lost accreditation and cost Briggs time and money.

Her experience mirrors that of a population beginning to receive more attention from academic experts and colleges themselves: African Americans who have some college training but never made it to graduation. Their challenges are important because many would likely fill higher-wage jobs if they attained a degree.

In California and around the nation, campus-based programs have sprung up to coax many of these adults to re-enter college. These efforts, however, face a number of hurdles, including a lack of awareness that a degree may be within reach, limited financial resources and inadequate outreach and support services, according to a recent report by the nonprofit Campaign for College Opportunity.

About a third of black adults in California — 385,250 — have some college education but no degree, the highest rate of any racial or ethnic group, according to the report. Overall, about 4.5 million California adults never completed their studies.

There is no statewide strategy to help those who want to return to school, nor adequate funding for programs, said Michele Siqueiros, president of the advocacy group.

“The numbers are pretty stunning,” Siqueiros said. “We should be incentivizing adults interested in finishing and earning those degrees to come back. Not all will, but this is low-hanging fruit. Growing capacity, though, is going to require additional funding from the state.”

Under budget proposals by Gov. Jerry Brown, state funding for the University of California, Cal State and community colleges has increased this year. The 2015-16 plan calls for the three higher education systems to ease transfer policies, boost basic skills instruction and improve graduation rates — particularly for low-income and minority students.

Many of those goals may help re-entry students, but no specific funds are targeted to that group. And both UC and Cal State officials have complained that the budget plan doesn’t provide funding needed to increase enrollment.

The problems are not confined to California.

Nationally, enrollment of older, nontraditional students (adults 25 and over) is expected to grow more than twice as fast as for younger students in coming years, according to a recent report by the Center for Law and Social Policy.

But many financial aid and transfer policies are not keeping pace. A survey of the nation’s largest state-funded financial aid programs by the Education Commission of the States found that 33 of them link eligibility to the SAT and other college entrance exams, high school GPAs or other measures geared toward recent graduates. Many programs fund only full-time students, leaving out adults who may need to attend part time.

In California, the availability of Cal Grants dips steeply for students who don’t apply within a year of graduating from high school, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

Additionally, many colleges and universities may not accept credits previously earned at other institutions, through online programs or for military training or work experience and may require students to take pre-college courses. Such policies could have a disproportionate impact on African Americans, who typically are heavily recruited by for-profit institutions and may end up with huge debt.

Many experts believe that the role of adult re-entry students may loom large in efforts to substantially increase the ranks of degree holders needed to bolster the nation’s workforce and economy, an agenda being pressed by President Obama and nonprofit organizations such as the Lumina Foundation.

“Unfortunately, this group is not at the top of anybody’s priority,” said Christina Sedney, project coordinator for the Adult College Completion Network.

“We need to think of ways to make coming back as efficient as possible for nontraditional students,” Johnson said. “Both UC and CSU are increasingly offering more online courses, and that will help. All of these are incremental changes but incremental changes in the right direction and necessary to help close some of those gaps.”

A program at UC Berkeley includes a course that helps re-entering students connect with each other. Many are low-income, underrepresented students who’ve had little experience at a competitive research-oriented institution such as Cal, said Ron Williams, director of Re-entry Student and Veteran Services at the campus.

Their life experiences and maturity may even be a “selling point” in the competitive admissions process, he said, adding that “it does set them apart from other applicants.”

Cal State Long Beach is actively recruiting African Americans to complete their degrees, with counseling, academic support and help with financial aid, said Bruce Vancil, assistant director for transfer and re-entry services.

Briggs attended a recent luncheon meeting of the African American initiative in Long Beach, which landed her in Vancil’s office to determine her prospects and whether her previous credits can be transferred.

At 58, she hopes to enroll at the Long Beach campus in the fall, determined to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Being unable to complete her education after high school had always been a big regret, Briggs said.

“Now I understand that I got accepted once and can get accepted again,” she said.

