Celebrate National GEAR UP Day in California

Dear GEAR UP Supporters,

National GEAR UP Week is next week!

Here is Congressman Fattah’s official invitation and an update on our National GEAR UP week schedule.

It’s critical that next week be a national celebration of GEAR UP, with activities at sites across the country demonstrating the value of our programs and the support they have in our communities. Please let me know as soon as you can if you can do one of the six focus activities.  We have a team of people here ready to help you make your GEAR UP Week activity a success.

As a reminder, GEAR UP Week focus activities are:

  • Post a GEAR UP Dreams Wall – butcher paper for your students to post their dreams and goals
  • Host a celebration event
  • Host a lunchtime celebration at school
  • Write and send letters to your Members of Congress
  • Sign and deliver an oversized thank you card to your Congressperson’s district office
  • Create a GEAR UP Chain of paper links representing the students and families you serve

And here’s our master planning schedule for the week:

Monday, October 24th – NATIONAL GEAR UP WEEK BEGINS!

  • Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Congressman Fattah usher us in with a video message. (Stay tuned for a link – note that it will be available all week.)
  • NCCEP’s National GEAR UP Online Week Call to Action launches: 1000 emails and 100 calls to Members of Congress in support of college access.
  • Puerto Rico GEAR UP’s Dream Wall activity begins
  • Is your action on Monday? Let us know and we’ll list it and help promote it!

Tuesday, October 25th

  • National GEAR UP Week actions across the country
  • Is your action on Tuesday? Let us know and we’ll list it and help promote it!

Wednesday, October 26th

  • National GEAR UP Week actions across the country
  • Is your action on Wednesday? Let us know and we’ll list it and help promote it!

Thursday, October 27th

  • National GEAR UP Week actions across the country
  • Is your action on Thursday? Let us know and we’ll list it and help promote it!

Friday, October 28th

  • National GEAR UP Actions across the country
  • Is your action on Friday? Let us know and we’ll list it and help promote it!

National GEAR UP Week is all about celebrating GEAR UP and all of the hard work you and your team does to help your community of students get into college and succeed. Let us know how you plan to participate.  We’ll be there to help every step of the way.

If you are celebrating in California, email us and tell us what you are doing: sean.brennan@ucop.edu

Study: Math Diagnostic Increases Test Scores

The California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) highlighted a new report released by the Public Policy Institute of California that measures the effectiveness of the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP) as a tool to improve student learning. The MDTP is used throughout the state in California GEAR UP Schools.

“The MDTP is a prime example of inter-segmental work of K-12, community college, UC and CSU faculty in developing tools for secondary classroom teachers to help improve student learning,” said from Andrea Ball, Statewide Director of the California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP). “MDTP’s diagnostic approach is appreciated by educators for its high quality and concordance with the common core standards. PPIC’s report is extremely timely and useful to educators in the field.”

CAPP is an inter-segmental program administered by the California State University whose work combines on-the-ground efforts to improve teaching and learning in secondary schools with research to identify effective practices and share what we learn with educators and policymakers.

MDTP is a joint statewide project of the California State University and The University of California. MDTP develops, distributes, scores, and reports the results of diagnostic tests that measure student readiness for mathematics courses ranging from Prealgebra to Calculus. Diagnosing a student’s mathematical strengths and weaknesses helps teachers focus on areas needing review to increase students’ chances of success in mathematics, better prepares students for further study in mathematics, and keeps open many career paths.

The PPIC report on MDTP was prepared by Dr. Julian Betts, chair of the department of economics at the University of California, San Diego. As part of its ongoing work to improve the quality of secondary education so that all students are prepared for successful postsecondary education, CAPP provides support to the Math Diagnostic Testing Project’s work with K-12 schools. CAPP is also supporting additional research, survey and interview work by Dr. Betts on the use of MDTP in the San Diego Unified School District.

The PPIC report and Dr. Betts’ additional CAPP-supported research delve into specific ways teachers use the diagnostic information from MDTP results to adjust their instruction to meet students’ needs. CAPP’s goal in supporting this work is to identify opportunities to expand professional learning so that MDTP becomes a more valuable resource for classroom teachers, students, schools and districts.

“MDTP offers teachers timely and detailed feedback about what their students know, don’t know, and misunderstand about essential mathematics content required for success in their course,” said Bruce Arnold, the director of MDTP. “Teachers can adapt their instruction and modify learning activities based on this diagnostic data.”

CAPP supports MDTP’s services to California’s K-12 schools. CAPP’s newest grant program will incorporate the use of MDTP with collaborative learning communities of middle and high school teachers to develop common formative assessments so that teachers can immediately learn and then address students’ needs. CAPP also supports the use of MDTP materials and services by university and college outreach programs.  For more information on MDTP see http://mdtp.ucsd.edu.

Apply Now: Become a California GEAR UP School

The time has finally come to apply to become a member of an elite group: A California GEAR UP Middle School.

California GEAR UP supports middle schools in developing a self-sustaining college-going culture for ALL students. The program serves whole schools through the adults that have the greatest impact on student life and experience: the principals, teachers, counselors, families and community leaders. GEAR UP resources, strategies and interventions are implemented by School Leadership Teams and guided by a school-based, six-year plan.

Selected California GEAR UP school teams commit to strong academic programming and a cohesive college and career readiness curriculum, beginning at the middle school and connecting with area high schools and local postsecondary institutions. GEAR UP provides a network of support and professional development activities to integrate a college-going culture into school site reform efforts.

Following a six-month Planning Phase in 2012, schools are selected to participate in the program fromJanuary 2012 – August 2017.


Schools are expected to:

  • Have a minimum of 51% of students on the federal free & reduced price lunch program.
  • Complete and return this application by Monday December 12, 2011, signed by the principal and district superintendent.
  • Commit to strengthening and continuously improving the school’s college-going culture for ALL students.
  • Participate in Planning Phase activities (Jan. 2012—May 2012): GEAR UP Program Orientation, a one-day planning session at a centrally located site, and conduct GEAR UP planning and information sessions within your school community.
  • Convene the GEAR UP Leadership Team of up to 8 members (principal, site contact, counselor, 2 teachers, a parent representative, and key community partner).
  • Commit to the GEAR UP Leadership Team and the training provided by California GEAR UP.
  • Devise and focus on the Professional Development Action Plan (PDAP) annually.
  • Submit survey and evaluation data to the GEAR UP Program Evaluator annually by March 1.
  • Develop a procedure for student selection and recognition for Education Trust Award (ETA) recipients.


  • November 9, 15, 29, 2011: Technical Assistance Days
  • December 12, 2011: Last day to submit program application
  • January 13, 2012: Schools are notified whether or not they have been selected for the planning phase
  • January 2012—May 2012: Planning Phase
  • January 27—February 29, 2012: School-site Orientations
  • March 14, 21, 28, 2012: Off-site planning sessions
  • May 21, 2012: Schools will be notified of their final selection to the 6-year California GEAR UP Program

To apply, download the PDF application HERE. Download the Microsoft Word document HERE.


Please submit the completed application by Monday, December 12, 2011, to

California GEAR UP

Attn:Ms. Blaze Farrar,

Fax (510) 587-6354 Telephone (510) 587-6129, Email: Blaze.Farrar@ucop.edu


For further information contact the California GEAR UP office at (510) 987-9137 or (916) 551-1757. Or email Gina Rodriguez Cynthia.Rodriguez@ucop.edu or Blaze Farrar Blaze.Farrar@ucop.edu.