Planning Phase Schools Collaborate In Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa, CA–California GEAR UP Leadership Team gathered in Costa Mesa, CA today to kick off the planning phase of a 6 year plan to create a college going culture at their school. Teams will learn more about tools and resources provided by California GEAR UP and collaborate with each other on successful strategies to introduce GEAR UP information into the school wide community.

California GEAR UP schools 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.

Forty-six middle schools will be selected to receive support developing a college-going culture through professional development, engagement of families and communities, counseling support, partner services and resources for the six-year grant period.

The purpose 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.

To view the planning phase presentation from the Glendale Workshop, please click here.

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

Planning Phase Workshops Get Underway in Berkeley

 

California GEAR UP Leadership Team gathered in Berkeley today to kick off the planning phase of a 6 year plan to create a college going culture at their school. Teams will learn more about tools and resources provided by California GEAR UP and collaborate with each other on successful strategies to introduce GEAR UP information into the school wide community.

California GEAR UP schools 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.

Forty-six middle schools will be selected to receive support developing a college-going culture through professional development, engagement of families and communities, counseling support, partner services and resources for the six-year grant period.

The purpose 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.

To view the planning phase presentation from the Glendale Workshop, please click here.

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

Torlakson: Task Force to Expand Use of Classroom Technology

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the creation of the Education Technology Task Force to recommend how to bring 21st century tools into California’s classrooms to improve teaching and learning.

In creating the 48-member Task Force, Torlakson said he recognized the severe financial limitations currently facing schools, but was establishing the group now so that a plan for making better use of technology would be ready when more resources were available.

“Technology is changing nearly every aspect of our lives. But in California—home to Silicon Valley and the world’s leading technology companies—many schools have been all but left out of the technology revolution,” Torlakson said. “If we’re serious about providing our students a world-class education, we need a plan that leaves no school and no child offline.”

Torlakson also discussed the Task Force during the annual Computer-Using Educators Conference held over the weekend in Palm Springs.

The all-volunteer, unpaid Task Force is comprised of teachers, administrators, technology directors, local and county superintendents, school board members, parents, researchers, policy advocates, and foundation/community members from around the state.

The Task Force will work in groups led by facilitators to explore education technology in five key areas—learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity.

Members will assess the state’s current education technology infrastructure and identify gaps between the current National Education Technology Plan and California’s most recent plan, which was approved in 2005. The group also will assess future needs and recommend how to improve teaching, learning, and equal access to technology for all students.

Creation of the Task Force was among the goals set out in the Blueprint for Great Schools, a report on the future of education in California prepared for Torlakson by his Transition Advisory Team, a group of nearly 60 parents, teachers, and business and community leaders.

The Blueprint calls for incorporating one-to-one technology as a key component of teaching, learning, and assessment that supports high levels of literacy, bi-literacy, and prepares students for success in the global economy.

As part of its duties, the Task Force will get input from stakeholders and experts in the field. A Web page also has been created on the Brokers of Expertise Web site for anyone who would like to contribute information, research, and case studies at http://commentedtech.myboe.org/.

The Task Force is expected to present recommendations to Torlakson to revise and develop a California Educational Technology Blueprint over the next few months, followed by a series of public meetings to gather comments on issues identified by the Task Force.

For more information on the Education Technology Task Force, please visit the California Department of Education Web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ettf.

GEAR UP Planning Phase Workshops Kickoff in Glendale

California GEAR UP kicked off it’s six year whole school services model with a one day planning phase workshop in Glendale, CA with many Southern California GEAR UP middle schools in attendance. The agenda includes:

 

California GEAR UP schools 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.

Forty-six middle schools will be selected to receive support developing a college-going culture through professional development, engagement of families and communities, counseling support, partner services and resources for the six-year grant period.

The purpose 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.

To view the planning phase presentation from the Glendale Workshop, please click here.

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

Overcoming Financial Obstacles to College Attendance

 

Released today by The New American Foundation’s Asset Building Program, a new policy paper entitled Overcoming Obstacles to College Attendance and Degree Completion: Toward a Pro-College Savings Agenda.

The rise in student loan debt has directed critical attention to the growing pace of college costs as well as the reliance on loans to finance those costs. For graduates entering the workforce in recent years, many are finding that they are unable to find the type of job they thought they were securing when they received their degree, if they are able to find a job at all. Consequently, more loans are going unpaid and student loan debt has become the only class of consumer debt where defaults are increasing.

While debt is a clear indicator of the flaws in the current way that postsecondary education is financed, a less visible consequence is the number of students who never make it to college because they perceive it as financially out of reach or the attrition of students who cannot afford to persist. Students need a way to finance college that helps them build the expectation that college is an attainable goal and the resources to make it a reality without compromising their future financial well-being.

Even in times of economic downturn, a college education continues to be a predictor of job protection and higher earnings. Despite these advantages, students from low income homes are earning a college degree at the lowest rate in three decades. The divergence of college costs and a family’s ability to pay has resulted in a gulf that traditional forms of financial aid fail to bridge. Unfortunately, this translates to a perception that college will be inaccessible in the minds of the students who have the most to gain from that credential.

An extremely enlightening report and supports the California GEAR UP financial literacy pilot that will provide the vehicle and resources to talk with students and families about this reality.

Shelley Davis-Director, California GEAR UP

While expanding existing financial aid for low-income families would help offset costs for students already on a college bound path, introducing these resources at the point of entry are unlikely to expand access to students who may have long dismissed a college education as a financially realistic option. A growing body of evidence, however, suggests that savings uniquely build both the resources and expectations necessary to increase access by students from low-income families.

Unfortunately, these families face considerable barriers when trying to save, including, ironically, from the financial aid and public assistance programs that are designed to increase college affordability and material wellbeing. Many of these programs have complex rules and explicit restrictions on the amount of savings families can have, making them less likely to save for both short-term and long-term goals. Removing these barriers, while providing additional savings incentives, could expand the ranks of college educated workforce, especially among students from low-income families.

This paper examines current trends in college cost and college financing, the role of savings in increasing postsecondary access and completion, and present a framework for developing a pro-college savings agenda and specific policy recommendations to overcome obstacles currently faces by low-income students.

To read the entire report, please visit the Asset Building Program website HERE.

For more information about California GEAR UP and it’s financial literacy pilot information, please visit our website.