Twitter author: @CarlaRiveraLat

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GEAR UP Regional Leadership Forums Make Strides

 

Developed to meet the diverse and complex needs of California GEAR UP middle schools, the 2015 Spring Regional Leadership Events provide a forum for school teams to problem solve together and learn from each other about school practices, challenges and solutions.  The events were designed to build on the progress made at the Fall events and were facilitated by Whole School Services Coaches with content designed to respond to the needs of each unique middle school community in their region. Activities were customized to engage and support participating schools within each region aligned with target areas of growth identified in the School Self Assessment Rubric.

Goals of the Regional Leadership Events:

  • Develop and expand working, cohesive school teams;
  • Share and reflect on leadership and approaches for developing leadership;
  • Network to share smart practices and opportunities for continued regional work;
  • Reflect on progress in building a sustainable college-going culture using the SSAR;
  • Use data to identify and address challenges to access and equity for All students;
  • Develop implementation plans for of GEAR UP partner resources and services;
  • Complete the PDAP and Communication Plan.


Below is the complete regional events report including attendees, content areas, presenters, and locations.

2014 Regional Institutes: 360 participants; 15 counties, 29 school districts, and 1 charter school were served

Title: North State Regional Collaborative                                                           October 15 & 16, 2014
GEAR UP Coach: Brad Trimble                                                                         Number of Participants: 55
Focus: Support and engage students transitioning to high school.
Presenters: Brandon Santiago (YouthSpeaks), Mark Cerutti—Assistant Superintendent (Elk Grove USD).
Region: North State                                                                                           Counties: Tehama and Shasta
Districts: Red Bluff, Antelope Elementary, Happy Valley Union Elementary, Richfield Elementary, and Gateway.

Title: 2014 Bay Area Regional Learning Institute                                             October 7 & 8, 2014
GEAR UP Coach: Michele Molitor                                                                    Number of Participants: 60
Focus: Achieving social justice and equity through Common Core strategies to ignite student success.
Presenters:
Tovi C. Scruggs, Principal, San Lorenzo High School, and Alice Kawazoe.
Region: Bay Area                                             Counties: Alameda, San Francisco, Solano, and Contra Costa
Districts: San Lorenzo, San Francisco, Vallejo, and West Contra Costa.

Title: 2014 Southern California Regional Institute                               September 30-October 1, 2014
GEAR UP Coaches: Mary Unverferth and Barbara Sedano                   Number of Participants: 105
Focus: Advancing Equity and Access for ALL Students through High Quality Teaching
Presenters: Robert Kaplinsky (Glenrock Consulting), Bruce Arnold and Mary Sirody (MDTP).
Region: Southern California                                                         Counties: San Bernardino and Los Angeles
Districts: Long Beach, Los Angeles, Mountain View, Palmdale, Rialto, San Gabriel, Baldwin Park, San Bernardino, Hacienda La Puente; Charter: The Accelerated School.

Title: 2014 Riverside Regional, GEAR UP Round-Up                                                September 30, 2014

GEAR UP Coach: Jon Sides                                                                                   Number of Participants: 55
Focus: GEAR UP Leadership Team progress & connecting with the School Self-Assessment Rubric (SSAR).
Presenters: Jon Sides
Region: Riverside                                                               Counties: Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino
Districts: Moreno Valley, Azusa, Los Angeles, and Upland.

Title: Central Valley Regional Institute 2014                                                                    October 1, 2014
GEAR UP Coach: Martin De Mucha Flores                                                     Number of Participants: 45
Focus: Developing the “Why?” in Leadership and Cohesive Teams to influence school change.
Presenters: Encarnacion Ruiz—Director of Admissions (UC Merced); Raul Moreno—Coordinator (CSU Fresno, University Migrant Services), Sharon Twitty, Robyn Fisher, & Martin De Mucha Flores.
Region: Central Valley                                                                       Counties: Fresno, Stanislaus, and Tulare
Districts: Caruthers, Empire Union, Parlier, Pleasant View, and Raisin City Elementary.  

Title: ELA Differentiated Instruction                                                                                October 15, 2014
GEAR UP Coach: Frank Holmes                                                                         Number of Participants: 40
Focus: Strategies in English — Differentiated instruction in middle school Language Arts.
Presenters: Lynne Lertzman (the College Board).
Region: San Diego                                                                                                   County: San Diego County
Districts: Oceanside and San Diego County.

