California GEAR UP Announces Implementation Phase Schools

California GEAR UP Middle Schools Selected

May 24, 2012 (Sacramento, CA) – California GEAR UP is pleased to announce the 48 schools selected to advance to the 2012-2017 California GEAR UP Implementation Phase.   Through a highly competitive process, these schools were chosen from 168 applicants to the program. The goal of California GEAR UP is to provide a network of support for schools towards implementing long-term, sustainable strategies to create a college-going culture.  We look forward to their growth and success as we collaborate to achieve this common purpose.

The official start date of the Implementation Phase is September 1, 2012.  California GEAR UP will provide services to these schools through the end of the grant in August 2017.  All school leadership teams are committed to work together to: 

  • Convene the GEAR UP Leadership Team of up to eight members on a regular basis;
  • Support the GEAR UP Leadership Team and participate in professional development training
    provided by California GEAR UP and program partners;
  • Utilize the GEAR UP School Self Assessment Rubric (SSAR), to build and sustain a college-going culture for all students;
  • Devise and implement the whole school GEAR UP Professional Development Action Plan (PDAP);
  • Identify matching funds from non-federal resources towards developing a college-going culture;
  • Submit an Annual Report of Funding detailing how PDAP funds were used and expended.
  • Complete and submit annual School Survey and Evaluation data as requested;
  • Develop a procedure to select student recipients of GEAR UP Education Trust Awards.

“We congratulate our California GEAR UP school teams of teachers, staff, students and families who will work together to create a college-going culture throughout their school community.  Their successful practices, challenges and stories will be shared with schools throughout California as we work towards “Academic Excellence and College Access for ALL Students”.   –Gina Rodriguez, Whole School Services Manager

The full list of 2012-2017 California GEAR UP Schools can be found on our website HERE.

Should you have questions about the selection process, you may contact Shelley Davis, Director, California GEAR UP at: (916) 551-1757 or












1,614 Schools on California Business Community Honor Role


Schools Selected by California Business for Education
Excellence for Prestigious Honor Roll 

May 15, 2012 (Sacramento, CA) – California GEAR UP is pleased to share today that a record 1,614 schools have been selected by California Business for Education Excellence (CBEE)  as schools in California to receive the title of 2011 Honor Roll school. Included on the list are many current and former California GEAR UP Schools.

Schools receiving this distinction from the California business community have demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time and reduction in achievement gaps among student populations.  For High Schools, the Honor Roll recognition also includes measures of college readiness. The CBEE Honor Roll is comprised of two different awards, the “Star Schools” Award (527 schools),  “Scholar Schools” Award (1,087 schools) and special designation for “STEM schools ” with highest performance in math and science.

Like California GEAR UP Schools, CBEE Star Schools are those with significant populations of socio-economically disadvantaged students that have shown a significant increase in grade-level proficiency over time. CBEE Scholar Schools are schools that are showing significant levels of academic achievement, but do not have a significant socio-economically disadvantaged student population.

“We are so proud to to have California GEAR UP Schools recognized by California’s business community as an Honor Roll school,” said Gina Rodriguez, School Services Manager-Calfiornia GEAR UP.  “Our teachers and administrators work tirelessly to keep the focus on high expectations and student academic achievement and to continuously improving our practices. This hard work and dedication is paying off for all of our students, no matter their background.”

The Honor Roll is the premier school recognition program that uses only academic achievement data showing improved academic growth over time and a closing of the achievement gap.

A full list of the Honor Roll schools and the STEM Honor Roll can be found at: HERE. Full list of California GEAR UP Schools can be found on our

EdSource Symposium Reveals Financial Stress on Schools

Anaheim, CA–EdSource, a nonprofit that aims to make discussions of complex education policy issues accessible and participatory, hosted a symposium today in partnership with the California State Parent Teacher Association to evaluate the effects of the recession on education, on both the state budget and young students’ lives. California’s highly regarded Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor lead off the discussion with the latest developments on the state budget and its effect on schools. Leading researchers identified emerging data showing the impact of the economic crisis (including housing foreclosures and unemployment) on school performance. A panel of representatives from school districts and nonprofit organizations described innovative school and community strategies to help ensure that an entire cohort of students does not fall through the cracks.

