The State of Higher Education in California: Black Report

Black Report

In the newest report from The Campaign for College Opportunity, The State of Higher Education in California – Black Report  is being released today. California is home to the fifth largest Black population in the nation, and while the research has some good news – more Black adults today have a high school diploma and college degree than in the past there is also disheartening findings. Black high school students are still less likely to graduate from high school and when they do, less likely to have completed the college preparatory curriculum needed for admission to the University of California and California State University systems compared to other major racial/ethnic groups. Black students who do make it to college are the most likely to be placed into pre-college level coursework, the least likely to graduate from college, and the most likely to enroll in for-profit colleges – some of which have traditionally poor rates of student success and high tuition costs and student debt levels.

Inadequate high school preparation, a broken college remedial education system, and significant funding cuts to the state’s public colleges and universities all play a major role in the ability of Black students to both enroll in and complete college.

A few key findings from the report:

  • Only 23 percent of working-age Blacks in California have bachelor’s degrees, compared to 42 percent of their White counterparts.
  • One-third of Black adults aged 25-64 attended college but earned no degree.
  • Black undergraduates are underrepresented at four-year public and private, nonprofit universities and overrepresented at California Community Colleges and For-Profit colleges.
  • Only 37% of Black students earned a degree, certificate or transferred after six years from a California community college.
  • Only 37% of Black students who started at the California State University system as freshman will complete after six years.
  • At least 2/3 of Black applicants were denied admission to six of the University of California’s nine undergraduate campuses.

In addition to the recommendations listed in our report, they have highlighted the work of two San Diego State University professors who launched the Minority Male Community College Collaborative and created free assessment tools that community colleges can use to inform strategies to increase the success rates of Black students. You can access the new report, infographic, press release and the profile using the link.

Please save the date for the upcoming webinar on Thursday, June 18 at 10:30am where they will discuss the key findings of both the Latino and Black report.


Celebrate 529 College Savings Day May 29


Celebrate 529 College Savings Day with ScholarShare’s Special One-Day Match Promotion

Our valued partner, ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan, knows saving for college can be overwhelming. Often parents don’t know where to start; they might believe there’s nothing they can do to prepare enough. At ScholarShare, they believe in education, and in California families. That’s why on National 529 College Savings Day on May 29, 2015, they are offering to anyone who opens a new ScholarShare account with at least $50 (and sets up automatic contributions of at least $25 per month), a match of $50. You start it, they match it.  For details on this special one-day promotion including the complete Terms and Conditions, visit By saving early and often, your little one (soon to be big) could have a nice little nest egg. It’s true, paying for all of college with your 529 may not be possible but you can make it happen to cover books, room and board, or other qualified higher education expenses. A 529 can be part of your larger “paying for college” family strategy. Every little bit helps.

According to a 2013 survey by Hart Research Associates, 92% of parents considered getting a college degree worth it, but only 46% of parents have set up a dedicated savings or investment account for their child’s higher education costs. ScholarShare, recently awarded a Bronze metal rating by Morningstar, a prominent ratings agency, is administered by the state of California and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. Named for the section of the internal revenue code under which they were created, 529 plans offer families a tax-advantaged way to save for college.

Some of the benefits of the ScholarShare plan include:

  • Accounts can be opened with as little as $25.
  • A wide variety of low-cost investment options are offered.
  • There are no annual account maintenance fees.
  • Potential earnings are tax-free if used for qualified higher education expenses such as tuition and fees, books and supplies, and certain room and board costs.
  • Funds may be used at eligible educational institutions nationwide, and some abroad.
  • Anyone can contribute to the account, making it a great gift idea for family and friends.

 To learn more or to open an account, visit or call 1-800-544-5248. Like ScholarShare on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

ScholarShare is proud to partner with California GEAR-UP, so we can work together to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college. Preparing for college academically and financially can help keep students on the path toward success.

 Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan. Please visit for a Program Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully.

Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your Beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.

The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may also be subject to an additional 2.5% California tax on earnings.

Investments in the Program are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss.