 
2015 Regional Forums: 318 participants; 12 counties, 21 school districts, and 1 charter school were served

Title: Southern California Regional                                                                                        March 6, 2015
GEAR UP Coaches: Mary Unverferth, Barbara Sedano & Frank Holmes        Number of Participants: 132
Focus: Engaging GEAR UP Schools in their continued work of achieving the conditions on the SSAR.
Presenters: James Kass (YouthSpeaks), Carole Gallagher (WestEd), Julie Mendoza (CAIC), and ScholarShare.
Regions: Southern California & San Diego   Counties: San Bernardino and Los Angeles, San Diego County
Districts: Long Beach, Los Angeles, Mountain View, Palmdale, Rialto, San Gabriel, Baldwin Park, San Bernardino, Hacienda La Puente, Oceanside and San Diego County.

Title: 2015 Bay Area Learning Forum                                                                                    April 15, 2015
GEAR UP Coach: Michele Molitor                                                                    Number of Participants: 66
Focus:
Enhancing student engagement and building community.
Presenters: Vicki Rice, Cloteal Thrower-Herron, Carlene Davis (CEP), Mildred Gains & Joe Lara (PIQE), Patrice Hill (YouthSpeaks), Tyrone Weaver (Samuel Jackman Middle School), ScholarShare.
Region: Bay Area                                             Counties: Alameda, San Francisco, Solano, and Contra Costa
Districts: San Lorenzo, San Francisco, Vallejo, and West Contra Costa.

Title: Elk Grove/Sacramento Regional Leadership Forum                                              March 25, 2015
GEAR UP Coach: Jill Campbell                                                                          Number of Participants: 60
Focus: The purpose and value of building strong community for all students.
Presenters: Kadhir Rajagopal (Grant Union High School), Jay King, Tyrone Weaver (Samuel Jackman Middle School), Alice Kawazoe, and ScholarShare.
Region: Elk Grove/Sacramento                                                                  Counties: Sacramento and Amador
Districts: Elk Grove and Twin Rivers.

Title: GEAR UP Spring Symposium                                                                                 _____May 15, 2015
GEAR UP Coach: Jon Sides                                                                                 Number of Participants: 60
Focus: Foster care system—resources and tools to support foster youth in Riverside County.
Presenters: Tamera Trotter (Child Protective Services), Alyssa Heckmann (Guardian Scholars, UCR), Christopher Dech (Advisor Student Support, Moreno Valley College), Julie Orozco (EAOP, Cal State San Bernardino), Bruce Petersen (Riverside County, Office of Education & Student Programs) and Cedric De Visser (Upland Unified Child Welfare and Former Principal at Upland Junior High School).
Region: Riverside                                                         Counties: Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino
Districts: Moreno Valley, Azusa, Los Angeles, and Upland.

Big takeaways: The exchange of ideas, events, projects, etc. as a result of the “reflecting on the past” exercise has been mentioned a number of times.  One (GEAR UP) site contact returned to school and, using her notes, immediately drafted a memo of implementation listing ideas to share with the rest of her staff.  The group-alike breakout sessions gave teachers, administrators, counselors and out of classroom advisers a chance to share job specific experiences in building a college-going culture.  The regional event provided an opportunity for participants to work collaboratively and function as a learning community.

 Jon Sides-California GEAR UP School Services Coach

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The mission of California GEAR UP is to develop and sustain the organizational capacity of middle schools to prepare all students for high school and higher education through a statewide network of support for adults who influence middle school students, specifically their counselors, faculty, school leaders and families. As a result of this expanded capacity, a higher proportion of students, particularly from backgrounds and communities that have not historically pursued a college education, will enroll and succeed in higher education. California GEAR UP is a program of the University of California Office of The President Education Partnerships department and has served whole school communities across the state since 1999.

