The California Partnership Initiative (CPI) is a project of the California State GEAR UP Program, and was formalized at the National GEAR UP conference in Washington, DC in July 2014. Since 1999, the California State program has worked in collaboration with GEAR UP partnership projects to increase college and career readiness for students and families and to improve the college going culture in schools and communities. This initiative brings together the active partnership projects and the state grant to strengthen efforts for ALL students throughout California. The CPI conference was held on November 18, 2015 in Irvine, CA for all California GEAR UP Staff.
The conference was kicked off by Ranjit Sidhu, President and CEO of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships. His leadership and vision contributed to the organic nature of the conference and his presence set a positive tone for the day:
“The CPI conference embodied exactly the spirit and attitude that GEAR UP needs to have nationally. It was clear that the participants were there to learn, share, and ultimately improve their impact on student readiness and success and to tighten their collaborative bond as professionals within the state. Under the banner of Together We Rise, you could sense that unified momentum building amongst the participants at the event.”
Programming for the conference included ‘Hot Topics’ Workshops created from content provided by the feedback and requests of participants during the planning phase of the conference. These topics were identified as ‘of most interest’ through a survey that was distributed to all California partnership Project Directors: Data and Reporting; Sustainability; School Culture; and Family Engagement. Feedback from the workshops will be shared and other topics explored as the work of the Initiative continues.
“The on-going collaboration between GEAR UP partnerships under the direction of our California State GEAR UP grant continues to provide excellent resources, connections and networking to enhance significant successes with GEAR UP students, parents, and communities.”
Julie Johnson, Director Mira Costa College GEAR UP
Networking Sessions were another highlight of the conference and provided an opportunity for those who share similar job roles and responsibilities to describe their project, discuss their successes and challenges, exchange ideas and practices, and find support and counsel from colleagues. These groups (Directors and Co-Directors; Program Management; Direct Services Team; Program Support Team) will continue their collective conversations via the CPI online network, webinars, conference calls, social media and in-person meetings.
At the conference, projects shared resources, ideas and swag during a Resource Fair. Participants also registered for the online community Google Group, which can be accessed on the CPI webpage. This network will enable programs across the state to stay connected, learn from one another, share information and engage in meaningful work together.
“Professional learning communities go by many different names and for California GEAR UP it is CPI. This initiative is “By GEAR UP and For GEAR UP” and will build upon the knowledge and expertise of GEAR UP professionals throughout our great State.”
Shelley Davis, Director California State GEAR UP
For further information visit www.castategearup.org