The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan Twitter and Facebook pages are managed by the state of California. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Plan Manager


The In-State Tuition Break is Slowly Disappearing

out of state

This is a repost from The New York Times, the original article by Kevin Carey can be found here.

A few weeks ago, I took my daughter to see the latest Disney movie. Because it was early in the afternoon, and my daughter is 5, I expected to get a significant discount on the price of our tickets. The electronic ticket kiosk had other intentions. “1 Adult: $11.00” and “1 Child: $10.00.”

It turned out that the full matinee discount applied only to the 10:45 a.m. showing. The child price break, meanwhile, had been squeezed to a single dollar. Technically, both discounts still existed. But by limiting their size and availability, the theater was steadily pushing more tickets toward the full-market price.

Something similar has been happening in the market for higher education. Over the last decade, state governments and universities have been chipping away at a pillar of American opportunity: in-state tuition.

Part of this story is familiar to anyone who has watched public universities raise tuition and fees, in some cases by 50 percent or more. But there’s another, less obvious, part of the story. Many of the most elite public universities are steadily restricting the number of students who are allowed to pay in-state tuition in the first place.

Fans rejoiced after Alabama’s football team defeated Tennessee last October. A shrinking percentage of University of Alabama students are actually from the state. CreditIcon Sportswire, via Associated Press 

A result is the creeping privatization of elite public universities that have historically provided an accessible route to jobs in academia, business and government. One of the most important paths to upward mobility, open on a meritocratic basis to people from all economic classes, is narrowing.

To understand why, it helps to divide public universities into two categories. The nonprofit Carnegie Foundation classifies 147 public universities as national leaders in conducting research. These are the flagship universities and land-grant institutions that often have selective admissions criteria and Division I football teams. An additional 500 regional public universities conduct less research and often have less selective admissions policies. These two groups — national and regional public universities — each educate about the same number of students.

Most students attending public universities stay in the state where their parents reside, in large part because in-state students have traditionally received a steep tuition discount. Out-of-state students have long been in the minority and pay tuition closer to that charged by private universities. As recently as 2000, national and regional public universities were similar in this regard. That year, 80 percent of national public university students were in-state, compared with 86 percent at regional public universities.

But in the years that followed, the two groups began to diverge. At regionals, little changed. College enrollment swelled in every state after 2000 as the baby boom echo generation finished high school and a larger share of high school graduates enrolled in college. The additional students at regional universities looked much like the old ones. From 2000 to 2012 (the latest year of available federal data), nine out of 10 additional regional public university students were in-state.

The pattern at elite national universities was very different. There, the majority of additional students were from other states. Instead of extending their traditional mission of providing an affordable, high-quality education to local residents, national universities focused on recruiting students from other states and nations, many of whom paid much higher tuition rates. As a result, the number of in-state spots relative to the college-going population as a whole declined significantly at national public universities.

As my colleague Stephen Burd documented in a recent report, the change at some national universities has been striking. The University of Alabama’s football program has an aggressive nationwide recruitment machine, and its coach, Nick Saban, has led the team to three national championships in the last decade. Less well known is the university’s equally ambitious recruitment program for nonathletes. With 30 full-time admissions officers across the country armed with millions of dollars in scholarships, the university has more than quadrupled its class of out-of-state students since 2000, to the point that they now represent the majority of all freshmen arriving in Tuscaloosa. Many if not most of the undergraduates bleeding Alabama crimson in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday afternoons come from somewhere else.

Alabama accomplished this in part by substantially expanding the total number of students it enrolls, including in-state students. Other public universities have made space for out-of-state students by allowing fewer in-state ones to attend. The University of California, Berkeley, enrolled 384 fewer in-state freshmen in 2012 compared with 2000, while out-of-state American students grew by more than 300 and the number of international students increased eightfold. This happened at the same time that in-state tuition and fees increased to $13,200 from $3,964. (Out-of-state and international students pay more than $36,000 per year.) Purdue University cut annual in-state slots for incoming freshmen by more than 500 students, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by more than 300, and Auburn and Michigan State by more than 200, with each enrolling hundreds of additional out-of-state and international students in their stead.

