SoCal Regional Event EdCamp Schedule and Materials

September 30-October 1, 2014 Downey, CA

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An edcamp is a user-generated conference – commonly referred to as an “unconference” that relies on open space organizational technology to drive engagement at professional development activities. Edcamps are designed to provide participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators. Unlike traditional conferences, sessions are not planned or scheduled until the morning of the event using a scheduling board on which attendees can place an index card or post it notes with their potential topic session on it. This type of event:

  • is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment
  • is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants who are the main actors of the event

This GEAR UP version of an edcamp is takes place with California GEAR UP schools from all across southern California and will focus on academic topics to support a the creation of a college going culture.

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.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Robert’s presentation focused on taking an objective look at Depth of Knowledge in math assessments.

Robert Kaplinsky-Featured Speaker

Robert Kaplinsky has worked in education for over ten years as a classroom teacher, district math teacher specialist, and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) instructor.  He graduated from UCLA with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics / Applied Science (Computer Science) in 2000 and earned his Masters of Education in 2005.

He has presented and done professional development at many schools and universities across the United States.  Robert has been published by Education Weekand the American Educational Research Association (AERA).  He has consulted for major publishers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson.  Robert is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM), California Mathematics Council, Orange County Math Council (OCMC), and Greater Los Angeles Mathematics Council (GLAMC).  He also co-founded the Southern California Math Teacher Specialist Network, a group that includes over 75 math teacher specialists from more than 5 counties.

Here are the materials from his presentation, which can also be found on his extremely useful website.


Problem-Based Lessons Used

Common Core State Standards Resources



MDTP presented on Day 2. MDTP primarily serves schools, colleges, and public universities in California. Please use the navigation bar on the left for more information about the project and what materials and services are available.

All CSU/UC MDTP tests are copyrighted, their content may not be used in other test forms. MDTP materials are provided to schools with the understanding that the tests will be kept secure and all test administrations will be scored by MDTP regional offices or MDTP licensed vendors (Datawise, Edusoft, Daskala). All licensed vendors are required to submit scoring data to MDTP to enable the project to send printed reports directly to students’ teachers.

MDTP regional offices (sites) are located on CSU and UC campuses and are supported by their campus and a grant from the California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP).

You can download the PDF of the MDTP presentation GEAR UP Institute (Writing in Math) (2b).


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Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, the question of how far we’ve come in eliminating segregated education is not a simple one. Gwen Ifill leads a discussion with Cheryl Brown Henderson of the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research, Sheryll Cashin of Georgetown University, Catherine Lhamon of the Department of Education and Ron Brownstein of Atlantic Media.

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At lunch on the second day we viewed our new ‘Vista Prep’ video shot over the course of three years and with the leadership of a group of committed adults, GEAR UP, and community partnerships, Vista Middle School transformed from a failing middle school into a thriving Preparatory Academy. The focus of the transformation: creating a school culture centered around student success as the highest priority.

New GEAR UP Awards Announced will help 116,000 Students


U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the award of $82 million for 41 grants under Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) that will help 116,000 at-risk students to prepare for college and receive the support they need to achieve success in postsecondary education.

Secretary Duncan announced the grantees in New York City at the launch of American Graduate Day, a public awareness and community engagement program to celebrate the work of individuals and groups across the country who are helping students stay on track to college and career successes.

“GEAR UP partnerships and state grants are inspiring examples of communities taking a stand for excellence and equity in education, investing in student success, and creating a culture that helps all young people achieve,” Secretary Duncan said. “I commend all the recipients for their relentless efforts to help students realize their potential through college readiness, access and completion.”

Two types of grants are being awarded: $51,420,120 for 31 partnership grants in 19 states, and $31,264,008 for 10 state grants to Alabama, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Both state and partnership awards are competitive, six or seven-year matching grant programs that target entire grades of students, partner with local organizations and businesses, and include matching local contributions and in-kind services. Grantees serve an entire group of students, usually beginning no later than seventh-grade, and follow them throughout high school.

This year, applicants were encouraged to address how they plan to increase postsecondary success, implement college- and career-ready standards, and work in conjunction with Promise Zones – places where the federal government has partnered with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, improve educational opportunities, and reduce violent crime.

State grants include both a required activities component and a scholarship component. The required activities component  seeks to increase college attendance and completion by raising low-income students’ awareness of college and financial aid options, increasing their participation in academically challenging courses, and supporting them through the college admissions process. The scholarship component requires the state to maintain a financial assistance program for GEAR UP students to attend institutions of higher education.

