Join Us for 2015 GEAR UP Capacity Building Conference

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The 2015 NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop will take place February 8-11, 2015 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in historic and vibrant Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop is a distinctly different learning opportunity from the NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference. The CBW is where grantees roll up their sleeves and have extended conversations with their peers about how to advance the cause of college access.

The daily learning tracks are designed to provide information, practical tips, and tools that you and your GEAR UP team can incorporate into your current projects. Networking opportunities allow you to connect with GEAR UP professionals from other projects to share ways to strengthen your GEAR UP programming. Roundtables are offered as another venue to explore ideas with colleagues in a smaller, informal setting.Our colleagues at the U.S. Department of Education will also provide additional training for all current grantees.

  • Interact with and learn from top experts and experienced GEAR UP professionals in hands-on workshop tracks highlighting high-priority issues in the field, innovative programs, leading research, and practical tools and strategies.
  • Engage in invaluable peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities.

Click here to access the Advance Program, which includes a detailed overview of the 2015 CBW, information about the schedule and content for each workshop, and speaker bios.  (The Advance Program will be updated on an on-going basis. Check back on this site to get the most up-to-date detailed program for the CBW.)

Click here to register today!

The 2015 CBW workshop tracks are as follows: The Directors’ Network, GEAR UP 101, Parent Engagement, Evaluation Showcase, Grant Management, Advancing College Readiness, Strategies for First-Year Post-Secondary Success, The Coordinators’ Catalyst Network, Helping Students Earn College Credit in High School, and Closing Gaps in STEM Learning and Careers.  The CBW will also has five general sessions and several sessions of roundtable discussions.

Staff contacts for the 2015 CBW: Suzan Shimko, Director of Conferences, and John Donaldson, National Director for Training and Technical Assistance.

After reviewing the CBW program and deciding what workshops you plan to attend, you can begin the online registration process. To access the registration form for mail/fax, click here.

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GET THE MOST OUT OF THE CONFERENCE

REFLECT ON YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS BEFORE YOU ATTEND

You may want to spend some time reflecting on your professional goals before attending a conference. Conferences can be highly effective at helping you advance a wide range of professional objectives. For example, they can help you build and extend professional contacts, find a mentor or collaborator, gain experience presenting original work, advance your subject matter expertise, extend your knowledge of resources, introduce you to new theory, methods or tools, gain ideas for new programs and workshops, develop new skills or simply refresh your interest in and enthusiasm for managing programs and working directly with students. Whatever the goal, be intentional in the way you seek to advance your professional identity, contacts and knowledge.  Don’t passively attend the conference use it to advance your career objectives!

FOCUS ON VARIETY

There are normally a variety of session formats to select from including pre-conference workshops, panel discussions, team delivered presentations and of course single presenter presentations. Each offers a special experience and learning opportunity. Branch out a bit and see if you can sample a range of presentation approaches and styles.

READ THE CONFERENCE MATERIALS AND DO SOME PRELIMINARY PLANNING BEFORE YOU ATTEND

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the range of activities happening during a conference. Spend some time before you go reading through the program to get a sense of what seems most interesting and relevant. Large conferences may also offer a common reading for thought and reflection and if these are accessed in advance they may add much to your overall conference experience. Taking the time to prepare in advance will help you feel more relaxed and organized once the conference begins. Conferences offer so much – it can be helpful to review, reflect and strategize in advance.

USE A TAG TEAM APPROACH TO ACCESSING CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Conferences can be packed with interesting sessions and it can be hard to choose between interesting concurrent sessions. Although it may be tempting to attend individual sessions with trusted coworkers, consider asking your friends and workmates to spread out over the conference and attend different concurrent sessions. This strategy will ensure maximum exposure to what the conference has to offer.  Set some time aside to debrief and share materials and handouts with these workmates during breaks. This will help you gain access to much more of the conference than you could as a single attendee.

PARTICIPATE

Raise your hand, offer a comment, tell a story, frame a challenge, suggest a solution, give an example, reflect, engage and engage others! Be an active rather than passive participate. Much of the learning that takes place at a conference happens through peer-to-peer sharing and interaction. You may also wish to consider volunteering at a conference. This can be a great way to gain professional experience and engage more fully in the conference as it is happening.

VENTURE INTO NEW TERRITORY

Choose to attend at least one conference presentation in an area that you are not familiar with. This might help you discover a new passion, resource or opportunity. Focus not only on extending existing knowledge and expertise, focus on growth.

INTRODUCE YOURSELF

Conferences are great ways to engage with your familiar and trusted workmates but make it a point to expand your professional contacts by introducing yourself to at least three new people. If you feel awkward approaching others, network with an extroverted friend who can help with introductions. You are likely to meet some amazing people.

TAKE NOTES AND APPLY KEY LEARNING TO YOUR PRACTICE

Write down a few key takeaways from each session you attend. Consider how you might use what you learned in your professional practice. Be determined to take away at least one idea, tool, concept or bit of information that can be applied to your daily practice. Hang on to your handouts for future reference.

ATTEND THE SOCIAL EVENTS

Attend the scheduled social events! These are actually a lot of fun and really help to extend the excitement, enthusiasm and energy of a conference. If you are shy, take a friend with you. Don’t be afraid to relax and mingle.

SHARE WHAT YOU LEARNED WITH OTHERS/BRING CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS HOME

If you are one of only a few people in your immediate working group who is able to attend a conference you may want to focus on what you can take back to others who are not able to attend. Consider yourself an emissary for your entire working group and be committed to sharing what you learned with others. Bring conference highlights home by presenting to your department, host a brown bag debrief and share key takeaways with colleagues.

FOLLOW UP

Use the business cards you collect at a conference in the future. Reach out to others and look for ways to share and collaborate on new projects. This is a great way to form and strengthen professional networks over time. The call for proposals closed on April 1, 2014.

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Getting to the Core with GEAR UP

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In the fall of 2013, the California Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) convened school teams from 48 middle schools serving predominantly low-income students in three locations to learn more about academic rigor and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). With the help of representatives from College Board — a program partner — participants viewed a model English Language Arts (ELA) lesson that is aligned to CCSS and practiced using instructional strategies that engage students across all curriculum areas.

In the spring and fall of 2014, the California GEAR UP Program offered a variety of interactive, participatory workshops in mathematics and English/Language Arts to representatives from all 48 participating GEAR UP middle schools. Sessions were led by expert educators focused on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards from a social justice and educational equity perspective.

Building on these CCSS activities, the California GEAR UP Program is in the second year of a pilot program with selected middle schools that are using the College Board Pre-Advanced Placement (Pre-AP) Programs in mathematics and English/Language Arts. The Program provides staffing and funding for this quality professional development opportunity for teachers with SpringBoard trainers. This pilot is aligned with the program goal of building capacity at the school site and positively influences the ways in which teachers instruct to meet the individualized and differentiated manner in which students learn.

 

Ann Carnes, Professional Development Manager, California GEAR UP