Replacing in-state with out-of-state students can be easier than raising prices because tuition increases are highly public and are frequently regulated by state legislatures and governing bodies. Universities often have more discretion over the in-state/out-of-state of mix.

This isn’t the case everywhere. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is prohibited by law from enrolling more than 18 percent of students from out of state. Not coincidentally, in-state enrollment there has remained robust. In 2000, U.N.C. admitted 32 international students as undergraduates. At U.C.L.A., by comparison, the number was 43. Twelve years later, U.N.C.’s international freshman enrollment had risen slightly, to 48. U.C.L.A., by contrast, enrolled 1,046 international freshmen in a single year, almost 25 times more in little more than a decade. The number of in-state slots at U.C.L.A. barely changed, even as the number of in-state applications surged.

The slow death of in-state tuition is a case where declining public investment and selfish institutional interests tend to coincide. National public universities are cutting in-state enrollment in part to make up for state budget cuts. But they also have a strong desire to become more like elite private universities — Stanford, Duke, the Ivy League — that have the freedom to enroll the best and the brightest from around the world and charge whatever prices the market will bear. Budget cuts give them an excuse to become what they wanted to be all along.

6 of 48 GEAR UP Schools Receive Gold Ribbon Honor


SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 193 middle schools and 180 high schools, and 6 of 48 California GEAR UP Middle Schools have been honored under the state’s new Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program, which is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program. The awards, introduced in 2013, reflect Torlakson’s goals outlined in his A Blueprint for Great Schools report, which provides direction for California’s education system.

“These schools are academically successful, vibrant, and innovative centers of learning and teaching,” Torlakson said. “They provide great examples of the things educators are doing right—embracing rigorous academic standards, providing excellence and creativity in teaching, and creating a positive school climate.”

The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment and accountability systems.

Schools applied for the award based on a model program their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The new award is recognizing middle and high schools this year and elementary schools in 2016.

The Gold Ribbon awards recognize California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. These include, the California Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.

California GEAR UP Gold Ribbon Schools:

Jones Middle School (Baldwin Park)

Jones Junior High: The school was honored for creating a college-going culture supported through a variety of programs. Efforts range from Geared UP for College, a college and career readiness program funded through a grant from California GEAR UP. As part of that program, the school offers a pre-Advanced Placement pilot program called SpringBoard.

Jones reinforces college options with an annual College Week that includes a college fair, an annual panel of college students who describe their experiences to more than 150 students, a partnership with Kaiser Permanente to encourage exploration of medical careers and a program to boost parent-school communication called the Parent Institute for Quality Education. In the last two years, nearly 200 parents have taken part in the institute.

Landmark Middle School (Moreno Valley Unified)

Vista Heights Middle School (Moreno Valley Unified)

Sunny mead Middle School (Moreno Valley Unified)

Upland Junior High (Upland Unified)

Vista Preparatory Academy (Redbluff Union)

The Gold Ribbons are intended to run for two years, providing the state with an interim way to recognize excellence while California adopts new statewide assessments in math and English language arts (ELA) aligned with the California Common Core.

The former assessments were used to generate the state’s Academic Performance Index score for each school – a figure that helped establish eligibility for the Distinguished Schools program.

But California dropped its ELA and math assessments in 2014 while it tested a new system that went into effect this spring. The state also put the API on hiatus while it builds a new model for determining school success that is broader than the test-score driven tool previously used.

Unlike the Distinguished Schools program, Gold Ribbon applicants nominate themselves. But both systems include site visits by a team of educators as part of the final determination of winners; both also rotate annually between secondary and elementary schools.

The purpose of California GEAR UP is to develop and sustain the organizational capacity of a cohort of middle schools to prepare all students for high school and higher education through a systemic network of support for adults who influence middle school students, specifically their counselors, faculty, school leaders and families. This expanded capacity is expected to result in a higher proportion of students, particularly from backgrounds and communities that have not historically pursued a college education, enrolling and succeeding in higher education.