Partnership projects must include at least one low-income middle school, one college or university, and two community or business organizations. Partners work together to provide students and their families with a range of support services needed to prepare for college, including mentoring, counseling, tutoring, and summer programs to succeed in higher level math and other gateway college preparatory courses, as well as information about college and financial aid options.

Examples of this year’s grants include:

  • Berea College in Kentucky, which is already a recipient of our Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhood grants and is part of one of the five Promise Zones, is receiving about $5.5 million to partner a range of postsecondary institutions and key organizations with high-poverty school districts. They will serve almost 7,000 students in 37 schools by providing a comprehensive set of services–to parents, students and schools–that support a sustainable college-going culture.

  • Northeastern Illinois University and Chicago Public Schools District 299 will use its $5.78 million grant to transform the way schools prepare some 7,229 disadvantaged students for high school and success in college.; Beginning in 36 elementary and middle schools that feed into 14 high-needs Chicago public high schools, and partnering with eleven colleges and community based organizations, the project has three objectives: to increase academic preparation and performance of GEAR UP students in higher level math, English and science courses; increase high school graduation and college-going rate; and increase students’ own educational expectations by deepening their knowledge about the benefits of postsecondary education and the availability of student aid.

  • St. Johns University in New York City, N.Y., will use its grant of nearly $450,000 to improve the educational outcomes for 650 low-income, predominantly Hispanic and African-American students. Fourteen additional partners are collaborating on the project: two local education agencies, seven community-based organizations, one state agency, one college program, and three businesses – matching the federal grant dollar for dollar – to provide comprehensive mentoring, enriched technology, college awareness workshops, residential summer programs and a dual enrollment program. The goal is to increase high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment and decrease the need for remediation once students are in college.

  • The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is receiving $3.4 million to use a collective-impact model that will partner colleges, businesses and non-profits, among others, with three urban school districts. The goal is to increase student achievement for nearly 3,000 students through data-driven decisions, develop a sustainable college-going culture, and establish a shared community vision for equitable college access and success.

  • State Council of Higher Education for Virginia will use its $3.4 million grant to help nearly 6,000 middle school students attending some 29 middle schools, including 300 homeless students.Through its partnership with school districts, colleges, non-profits, and business, the project will provide a comprehensive set of services to improve college readiness and increase college enrollment. The project will also follow students through their first year of college by providing mentoring and tutoring to ease their transition to postsecondary education.

In addition to the 41 new grants announced today, GEAR UP is funding 87 continuation projects begun in the last five years that are providing these comprehensive support services to approximately 450,000 middle and high school students.


Note to Editors: Attached are the GEAR UP grant awards, alphabetical by state, with contact information and award amount. State grants are marked with a double asterisk **.

FY 2014 Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)

Alabama Birmingham City Schools, Birmingham — $2,919,674 Spencer Horn,, (205) 231-4674

The University of Alabama at Birmingham, — $3,500,000** Lawrence Tyson,, (205) 975-2491

Arizona Graham County Community College, Thatcher — $1,113,600 Carter McEuen,, (928)428-8275

California YPI Charter Schools, Arleta —$2,316,000 Jesse Noonan,, (213)688-2802

Humboldt State University Sponsored Programs Foundation, Arcata —$443,614 Vikash Lakahni,, (707)826-5381

Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles — $1,911,200 Micaela Vazques Hahn,, (213)241-0145

University Corporation at Monterey Bay —$900,795 Joy Brittain,, (831) 582-3960

University Corporation at Monterey Bay —$1,209,199 Joy Brittain,, (831) 582-3960

University Enterprises Corporation at Cal State San Bernardino —$2,406,741 Stephen Villa Senor,, (909)537-3200

The Regents of the University of California, Santa Cruz —$467,860 Yesenia Cervantes,, (831)459-1831

Colorado Weld County School District, Greeley —$714,859 David Reyes,, (970) 348-6040

Florida Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa —$534,400 Lenegar Jazheel,, (813)272-4828

Hawaii University of Hawaii, Honolulu —$480,300 Amy Agbayani,, (808)956-4567

Illinois Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago —$5,783,200 Wendy Stack,, (312) 563-7232

East St. Louis School District #189, East St. Louis —$747,135 Demean Vaughn,, (618) 646-3056

Iowa Iowa College Student Aid Commission, Des Moines —$3,206,922** Christina Sibouih,, (515) 725-3101

Kansas University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc., Lawrence —$320,000 Ngondi Kamatuka,, (785)864-3401