The State of Higher Education in California: Black Report

Black Report

In the newest report from The Campaign for College Opportunity, The State of Higher Education in California – Black Report  is being released today. California is home to the fifth largest Black population in the nation, and while the research has some good news – more Black adults today have a high school diploma and college degree than in the past there is also disheartening findings. Black high school students are still less likely to graduate from high school and when they do, less likely to have completed the college preparatory curriculum needed for admission to the University of California and California State University systems compared to other major racial/ethnic groups. Black students who do make it to college are the most likely to be placed into pre-college level coursework, the least likely to graduate from college, and the most likely to enroll in for-profit colleges – some of which have traditionally poor rates of student success and high tuition costs and student debt levels.

Inadequate high school preparation, a broken college remedial education system, and significant funding cuts to the state’s public colleges and universities all play a major role in the ability of Black students to both enroll in and complete college.

A few key findings from the report:

  • Only 23 percent of working-age Blacks in California have bachelor’s degrees, compared to 42 percent of their White counterparts.
  • One-third of Black adults aged 25-64 attended college but earned no degree.
  • Black undergraduates are underrepresented at four-year public and private, nonprofit universities and overrepresented at California Community Colleges and For-Profit colleges.
  • Only 37% of Black students earned a degree, certificate or transferred after six years from a California community college.
  • Only 37% of Black students who started at the California State University system as freshman will complete after six years.
  • At least 2/3 of Black applicants were denied admission to six of the University of California’s nine undergraduate campuses.

In addition to the recommendations listed in our report, they have highlighted the work of two San Diego State University professors who launched the Minority Male Community College Collaborative and created free assessment tools that community colleges can use to inform strategies to increase the success rates of Black students. You can access the new report, infographic, press release and the profile using the link.

Please save the date for the upcoming webinar on Thursday, June 18 at 10:30am where they will discuss the key findings of both the Latino and Black report.

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Celebrate 529 College Savings Day May 29

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Celebrate 529 College Savings Day with ScholarShare’s Special One-Day Match Promotion

Our valued partner, ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan, knows saving for college can be overwhelming. Often parents don’t know where to start; they might believe there’s nothing they can do to prepare enough. At ScholarShare, they believe in education, and in California families. That’s why on National 529 College Savings Day on May 29, 2015, they are offering to anyone who opens a new ScholarShare account with at least $50 (and sets up automatic contributions of at least $25 per month), a match of $50. You start it, they match it.  For details on this special one-day promotion including the complete Terms and Conditions, visit www.scholarshare.com/529day. By saving early and often, your little one (soon to be big) could have a nice little nest egg. It’s true, paying for all of college with your 529 may not be possible but you can make it happen to cover books, room and board, or other qualified higher education expenses. A 529 can be part of your larger “paying for college” family strategy. Every little bit helps.

According to a 2013 survey by Hart Research Associates, 92% of parents considered getting a college degree worth it, but only 46% of parents have set up a dedicated savings or investment account for their child’s higher education costs. ScholarShare, recently awarded a Bronze metal rating by Morningstar, a prominent ratings agency, is administered by the state of California and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. Named for the section of the internal revenue code under which they were created, 529 plans offer families a tax-advantaged way to save for college.

Some of the benefits of the ScholarShare plan include:

  • Accounts can be opened with as little as $25.
  • A wide variety of low-cost investment options are offered.
  • There are no annual account maintenance fees.
  • Potential earnings are tax-free if used for qualified higher education expenses such as tuition and fees, books and supplies, and certain room and board costs.
  • Funds may be used at eligible educational institutions nationwide, and some abroad.
  • Anyone can contribute to the account, making it a great gift idea for family and friends.

 To learn more or to open an account, visit www.scholarshare.com or call 1-800-544-5248. Like ScholarShare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scholarshare529 and follow us on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

ScholarShare is proud to partner with California GEAR-UP, so we can work together to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college. Preparing for college academically and financially can help keep students on the path toward success.

 Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan. Please visit www.scholarshare.com for a Program Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully.

Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your Beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.

The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may also be subject to an additional 2.5% California tax on earnings.

Investments in the Program are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss.

The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan Twitter and Facebook pages are managed by the state of California. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Plan Manager

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