Greetings from Washington, DC where we are attending the 2012 GEAR UP National Conference. This year the conference is packed with exciting sessions and will feature GEAR UP programs visiting with their local elected representatives on Tuesday afternoon.
At the conference, GEAR UP practitioners will have the opportunity to learn from the U.S. Department of Education, NCCEP staff, foundation and corporate partners, and each other. The majority of concurrent sessions are led directly by GEAR UP professionals sharing their strongest programs, most successful partnerships, and best institutional practices. The event also serves as an important gathering for all college access professional – sparticularly those who coordinate their efforts with GEAR UP programs; and local, state, and federal policy makers who want to learn more about creating and sustaining K–16 education/community collaboratives designed to improve public education and promote student success.
Another highlight of the conference will be a capitol hill briefing on Tuesday, July 24 entitled: GEAR UP: The College Access Program that Drives Education and Economic Success in Your Community. The briefing is hosted by Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA-2) and Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (TX‐15) and will feature our very own California GEAR UP Director, Shelley Davis as one of the invited speakers.
GEAR UP was honored to have U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speak at the Monday afternoon Plenary Session where he recognized GEAR UP students, thanked the GEAR UP community for their important work and answered questions from the audience. Secretary Duncan confirmed the critical role of GEAR UP in ensuring low income, minority and first generation students have access to higher education.
With the generous support of Texas Instruments, NCCEP partnered with the well-respected team at GEAR UP for Excellence to lead and deliver this year’s inaugural Youth Congress. Nearly 100 students participated in 3 days of a student-focused curriculum that blended leadership development with life skills and strategies for increased learning. The Youth Congress culminated with a presentation by the group on Wednesday morning, July 25 to a packed ballroom. Their personal stories were powerful displays of how they are overcoming their day-to-day challenges.
Here are some ideas on how to get the most out of the conference this year:
- Help make the conference dynamic: participate and ask questions during sessions and share your successes.
- Attend panels and workshops you wouldn’t normally attend, you will be surprised how this sparks new thinking.
- Connect and converse: get to know fellow GEAR UP community members and learn about their program.
- Take pictures and post on your GEAR UP Facebook page. Tweet about what you are learning!
- Take notes and collect resources like business cards and sponsor materials.
- Follow up-to-the-minute conference news and information on Twitter by following us @cagearup and #hashtags: #GEARUPworks #NCCEP2012 #GEARUP
- Have fun and see the city!
Let us know if you are attending the conference or have additions to how to better enjoy the conference.
For a slideshow of pictures from the conference, check this out.