Wichita State University, Wichita —$740,000 Riccardo Harris,, (316) 978-7810

Wichita State University, Wichita —$740,000 Victor Chavez,, (316) 978-7800

Kentucky Berea College, Berea —$5,513,600 Dreama Gentry,, (859) 985-3853

Louisiana Lafayette Parish School System, Lafayette —$1,888,723 Traci Aucoin,, (337) 521-7165

Maine University of Maine, Farmington —$2,970,042** Kathryn Markovchick,, (207) 685-3171

Maryland Maryland State Department of Education, Baltimore —$2,176,389** Mary Howlett-Brandon,, (410) 767-0367

Minnesota Special School District No. 1, Minneapolis —$2,048,000 Eric Molho,, (612) 668-0549

New York Higher Education Services Corporation, Albany —$3,500,000** Jennifer Dwire,, (518) 474-4060

St. John’s University, Queens —$442,729 Yvette Morgan,, (718) 990-2532

North Carolina Appalachian State University Boone —$2,748,792 Jennifer Wilson-Kearse,, (828) 262-8016

Appalachian State University Boone —$1,436,840 Jennifer Wilson-Kearse,, (828) 262-8016

Ohio Ohio Board of Regents, Columbus —$3,500,000** Rebecca Watts,, (614) 466-0884

Oklahoma University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond —$719,200 Myron Pope,, (405) 974-5370

Oregon Oregon State University, Corvallis —$2,600,000** Stephanie Carnahan,, (541) 346-5761

School District 1J Multnomah County, Portland —$1,207,200 Angela Nusom,, (503) 916-5404

Pennsylvania Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Harrisburg —$3,400,000** Sandi Sheppeard,, (717) 703-7238

School District of Philadelphia —$4,370,400 Alexandre Robinson-Rogers,, (215) 400-6850

South Carolina Richland School District Two, Columbia —$1,377,206 Arlene Bakutes,, (803) 738-3316

Texas Desoto Independent School District, Desoto —$1,125,557 Debbye Garner,, (972) 274-8212

Texas A&M University-Kingsville —$1,043,996 Mary Gonzalez,, (361) 593-2129

Virginia State Council of Higher Education, Richmond —$3,410,360)** Paula Fisher,, (804) 225-2612

Washington Highline Public School, Burien —$1,156,000 (206) 631-3045

Central Washington University, Ellensburg —$2,593,600 Julie Guggino,, (509) 963-2640

West Virginia West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, Charleston —$3,000,000** Adam Green,, (304) 558-0655

National GEAR UP Week 2014 Open Thread

Monday September 22, 2014

NGUW Fattah



Join educators and policymakers all over the nation in celebrating the GEAR UP students, families, educators, and our many partners that work tirelessly to make higher education possible for so many. Join the campaign by:

  • Share the Congressman Fattah’s Video and Secretary Duncan’s Letter locally. Link to the Congressman’s Youtube video and download Secretary Duncan’s letter (see below) for use in your local campaign–let’s get the word out at all levels!

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  • Getting social on Twitter and Facebook. Ask your students, teammates, and partners to let the world know what GEAR UP means to them on social media. We’ll be sharing why we love GEAR UP every day and want to hear from you too! Be sure to use the hashtags #iheartGEARUP and #GEARUPworks and follow us at @CAGEARUP and @edpartnerships and on Facebook.

 Updated 9:16pm


Richfield Elementary School coordinated the celebration of its 100th anniversary with students, staff, and community for National GEAR UP week.  In the spirit of academic excellence, Mrs. Spannaus was awarded her plaque for 2013/2014 teacher of the year.  Later that evening, students were challenged to GEAR UP for the school’s 100th annual spelling bee.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 9.25.27 PMElk Grove Unified School District Resolution Supporting National GEAR UP Week in California and in Elk Grove. Elk Grove Unified and California GEAR UP has one of the longest and most successful partnerships in the history of GEAR UP going back nearly 15 years.

Updated September 23, 2014


Tincher Preparatory in Long Beach celebrated NGUW with a college door decorating contest, spirit day, and  college vocabulary and college goal setting activities.

March Madness Hudson

Hudson Middle School enjoyed some ‘March Madness’ fun for NGUW as well as door decorating contests and DREAM Wall activities.


The Accelerated School had a blast preparing a DREAM Wall banner.

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Jones Junior High in Baldwin, Park has activities scheduled for EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK!

