Valley High School Celebrates National GEAR UP Day

The Valley High School-California GEAR UP Collaborative celebrated National GEAR UP Day today with a business and community leaders breakfast. Attendees listened to testimonials from students representing various organizations across the school, including the student body president, AVID students, athletes, and Leadership Skill Initiative students who are all college bound thanks in part to California GEAR UP. Students had this to share:

“Benefits of hard work are evident and GEAR UP showed us that.”

“GEAR UP and AVID helped us to become financially literate.”

“GEAR UP Leadership Skills Initiative taught us how to go from teenagers trying to do to young adults doing.”

“Our teachers listen to us and that makes all the difference in our success.”

Principal Keven MacDonald was eager to share how GEAR UP has helped shape perceptions at Valley of college access and academic excellence for all students. His enthusiasm was in part due to the Valley-GEAR UP partnership that has contributed to recent achievements in API and school ranking.

Superintendent Dr. Steven Ladd addressed the crowd, again celebrating the many acheivements at Valley and the contribution of California GEAR UP. Here are some excerpts:

“GEAR UP Looked at our students and saw greatness.”

“The leadership of GEAR UP and Shelley Davis in this partnership has contributed to much of the success at Valley.”

Other folks gathered at the celebration included GEAR UP Partner and former WNBA star Ruthie Bolton who mentors in the Leadership Skills Initiative students, Tina Penna, Associate Superintendent of Secondary Education, Paul Burke, Jackman Middle School Principal, Penny Edgert Principal Investigator, California GEAR UP, Executive Director, California Education Roundtable, and Timoteo Rico, Director, EAOP UC Davis.

National GEAR UP Day is a celebration of transformative work of California GEAR UP and the 68 partnership projects have impacted over 1/3 of the 1200 middle schools in California, with the State grant serving over 236,000 students in 260 schools in 106 school districts in 25 counties since 1999.

National GEAR UP Day celebrates students, families and school communities across the United States and beyond. The occasion marks more than ten years of support from Congressional, State and local leaders and recognizes our collaborative efforts to close achievement and opportunity gaps for ALL students.” ~Shelley Davis, California GEAR UP Director.

For more pictures of the event and the Valley High School College Door Decorating Contest, checkout our Facebook page here.

Students to Celebrate National GEAR UP Day with Nick Cannon

Nick Cannon and NCredible Entertainment will kick off National GEAR UP Day at Santa Ana College (SAC) to promote the importance of college attendance and academic achievement among more than 400 intermediate and high school students from the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD).  SAC and SAUSD, in concert with the University of California at Irvine (UCI), Latino Health Access and the Delhi Community Center, form the Santa Ana GEAR UP Partnership, which has reached more than 20,000 students since 1999 at six intermediate and four high schools with critical messages and resources to urge academic scholarship, high school graduation and increase the college-going rate from our community.

The event will include an inspiration address by Nick Cannon, whose personal mission includes inspiring teens to pursue their dreams and obtain an education.  His presentation will be followed by a live performance featuring NCredible Entertainment and other celebrities.

The celebration will include speakers such as:

To view the full press release and more detailed information, please go HERE:

Valley High School Ready for National GEAR UP Day


Valley High School is finishing preparations for their second annual National GEAR UP Day celebration to be held on September 30. Activities include:

  • Business and Community Leaders Breakfast starting at 8:00 am.
  • Campus tours and classroom visits
  • Lunch-time Student activities and performances
  • An opportunity to network with business and community leaders, families, and educators.

National GEAR UP Day is a celebration of transformative work of California GEAR UP – Valley High School Collaboration that includes dramatic gains in the statewide API, the opening of a Family Center, distribution of 100 Education Trust Awards, the implementation of a Leadership Skills Initiative, as well as on-going school-wide academic support.

Confirmed attendees include:

For information on this event or to attend, please contact Deisy Padilla:DPadilla@egusd.net

Continue to follow events across the state as we cover National GEAR UP Day across California.

Valley High Hosts Historically Black College Fair

On Saturday September 18 Valley High School hosted the 11th annual Historically Black College Fair.  Attending students were able to:

  • On the spot admissions and Scholarships
  • Application Fee Waived for Many Colleges
  • Face to face contact with official college admission representatives
  • Exposure to many Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs)
  • Assistance and information regarding SAT and ACT college admission tests

The event was sponsored by Nehemiah Corporation of America and New Faze Development, Inc, California GEAR UP, Valley High School and in partnership with United Black Student Unions of California, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, The Alpha Academy, Greater Sacramento Urban League, Sacramento Observer, KCI Media Corporation.

In the late 19th century, colleges for black students were started in box cars (Atlanta University) and church basements (Spelman College). Mary McLeod Bethune, one of the nation’s foremost black educators, opened a college in 1904 with $1.50 and 5 students. Today, there are 106 historically black colleges and universities in the United States, who can count among their graduates such luminaries as W. E. B. Du Bois (Fisk University), Thurgood Marshall (Lincoln University and Howard University), Toni Morrison (Howard University), and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Morehouse College). Read more HERE.

To view additional photos please visit our Facebook page HERE.

Waiting for Superman in Theaters this Weekend

Click here if you can’t see the imbedded trailer above.

Some are calling Davis Guggenheim’s new film “Waiting for Superman” education’s “An Inconvenient Truth“. The new film is bound to be controversial as it is being characterized as supporting everything from ‘corporatizing education‘ to the argument that education failures perpetuate societal ills, from national security and crime to poverty, and that it’s essential to “change the odds” for families who can’t afford private educations.

