Family Supports

More Changes to FAFSA List

(from Inside Higher Ed) States worry that a Department of Education plan to curtail their access to data from the federal student aid form will cause headaches for state aid awards. The U.S. Department of Education is planning to further restrict how it shares information about students’ college preferences, but some state officials are concerned the changes will make it more difficult for them to award funds from state financial aid programs. The department has already stopped providing colleges with the entire list of institutions that students express interest in attending when filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known …

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School Success Stories: Using Tech to Support Students

One of our amazing schools, Jefferson Middle School, has a story to tell. We caught up with Darlene Pope, teacher and GEAR UP Leadership Team Member, who shared with us some of the technology she uses in her class to support her students and stay in touch with families. Zoom video conferencing (and it gaining in popularity across many fields, not just education) is free up to 40 minutes, but I have a subscription. I meet every Wed evening in a virtual online face to face session with students and parents. I meet for an hour. I answer clarifying questions. I …

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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 …

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Transform Your Tax Refund Into Bright College Future

Now that tax season is upon us, use this time to review your college savings goals and take another look at your savings strategy. Saving now can make for a brighter future later. So, as you gather up your W2 and other tax-related materials, consider opening or making a contribution to a ScholarShare account. ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan, can provide parents and relatives – anyone saving for a child’s college education – with valuable tax advantages. Consider putting your tax refund to work in three simple ways: Have the Franchise Tax Board deposit some or all of your …

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California GEAR UP: Partnering for Student Success

By Christian Smith – CA GEAR UP Project Coordinator California GEAR UP: Partnering for Student Success The CA GEAR UP partnership with the California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI) has had great results during the 2014-2015 school year. By working in collaboration with PIQE (Parent Institute for Quality Education) we now offer GEAR UP middle schools and their feeder high schools on-site training, utilizing Californiacolleges.edu as a tool to engage students and families and help promote a college going culture on campus.  Students will receive a systematic baseline of guidance and support through this technological tool for the college and career planning and preparation …

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Partner Spotlight: Coalition for Educational Partnerships

About CEP: Mission and Belief Founded in 2003, the Coalition for Educational Partnerships (CEP) is a non-profit organization driven by a belief in educational access and equity for all students. CEP’s mission is to promote educational equity by assisting schools, educators, families and community-based organizations to engage in practices that enable all children to reach their highest potential and increase their readiness for post-secondary higher education. Our experience suggests that deep and lasting organizational change requires collective effort, time and commitment towards embracing different ways of seeing, being and doing. CEP assists our partner clients with creating a culture of …

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Start the New School Year Off With a Plan to Save for College

  New classes, new teachers and reunions with old friends make the beginning of the school year an exciting time for students and parents. But also a time to remember that for many families, college is just around the corner and saving money now will pay off later. Saving early helps ease the burden of rising tuition and living expenses and makes it more likely your child will attend. A great way to save is by opening or contributing to a ScholarShare account. ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan, can provide parents and relatives – anyone saving for a child’s …

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An Interview With GEAR UP Principal Esperanza Arce

Esperanza Arce is the Principal of the Vista Verde Middle School Cougars in Moreno Valley, CA. Vista Verde has been a California GEAR UP school for 3 years. #### Please tell us about how Vista Verde became STW-TCS redesigned model middle school and as an AVID demonstration school and what it means to you. Vista Verde became STW-TCS  (California Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage) redesigned model middle school and an AVID demonstration school because of all the hard work and countless hours our teachers, staff, students, and community have dedicated.  Our teachers have common prep periods daily, so they have many …

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College Week at Everett Middle School is a BIG Success.

We are lucky to have a guest blogger Michele Molitor, California GEAR UP School Services Coach, share with us some of the systemic success at Everett Middle School in San Francisco. Everett Middle School, located in the Mission District of San Francisco, continues to lead the way as a “School on the Move” for California GEAR UP!  Everett has set some big goals, and has had amazing results, including an increase API of 40 and 54 points over the last two years respectively. (insert dramatic pause here, these are MASSIVE API gains) This spring has been a busy time for …

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Partner Spotlight: PIQE’s Maria Elena Meraz

PIQE is one of California GEAR UP‘s long lasting and most trusted partnerships. With our post today we have the pleasure to interview Maria Elena Meraz, Executive Director of PIQE’s Los Angeles regional office. She responsible for program development, quality control, marketing, and training PIQE directors, instructors, coordinators, recruiters, and other personnel. She maintains program supervision, enrollment, attendance, completion, and communication with staff from PIQE school sites. How did you start working with families and why are you passionate about it? My work with parents began in 1993 when my son started elementary school. I was new to the country …

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