Updated 9/24/14


In collaboration with local leadership from the Walmart Mi Futuro program, Vista Preparatory Academy is celebrating National GEAR UP Week with a guest presentation from Officer Macintosh of the California Highway Patrol.  Officer Macintosh covered a range of topics including the postsecondary education and training required to serve in local, state, and federal law enforcement.  Vista students left with a better understanding of criminal justice administration and Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST), and the local colleges and universities that offer such career pathways.

Updated 9/24/14 3:53pm

CDE certificate

We received a letter of recognition from Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today! “Superintendent Torlakson continues to be a champion of education in California. The California State GEAR UP program extends appreciation for the letter of recognition for National GEAR UP Week from the Superintendent.” ~Shelley Davis, Director

Updated 9/25/14 11:24pm

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The 8th grade class at Shasta Lake School spent National GEAR UP Week at Shasta College exploring technical career pathways.  Students received college and career presentations from law enforcement, truckers, technology support, state, and local government officials.

Updated Updated 9/26/14

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Valley High School GEAR UP staff honored NGUW 2014 and the 10th Grade GEAR UP cohort by playing the girls basketball team….and won!

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Hudson Middle School in Long Beach hosted an A-G relay race and “I Love GEAR UP” photo contest!
“Many thanks to California Assemblyman Roger Dickinson for the resolution recognizing National GEAR UP Week in California.  We appreciate his leadership in the State Assembly, for our program and his efforts for educators, students and families across California.”  ~Shelley Davis, Director

Video: The Power of Relationships for Student Success

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Over the course of three years and with the leadership of a group of committed teachers, administrators, teachers, students, GEAR UP, and community partnerships, Vista Middle School transformed from a failing middle school into a thriving Preparatory Academy. The focus of the transformation: creating a school culture centered around student success as the highest priority. Their story is in progress but the results are already telling. Let the video tell the story. 

Shot over three days on location in Red Bluff, CA by Emmy nominated videographer Andy Schlactenhaufen for California GEAR UP.

Special thanks to the Vista Preparatory Academy teachers and community, GEAR UP College Options, Red Bluff Union Elementary School District,

Let us know what you think of the video!


State Board Commends Higher Ed Common Core Approach

In an unprecedented action, the four systems of higher education announced their endorsement of Common Core standards and have engaged in a comprehensive, coordinated approach for implementation that links the K-12 system with higher education on standards, assessments and teacher training.

The leaders of the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, and Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities outlined their endorsement of Common Core standards in a letter to the State Board of Education. The announcement is part of the California State Board of Education’s National Governors Association grant for K-12/higher education collaboration.

“This endorsement reinforces other significant actions by higher education to align standards and assessments with Common Core including major revisions to the PSAT and SAT, updates to the a-g requirements for the University of California and California State University, improvements to teacher preparation, and collaboration on the Early Assessment Program and Smarter Balanced assessments for 11th grade,” explained California State Board of Education president Mike Kirst.

“The implementation of the Common Core standards and aligned assessments has the potential to dramatically improve college readiness and help close the preparation gap that exists for California students,” wrote Janet Napolitano, Timothy White, Brice Harris and Kristen Soares. The system leaders note the “transforming promise of these new standards” as more students master them and more teachers, students and parents are given clear and consistent messages about college and career readiness.

The letter states that “Common Core standards provide teachers and districts a roadmap to developing courses that cultivate the deep understandings required for college preparation.  In concert with this transition, the a-g requirements for CSU and UC admission, specifically areas ‘b’ (English) and ‘c’ (Mathematics), have been updated to align with the Common Core standards and the message is being transmitted to schools, parents and students.”

The system leaders also highlight the Early Assessment Program and higher education’s participation in teams working on the performance standards for the Smarter Balanced 11th grade assessments. The “partnership California has built over the last 10 years to implement the Early Assessment Program has helped to define the national effort to measure college and career readiness in the 11th grade, and it places California in an optimal position to successfully transition to the new system of standards and assessments.”

“Collaborative efforts will help ensure that the tests measure standards that our K-12 and higher education systems all agree address appropriate expectations for the preparation of high school graduates who are ready to succeed…. These assessments align with our commitment to new learning outcomes to ensure our graduates are ready to succeed in an increasingly complex global environment,” the letter notes.

The link between K-12 and higher education starts with teacher preparation, according to Napolitano, White, Harris and Soares.  Accordingly, “higher education systems are aligning teacher preparation programs and content with the Common Core standards.”

More information about California’s implementation of Common Core standards can be found at