From the clips available online to those shared on Oprah this week, the documentary promises to be interesting, provocative and heart-wrenching, if a bit simplistic. It’s difficult to make a mainstream film about public education in America that captures the complexities of the system (and without putting people to sleep). But the central theme — the charter school admissions lottery — seems to imply that charter schools are the only ticket out for poor and working-class kids, as though neighborhood schools were something of a lost cause, will be the controversial topic for viewers.

Hopefully the movie will spark meaningful debate that will continue the push for equitable education for ALL students.

It opens this weekend and we will be very interested to hear from our readers what they thought of it.

National GEAR UP Day Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

California GEAR UP Celebrates National GEAR UP Day

September 20, 2010 – California GEAR UP announced today the celebration of the Second Annual National GEAR UP Day, commemorating 11 years of success for the program on September 30, 2010GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) was enacted as part of the 1998 Higher Education Act to give more low-income students the skills, encouragement, and preparation to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. In the last ten years, GEAR UP distributed more than $3 billion to nearly 12 million students across the country.

This year schools across California will once again celebrate National GEAR UP Day the entire week of September 27 and will host a kick-off event at their schools. Last year more than fifty California GEAR UP schools celebrated by:

  • Valley High School press conference that included Superintendent Jack O’Connell and Assembly Member Alyson Huber
  • Proclamation in San Francisco from Mayor Gavin Newsom
  • Letter of Recognition from author of GEAR UP Congressman Chaka Fattah
  • Schools displaying student’s ‘college dreams wall’ in their school
  • Teachers hosting community success story luncheons with elected officials.

National GEAR UP Day is a celebration of transformative work of California GEAR UP and the 68 partnership projects have impacted over 1/3 of the 1200 middle schools in California, with the State grant serving over 236,000 students in 260 schools in 106 school districts in 25 counties since 1999.

National GEAR UP Day celebrates students, families and school communities across the United States and beyond. The occasion marks more than ten years of support from Congressional, State and local leaders and recognizes our collaborative efforts to close achievement and opportunity gaps for ALL students.” ~Shelley Davis, California GEAR UP Director.

Please see attached list of celebrating California GEAR UP schools. We invite you to visit our amazing GEAR UP schools in your area. For more information on National GEAR UP Day or a GEAR UP school near you, please contact:

Sean K. Brennan, Communications Director: sean.brennan@ucop.edu, 415-948-9262 or Shelley Davis, Director: Shelley.Davis@ucop.edu (916) 551-1757.  Follow events across the state at: www.castategearup.org/blog.

Congressman Chaka Fattah to speak at NCAN Conference

National College Access Network (NCAN) announced Congressman Fattah as the featured speaker for the Awards of Excellence Luncheon on Monday, October 11, 2010.

Congressman Fattah, Representative for the 2nd District of Pennsylvania, is completing his 16th year in the U. S. House of Representatives.  He also serves as chair of the Congressional Urban Caucus and member of the House Appropriations Committee addressing the unique challenges of America’s urban communities and setting spending priorities of federal discretionary funds.

An early advocate for college access, Congressman Fattah is the architect for GEAR UP.  In the last ten years, GEAR UP distributed more than $3 billion to nearly 12 million students across the country.  He was also a chief sponsor of the American Opportunity Tax Credit Act, which provides tax credits for college expenses for students and their parents.  On a state level, he is the creator of the College Opportunity Resources for Education (CORE) initiative and founder of the Graduate Opportunity Initiative.

Before his election to United States Congress in 1994, Congressman Fattah served six years as a Representative in the Pennsylvania State House followed by six years as a Pennsylvania State Senator.  He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including 10 honorary doctorates and the University of Pennsylvania’s Fel’s Center of Government Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.  Time Magazine named him one of the 50 most promising leaders in the country.

You may also remember our post about Congressman Fattah during the GEAR UP National Conference this year. If you don’t, check out the video of the Congressman talking to our director Shelley Davis HERE.

For more information on the conference and to register, please visit the NCAN website.

Cal State Early Assessment Programs Shows Gains

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell today issued the following statement regarding the latest results of the voluntary Early Assessment Program (EAP) tests that were recently released by the California State University (CSU):

“The CSU’s Early Assessment Program (EAP) test results show a five-percentage-point increase in the number of California students in grade eleven who demonstrated that they are on track to be college ready in English upon graduation from high school,” O’Connell said. “This is the first significant increase in this indicator in five years of testing.”

A total of 378,870 students completed the 2010 EAP test in English, with 21 percent of these students being deemed “ready for college” compared to 16 percent in 2009. In mathematics, 57 percent of the 178,667 students who took the 2010 EAP test demonstrated full or conditional college readiness.

Created in 2006, the EAP is a collaborative effort between the CSU, the California Department of Education, and the California State Board of Education to ensure that the state’s college-bound high school seniors are college ready in the critically important content areas of English and mathematics. As part of the EAP, the CSU’s placement standards are incorporated into the California Standards Test in English-language arts for grade eleven and the CST in mathematics taken by grade eleven students who are enrolled in or who already have completed Algebra II.

For more information check out the press release here and the CSU site here.

U.S. Asks Educators to Reinvent Student Tests

In the NY Times this weekend was an interesting article on a national overhaul in standardized tests. Over the next four years, two groups of states, 44 in all including California, will get $330 million to work with hundreds of university professors and testing experts to design a series of new tests that officials say will look completely different from those in use today.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the tests will look for higher order thinking skills and be computer based.

“The use of smarter technology in assessments,” Mr. Duncan said, “makes it possible to assess students by asking them to design products of experiments, to manipulate parameters, run tests and record data.”

The assessments are being redesigned to align with the common core academic standards that nearly 40 states have recently adopted.

Check out the complete article here.