The ultimate outcome expected from this Program is that a higher proportion of students will be prepared to enroll and succeed in advanced courses in middle school and high school and enter and graduate with a degree from a higher educational institution.

The fact that six of our 48 schools were honored by this program is indicative of the mission focused culture of focusing on ALL students and setting expectations for school communities extremely high.

Please visit the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program on the California Department of Education’s Web site.



Teachers Who Blog To Stay In Touch



(from NPR)

Katie Morrow became a teacher, among other things, because of wanderlust.

“I’m going to be a teacher because I can go anywhere in the world,” she thought.

She’s originally from a small town in Nebraska called O’Neill, population 3,700. “In the middle of nowhere, literally,” she says.

So where did she end up teaching? Right back in O’Neill. She fell in love with a hometown boy and ended up at O’Neill’s only public school. It’s K-12, with 750 students.

Morrow teaches middle-school English; she’s also a technology integration specialist.

She says she loves Nebraska, but teaching in a small town comes with its own set of problems. A big one is the sense of isolation. “Let’s say you’re the music teacher in O’Neill, Neb. You’re the only music teacher.”

In 2007, Morrow became an Apple Distinguished Educator and met with other outstanding teachers from around the world. She says she was in awe of their achievements, but also thought, “We’re doing good things, too, in O’Neill that people just don’t hear about.”

She started a blog, Teach 4 2 Morrow. Like many educators across rural America, she has tapped into a way to keep in touch with other teachers far beyond her small community.

Don’t Forget About The Small Towns

Morrow says her main goal in writing is to shine a spotlight on what teachers in small town America are doing. Unlike inner-city schools, she explains, “We don’t have a local news station that can report when my class does this awesome project, so putting it on a blog is an easy way to do it.”

She’s also big on making her students blog.

Part of Morrow’s job is leading the school’s one-to-one initiative, in which every student has a laptop to use throughout the day.

She assigns her seventh- and eighth-graders to blog about their everyday lives and about the projects the class is working on.

Most of the kids who grow up in O’Neill “never leave a two-hour radius,” she says. “Bringing the technology to them and allowing them to bridge that outer part of the world that they aren’t exposed to normally is huge.”


Sarah Hagan, recently featured in our 50 Great Teachers series, grew up thinking she was from a small town in Oklahoma until she began teaching in Drumright, Okla., which has a population of less than 3,000.

“There are tinier towns than I realized,” she jokes. “I didn’t know what to expect, honestly. I always assumed I’d go work at this school where I would have this fabulous math department, and I’d collaborate with them. And then I ended up in a tiny town where there’s one other math teacher.”

Hagan’s own love of teaching was born in part from reading a math teacher’s blog when she herself was in high school. It was called Math Teacher Mambo by Shireen Dadmehr.

“I just became amazed,” Hagan recalls. “I thought, ‘This is the way I want to teach.’ For the rest of high school and college I read all the teacher blogs I could get my hands on.”

She still follows about 400 different math blogs for ideas. One of her favorites is Kalamity Kat, by Megan Hayes-Golding, based in Atlanta, which Hagan says gave her the idea to ditch textbooks and have students create their own manuals.

Hagan writes her own very successful blog, Math = Love, part of the Math Twitter Blogosphere, on which she says she has met wonderful friends — and her boyfriend.

She says she never expected her own blog to get almost 3 million page views. It’s a combination of project ideas and very cute “Things Teenagers Say.” (Sample: “I’ll be here all week with the pi jokes. I’m like a baker.”)

After learning so much from blogs herself, Hagan says, “I felt like I should give something back to the community I’d been stealing ideas from.”

But for her, it’s about more than just exchanging ideas: “It reminds me that I’m not alone.”

A Little Positivity

“There’s two traffic lights,” is how Katherine Sokolowski describes Monticello, Ill. She teaches fifth-grade language arts there, in a school that serves adjacent towns as well, with about 120 kids per grade.

And she writes a blog, Read, Write, Reflect. She started it in 2011, for two big reasons:

First, she felt that if she wanted to be a language arts teacher, she should be willing to challenge herself to write. Second, and most importantly, she felt the conversation about teaching in America was too negative.

