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

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