Valley High School has College-Going Class

cohort gym

“This is very good news.  The most important point for future planning, in both student and school-based services, is the anecdotal observation of the impact of school-wide support.  School-wide engagement over multiple years is key to the commitment needed from all to make real change. Congratulations!”

Don Watson, Ed.D, Watson Education Services

Valley High School,  a California GEAR UP school, is hitting it’s stride this year. Valley High was recently awarded the Bronze Medal from US News and World Report, ranking them among the elite schools in the country.

In addition, this week Valley learned that they have steadily increased the percentage of seniors who have met their A-G requirements, thus making them college ready. The data also puts them among the top schools in the Elk Grove School District who are preparing their students for college using the A-G standards.

As a California GEAR UP School, Valley receives services from a team of GEAR UP professionals whose mission is to create a College-Going Culture throughout the school. This is achieved through a combination of direct students services, family engagement and support, whole school services, and a unique Leadership Skills Initiative cohort and curriculum. It is through a strategic whole-school approach to academic excellence and college access that California GEAR UP has been a key factor in Valley High School’s recent success.

For additional information on California GEAR UP, please visit our website.

Porter Middle School GEAR UP College and Career Day

Porter Middle School in Granada Hills, CA celebrated GEAR UP College and Career Day by holding a door decoration contest and a lunchtime activity called ‘College Knowledge’.

Special Thanks to Leadership Class at Porter and Mrs. Perry!

GEAR UP: 10 Years of Making a Difference

California GEAR UP Celebrates 10 Years of creating college-going culture across the state of California. Our partner organization, National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, produced a great video highlighting the success of the last 10 years and laying out GEAR UP plan for the future.

Watch the video here:


Arne Duncan: Don’t accept the status quo.

Arne Duncan CHI

Arne Duncan was on Los Angles on Tuesday, Decmeber 9, 2009. This was also the day that LAUSD announced the takeover of Fremont High School in South LA.

Of the takeover, Arne Duncan said “I’m very hopeful. . . . I couldn’t be more impressed with the commitment, the sense of urgency, and the lack of complacency or acceptance of the status quo.”

You can listen to the entire interview on NPR here.

Duncan, a huge supporter of GEAR UP, mentions the ability to challenge the status quo in numerous interviews and in the language used to describe the importance in fundamentally changing how we do business in our public schools.

California GEAR UP was designed to work with schools to help them reflect on school culture and continually challenge the status quo to meet the needs of students. Having courageous conversations is an integral element to shifting school culture towards success.

We would like to here about how you are challenging the status quo in your school or community. Send us comments and feedback below.

College Culture Sustainability: Maywood Middle School

Maywood Middle School showed off why they are one of our Continuing Sustainability Schools during a visit last week. They held a College and Career Fair door decorating contest that included:

  • career field
  • occupations (minimum of 4)
  • names of colleges, universities, technical training schools
  • programs offered by school for each occupation

Students also participated in a Tri-Fold Poster contest that displayed the following:

Left Side of tri-fold:

  1. Training
  2. Colleges
  3. Prgrams

Center of tri-fold:

  1. Occupation
  2. What it is?
  3. What you do?
  4. Type of postions
  5. Where you work?

Right Side of tri-fold:

  1. Forcast of jobs in the future
  2. Salaries

Sites that might be helpful are and

Thanks for sharing Maywood. Great work!!

What types of activities do you do at your school to promote a college-going culture?

Tincher GEAR UP Has High Expectations

California GEAR UP school Tincher Preparatory recently completed their Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) family program. California GEAR UP provides PIQE to all of their schools to engage families in the college access initiatives already going on as part of being a GEAR UP school. PIQE provides a nine week coursework that teaches families about college, financial aid, student advocacy, and positive education community activism. Upon completion of the coursework, families celebrate with an awards dinner where certificates are presented to families that guarantee a place in a CSU school as long as they meet the schools admission requirements.

See the article here in the Press Telegram of Long Beach.

Caroline Alquitela holds her 11-month-old son, Miles McNaught, as she receives a Parent Education certificate from Tincher Preparatory School in Long Beach from school principal William Vogel. (Steven Georges/Press-Telegram)
Caroline Alquitela holds her 11-month-old son, Miles McNaught, as she receives a Parent Education certificate from Tincher Preparatory School in Long Beach from school principal William Vogel. (Steven Georges/Press-Telegram)

To learn more about California GEAR UP partnership and services including PIQE, please visit our website.

California GEAR UP announces ‘Building Bridges’ Event

California GEAR UP presents ‘Building Bridges’, a partnership with local school districts and Sacramento State University to bring Valley High Students together with Oakridge Elementary school students to Sac State for a unique and engaging day of activities. This event is part of a shadowing program in which the elementary students shadow the high school students to increase their awareness for both high school and college.



California GEAR UP presents “Building Bridges” event with Valley High School, Oakridge Elementary, and Sacramento State University

December 4, 2009

WHO: California GEAR UP, Elk Grove Unified School District, Sacramento City School District, Valley High School, Oakridge Elementary School, Sacramento State University.

WHAT: Oakridge Elementary Students will be shadowing Valley High School GEAR UP students to Sacramento State University for a full campus tour, college awareness events, and lunch. Oakridge students have previously shadowed Valley students in their high school classes during a visit to the school earlier in the year. This unique event is a culminating activity to support the idea that it is never too early to start planning for and thinking about college.

With the motto “Academic Excellence and College Access for ALL students” California GEAR UP promotes the creation of a college-going culture throughout schools across the state. The Valley High School GEAR UP program represents a strategic partnership with Elk Grove Unified in creating this school-wide culture while collaborating to address the Achievement Gap.

WHEN: Friday, December 4, 2009

9:00-9:30 am:                          Valley students pick up Oakridge Elementary students
9:30-10:00 am:                        Oakridge and Valley Students transported to CSUS

10:00-10:30 am:                      Arrive at CSU Sacramento students will have snack
10:30-11:30 am:                      Tour of CSU Sacramento
11:30-12:00 pm:                      Scavenger hunt
12:00-1:00 pm:                        Have lunch at CSU Sacramento

1:00-1:30pm:                           Tour of residence hall
1:30-2:00 pm:                          Students will board bus to return back to their schools
2:00-2:30 pm:                          Oakridge students will be dropped off at Oakridge
2:30-3:00 pm:                          Valley High students will be dropped off at Valley High
Media inquiries can be directed to:

Elizabeth Graswich, Communications Director, Elk Grove Unified School District:, 916-686-7732. Sean K. Brennan, California GEAR UP Communications Director:, 415-948-9262.