“It’s easy in the media to shed a negative light on the state of our education system,” she says. “But there’s so much good happening across the country.”

“It’s not all rosy” Sokolowski clarifies. For example, she debates other teachers on her blog about issues that concern her, like standardized testing. She gives advice about how to connect with difficult students.

And she writes about the bad days, too. Like the time her class came back from a break and only half of the students had read their assigned books. She says the response from her fellow teachers always brightens those bad days. “One commenter told me, ‘It’s like we all live in the same area.’ ”

And there’s one unexpected reward from her blog: a closer relationship with students and parents in Monticello.

Even though she’s in a small town where relationships are more intimate, Sokolowski says students and parents read her blog and get to know her better. For example, her students know from her blog that she’s scared of flying. So when she had to travel recently, kids were checking in to make sure she was OK.

Some Things Are Still Local

These rural teachers say there’s a definite urban bias in the teaching blogosphere. “Most of the blogs I read are either people teaching in the suburbs or teaching in the inner city,” Hagan says.

That leaves out issues that are unique to teaching in remote locations, like the nature of bullying in a small town, where everyone has known each other for generations.

“By the time [these kids] get to high school, bullying becomes a real issue,” Hagan explains. “They know how to push each other’s buttons exactly.”

It’s an issue she finds answers to locally, not online. “I feel like that’s something I speak to my actual colleagues about, because they really understand the environment we’re working in. A lot of my colleagues have worked here for 25 years. A lot of the kids I have now, they taught their parents. They have a lot of understanding of the area. ”

Read original article and commentary here on the NPR site.


2015 California GEAR UP Program Update



The goal of the California GEAR UP Program is: 

To develop and sustain the organizational capacity of middle schools to prepare all students for high school and higher education through a systemic network of support for adults who influence middle school students, specifically their counselors, faculty, school leaders and families. This expanded capacity is expected to result in a higher proportion of students, particularly from backgrounds and communities that have not historically pursued a college education, enrolling and succeeding in higher education.

The ultimate outcome expected from this Program is that a higher proportion of students will be prepared to enroll and succeed in advanced courses in middle school and high school and enter and graduate with a degree from a higher educational institution.

This Program has three modes of services to support schools in reaching this goal:

  • direct service to a cohort of students through the Bridge for Students Model;
  • services to a cohort of middle schools through the Whole School Model; and,
  • services to all California middle schools through the Educational System Transformation Model.

Bridge for Students Model:

The Bridge for Students Model is characterized by collaboration, student progress tracking, and data sharing among a family of schools across educational levels in order to prepare all cohort students for college. The objective guiding this model is:

Objective 1: To Increase by 20 Percent the Number of Bridge Students Achieving at Grade-Appropriate Levels in Mathematics as Compared to the Respective 2010–11 Class at the School.

The first step in building this bridge occurred when 631 sixth graders at five elementary schools were introduced to a college-going culture in the 2010–11 year. Today, these students are tenth graders at Valley High School in the Elk Grove Unified School District and will graduate from this school in 2017, the final year of this grant cycle.

These high school students received research-supported, grade-appropriate services to enhance their opportunity for success, especially in mathematics, including:

  • individualized tutoring in Mathematics three or five days a week, depending on the course;
  • enrollment in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) courses and Career Technical Pathways through Health Teach and Project Lead the Way;
  • field trips that expose students to various collegiate environments and careers;
  • support from GEAR UP staff to monitor student academic progress and facilitate success at the school;
  • career exploration with staff in areas of interest, job shadowing, and mentors in connected fields;
  • monthly workshops focused on college and career readiness;
  • collaboration with schools in the feeder pattern, local businesses, the Elk Grove School Unified School District, and Consumnes River College to offer more rigorous coursework, create a college-going culture, increase cross-articulation opportunities in Advanced Placement/Honors coursework, and support, place, and adopt Integrated Mathematics.