The data was part of the EdSource most recent and ground breaking work: Schools Under Stress: Pressures Mount on California’s Largest School Districts. Using an innovative approach to gauge the mounting pressures facing school districts since the onset of the Great Recession in the 2007-08 school year, the report identifies eight “stress factors” that are affecting California school districts to varying degrees. The report is based on three surveys of the 30 districts conducted by EdSource in 2011 and 2012.

“In November, Californians are likely to be voting on two tax initiatives intended to provide more funds for the state’s schools. But most voters have no way of objectively assessing the extent of the challenges facing these schools,” said Louis Freedberg, EdSource executive director and lead author on the report. “We hope this report can help fill that gap.”

The findings of the report include the following:

  • Twenty-two out of 30 districts have fewer counselors than they had before the onset of the Great Recession. Across all 30 districts, the number of school counselors has declined by 20 percent since 2007-08.
  • More than one-third of the districts ended up laying off some 2,000 classroom teachers for the current school year.
  • Twenty-six out of 30 districts are serving more free and reduced-price meals than in 2007-08. Across the state, 57 percent of students qualify for subsidized meal programs, a 6 percentage point increase since 2007-08.
  • Sixteen out of 30 school districts are suffering from declining enrollments, resulting in decreased funding from the state.
  • Half of the districts surveyed had 30 or more students in one or more of their K-3 grades, a stark reversal of the 1-to-20 teacher-to-student ratio that was the norm in almost every K-3 classroom in 2007-08. Only one district reported having an average class size of 20 students and that was only in one grade-kindergarten.
  • Twelve out of 30 districts have an instructional year of less than 180 days.
  • Nearly all of the state’s 30 largest districts are educating more students living in poverty than before the current recession.
  • Every district is coping with the impact of high levels of unemployment on their students and their families.
Other resources from the symposium:
How is your school or district coping with the financial stress of The Great Recession?
If you attended the symposium, let us know what you think.

Top Ten Ways to Appreciate Teachers

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson urged all Californians to find ways to appreciate teachers during May 6-12, designated as National Teacher Appreciation Week.

“Teaching is the most important job there is,” Torlakson said. “Ask just about anyone about the person who made the biggest difference in their life, chances are that person is a teacher. Let’s all take a moment this week to say `thank you’ to California’s teachers.”

Here’s Torlakson’s top 10 list.

For students:

1.     Thank your teacher for all of his or her hard work.

2.     Do your best on homework and in-class assignments.

3.     Behave in class, so your teacher can devote more time to teaching.

4.     Respect your teacher and your fellow students. This will create a better learning environment for everyone in the classroom.

5.     Raise your hand to answer your teacher’s questions and participate in learning.

For parents:

6.     Send an e-mail or a note with your children to school, thanking their teachers for their hard work.

7.     Appreciate teachers for the professionals that they are, and give them the same respect you would give a good friend who takes care of your children.

8.     Provide a helping hand in the classroom, during sporting events, on field trips, or at the school site.

9.     Donate school supplies. Teachers often pay out of their own pockets to provide their students with the tools they need to learn.

10. Hold fundraisers and donate the proceeds to schools that have been hard hit by state budget cuts.

May 8 is National Teacher Appreciation Day, an annual tradition continued by the National Teachers Association. May 9 is California Day of the Teacher, a day established under California Education Code Section 37222, to encourage schools to conduct exercises commemorating and directing attention to teachers and the teaching profession.

For the California Day of the Teacher, two organizations created themes to honor educators. The California Teachers Association theme is, “Great Teachers: Building a Better State for Public Education.” The Association of Mexican American Educators theme is, “Educating Students for a World of Opportunities.”