California GEAR UP Wraps Principal and Leadership Institutes

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After two months of hard work we are excited to announce all 48 California GEAR UP Middle Schools completed two day institutes across the state. These facilitated strategic planning sessions are the core of California GEAR UP work, involving all School Leadership Team members, Whole School Services Coaches, GEAR UP staff, and our statewide partnership organizations.

Some of the highlights of the institutes were the Common Core State Standards demonstration lesson from the College Board and the premier of our Ideas in Action rotation that included presentations from our school leadership teams. Ideas in Action looked everything from technology in the classroom to the implementation of Instructional Rounds school-wide to placing students in classes for success.

The two-day Institute uses our SSAR (school self assessment rubric) to look at school-wide perceptions  and offers strategies and techniques for focusing on the school-determined needs. It provides opportunities to learn about successes and challenges from other school teams. The institutes also provide additional opportunity for the School Leadership Team to work on the SSAR conditions and plan for implementation of their PDAP (professional development action plan)goals. Trained facilitators provide direction through a guided discussion and reflection promotes the beginning of a shared vision, the identification and coordination of resources, and the use of student data to develop and implement a unified schoolwide plan.

Schools teams will now return to their sites with a better understanding of creating a transformative community-wide college going culture while being better equipped to leverage GEAR UP resources. Being a California GEAR UP school is a 6 year process, of which schools are embarking upon their second year. California GEAR UP School Services Coaches will meeting with schools across the state to facilitate use of GEAR UP tools, work on implementing Professional Development Action Plans, and scheduling Partnership and Statewide Services.

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.

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

To see pictures of California GEAR UP Schools in action, check out our Facebook page and let us know what you think.


National GEAR UP Week 2013 Round Up

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Join thousands of students, parents, teachers, partners and college access professionals from across the nation to celebrate GEAR UP and the successes of your hard work and dedication! GEAR UP programs across the country celebrated many different ways, including videos, proclamationa, letters of support, student photo booths, Governor support, field trips, and of course many many dream walls.

National GEAR UP Week is an opportunity for to raise awareness in our community about the positive impact GEAR UP is having locally.  It’s a time to engage all your stakeholders – local, state and federal elected officials, funders, partners, as well as local, state and regional media – to share your program’s accomplishments and to get them more involved with your services to students and families.

Fattah NGUW 2013

Congressman Fattah, the architect of the successful national college readiness and access program GEAR UP celebrates GEAR UP Week and thanks students, program staff, families and partner organizations for their hard work! Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA-02) as he kicked off this national celebration to raise awareness about GEAR UP in our communities.

Dr. Ladd Letter

California GEAR UP received a letter of support from Elk Grove Superintendent Ladd. Since 1999 GEAR UP and Elk Grove have collaborated on student success and creating college-going culture. Thank you, Dr. Ladd for helping us celebrate National GEAR UP Week.

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Secretary of Education Arne Duncan honored GEAR UP with a letter of recognition for all the hard work of GEAR UP programs across the country.

I heart GU Campaign

In addition, we successfully launched our ‘I HEART GU’ campaign during NGUW in order to let supporters know how they feel simply by sharing a photo. Download the pdf file I love GEAR UP and you can participate just by Tweeting us or posting a photo of anyone holding the ‘I HEART GU’ on our Facebook page.. #GEARUPworks. More photos on our Facebook page.

California GEAR UP schools across the state celebrated in a number of ways, including Shasta Lake School  who did an activity at lunch with K-8th grade student with the event/activity consisting of the banners being made out of post-it notes and the students were to write there name, dream, goal, college or what they wanted to be when they graduate on one of the post it notes. This activity will continue in classrooms to make sure that at least all 6-8th grade students get to write something. Then the banners will be laminated and hung in the cafeteria as daily reminders for the students.

Frisbee Middle School in Rialto, CA had all grades participate in creating a DREAM WALL and it was great to see students really start thinking about their dreams and routes to get there. Many went from “I want to have money” to “I want to be a vet”. They started connecting totheir intrinsic side, which is always fun to see.

The California GEAR UP Bridge Project celebrated during their homecoming parade by chanting “A through G, I can see me with a college degree.”  The excitement and engagement is evident with their GEAR UP flags and energy. Students also celebrated all across the Valley High School campus with the ‘I HEART GU’ campaign.

How did you celebrate National GEAR UP Week?


California GEAR UP Welcomes New UC President Janet Napolitano

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September 30, 2013

Dear Friends:

It is a privilege and an honor to write to you today, my first day as the twentieth President of the University of California. I am both excited and humbled by the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.  I look forward to working with you.

I bring many things with me to California, beginning with an unshakeable belief in the transformative power of education. I also bring a deep appreciation for the greatness of this university, and for what that has meant, and will mean, for the past, present, and future of the state, the nation, and the world.

It is my intent, beginning today, to serve as the strongest advocate possible for the University of California, ready to stand up at every opportunity on its behalf, in any venue that will have me. Together, let us strive not only to maintain UC’s position as the world’s premier public university, but also to push the University forward to ever new heights.  The University of California, and California itself, expect and deserve nothing less from all of us.

Very truly yours,

Janet Napolitano

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Comments on Federal Shutdown

Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction, who wants to hold off on some standardized tests.

SACRAMENTO—Warning that poor children are among those most likely to be hurt by a federal government shutdown, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson urged the House of Representatives to approve a measure already approved by the Senate to keep the government operating.

“The American people know a partisan stunt when they see one, and that’s what a shutdown of the federal government is,” Torlakson said. “Sadly, the first people affected will likely be some of the people who can least afford it—young children, students, and low-income families.”

Because many federally funded programs have already received this year’s appropriation (such as California GEAR UP), immediate impacts to California’s education system will be limited in the short term. However, some funding, including support for the Child Development Block Grant, which provides child care services for poor families, and Impact Aid Grants, which benefit the children of military families, could both be affected within days.

Also, payments may be delayed for U.S. Department of Agriculture funded school lunch and breakfast programs, although most programs are expected to continue to serve meals to children in the short run.

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