Whole School Model:

The Whole School Model is characterized by services, staff, and resources designed to create systemic change at a school site. This model is predicated on systemic change theory and research about effective learning communities that demonstrates the importance of planning time, the principal as an instructional leader, and the critical nature of using data to inform decision-making. The objective guiding this model is:

Objective 2: To Increase by Five Percent Each Year the Number of Students at the Participating GEAR UP Schools Who Are Performing at Grade-Appropriate Levels in Mathematics as Compared to the Performance of Students at These Schools in the 2010–11 Year.

In May of 2012, 48 low-income schools across the state were selected to participate in the Implementation Phase of this six-year grant cycle. A School Services Coach has been assigned to each school with the responsibility for assisting to coalesce a GEAR UP School Leadership Team composed of the principal, other school administrators, guidance counselors, teachers in core academic content areas, a parent, and a counselor.

In the fall of 2014, GEAR UP schools attended regional Principal and Leadership Team Institutes to provide opportunities to learn from each other and problem solve together about common concerns and issues. These events were customized to meet the needs of participating schools within each region and in alignment with focused areas of growth identified on the School Self-Assessment Rubric (SSAR) developed by the UCLA Graduate School of Education. The SSAR serves as a yardstick to assess school change over time and guide the development of a college-going culture at the school site. These Institutes were followed by Regional Events in spring 2015 focused on classroom practices for implementing Common Core State Standards, developing region-wide professional learning communities, and proactive whole school engagement to address instructional equity for ALL students.

GEAR UP schools in the cohort have continued to make progress with the implementation of the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP) on the Daskala online platform. This diagnostic test measures student readiness for mathematics courses ranging from Pre-Algebra to Calculus. During this year, GEAR UP Coaches and MDTP Directors have collaborated to monitor progress at the school site. This online tool provides teachers timely diagnostic data to identify specific topics and skills that need more attention, allows them to develop formative assessments, and informs and evaluates instruction and curricula to prepare students for success in mathematics courses needed for college and career readiness.

In October 2013, the Program launched a pilot project in partnership with College Board to implement SpringBoard — the Board’s college and career readiness program in English/Language Arts for grades 6-12.  The pilot is being conducted with four GEAR UP schools and includes teacher training, progress monitoring through classroom visitations, data collection, and critical understanding by schools of the nature of their learning and the reasons for doing so. Teachers have access to SpringBoard coaches, grade level seminars, and an online digital community for peer connection and support, including videos and instructional resources.

In May 2014, school principals observed teacher commitment to the depth and rigor of the college preparatory curriculum, and thereafter, the schools adopted the SpringBoard mathematics program school-wide. As a result of this pilot, the teachers from the SpringBoard ELA pilot and Mathematics program will be attending the SpringBoard Train-the-Trainer Conference where schools will send their most effective SpringBoard teachers and instructional coaches to become district-endorsed teachers. Other GEAR UP schools have expressed an interest in SpringBoard and will be participating beginning in the 2015-16 year.

 Education System Transformation Model:

An Educational System Transformation Model expands the program’s reach in promoting a college-going culture for all students and offers opportunities to impact the educational enterprise as a whole, albeit less intensively. The objective of this model is:

Objective 3: To Increase by Five Percent in Six Years the Number of Students in the State Completing Grade-Appropriate Mathematics Courses as Compared to 2010–11 Statewide Outcomes.

In July 2014, program staff met with California GEAR UP Partnership project staffs at the National Council for Community and Educational Partnerships (NCCEP) GEAR UP Conference in Washington, DC. The result of these meetings was the launching of the California Partnership Initiative.  Through this initiative, the California delegation met again in February 2015 at the NCCEP Capacity Building workshop with plans to meet at the 2015 National Conference.

Another activity undertaken through this model was the co-sponsoring of the Sixth Annual Professional Development Summit in Oakland in January 2015. This two-day event featured state and national leaders and educators to discuss the social justice agenda for African- American students.

Finally, GEAR UP strengthened its partnership with the California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) — a State initiative to improve instruction in secondary schools through collaborative efforts involving higher education. CAPP funded an initiative this year that included four high schools to which GEAR UP middle schools matriculate students in order to sustain a college-going culture for those students, particularly in grades 10 and 11.