Honoring a Lifetime of GEAR UP Achievement

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At the 2017 GEAR UP Capacity Building Workshop, California GEAR UP director Shelley Davis was presented with a lifetime achievement award. These are her remarks.
As the director of the California State GEAR UP program over the past 17 years, I have had the distinct pleasure to learn from and support a wonderful team of professionals in service to thousands of educators, students, families, and communities throughout the state of California. Our work has been driven by a deep commitment to social justice and equity for ALL in the pursuit of academic success. This is clearly demonstrated by the testimonials of those we serve, the positive outcomes of our efforts, the many lessons learned and contributions to the statewide and national school reform agenda.  While we have had a significant impact in this important work, there is still much to do.
Since 2001 I have worked alongside individuals and organizations that place a high value on educational equity and access which provided the foundation for true collaboration and meaningful relationships.
In the words of First Lady Michelle Obama: “I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong; so don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope; never fear.”
I live and work by these principles, which I believe are more important now than ever before. To my GEAR UP family and friends out there, know that there are moments every day that you have the opportunity to impact a students life. Seize these moments, work tirelessly to fight for those who don’t have a voice, and know that you will be on the right side of history.
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2015 GEAR UP National Conference Wrap Up

 July 19-22, 2015 San Francisco, California

The 2015 GEAR UP Annual Conference took take place July 19–22, 2015 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square in San Francisco, California.  The Annual Conference actualized the theme: Together we Rise and featured five plenary sessions, approximately 135 concurrent sessions, and a variety of pre- and post-conference events.

 

“Awesome NCCEP conference this year. My team was fully Engaged, Excited and Energized! The California delegation is mobilized to excel and prove why GEAR UP is the most effective college readiness program in the nation.  We will be sharing what we learned at the conference, focused on improving service to schools, students and families throughout our State.”
 Shelley Davis, Director

California GEAR UP
At the conference, California GEAR UP convened the second ever meeting of all the GEAR UP programs across the state, now called the California Partnership Initiative. The California Partnership Initiative (CPI) is a project of the California State GEAR UP Program. Since 1999, the California State program has enjoyed working in collaboration with GEAR UP partnership projects to reach our mutual goals: increasing college and career readiness for low income students and improving the college going culture in schools.  CPI was formalized at the National GEAR UP conference in Washington, DC in July 2014 and continued at the national conference this year. The CPI planning committee was formed and representatives from the partnership projects met again at the NCCEP CBW in Philadelphia in February 2015. This initiative brings together the 19 active partnership projects and the state grant to strengthen our efforts for ALL students throughout California.
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California GEAR UP was recognized this year as a leading program for both innovation and quality services, which was on display at a multitude of sessions from Parent Engagement in conjunction with PIQE to National GEAR UP week, to Common Core strategies, and the amazing work of Vista Preps focus on student teacher relationships.
“The conference was a wonderful reminder of the power of community.  Our leadership team was met with a warm welcome by GEAR UP personnel at every turn, whose genuine interest lies within their hearts as seen through their actions.  We were able to share ideas, which when  coupled with a genuine sharing of like-minded people whose focus is all the same allows one to come away with the architecture for the labor of passion that provides support to move mountains.”
Isaac Scharaga
Vista Preparatory Academy Principal/Conference Presenter
“In the spirit of Ranjit Sidhu, President and CEO of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, my reflections from the conference align with the his words on conference theme “we must celebrate our impact and rich history as a social movement, but at the same time, strive for even greater heights.” With the conference theme of unity: Together We Rise, the conference did inspire and motivate through speakers like Mary Mazzio and Sal Khan.”
Kay Coelho
California GEAR UP
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One of the highlights of the conference every year is the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy. In order to better support the GEAR UP mission nationwide, the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) created the GUALA program to show the GEAR UP dream actualized.  GUALA works to advance college and career readiness in communities by providing 12 months of training for Alumni Leaders on topics related to peer-to-peer outreach and mentoring, social media engagement, public speaking, and education policy. It’s really cool to see the academy members talk about their struggles and demonstrate their resiliency.
Sean Brennan
California GEAR UP
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The GEAR UP Youth Congress is a youth leadership program that implements a student-focused curriculum, blending leadership development with life skills and strategies for increased learning. Offered during the NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference each July, GEAR UP students who participate in the Youth Congress have the opportunity to experience a professional conference while interacting and learning with other students from around the country.

“The experience was great! I am a HUGE
fan of GEAR UP and would like to thank
everyone who made this possible. I may
have only been here a few days but the
experience will stay with me forever!
Hope I’m invited again.”

— Youth Congress 10th Grader

As in past conferences, we were all exhausted from the extensive professional development, collegially working with other GEAR UP professionals, and learning more about effective practices from programs across the country. Now we return to our own organization to share what we learned and to be more effective in the powerful work we do every day.

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2015 GEAR UP National Conference: TIPS

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 July 19-22, 2015 San Francisco, California

The 2015 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference will take place July 19–22, 2015 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square in San Francisco, California.  The Annual Conference features five plenary sessions, approximately 135 concurrent sessions, and a variety of pre- and post-conference events.

Access the 2015 Annual Conference schedule-at-a-glance.

Access the 2015 Annual Conference Preliminary Conference Program (Upated 6-26-15; Subject to Change)

Go the the home page of the conference registration web site.

Access conference materials (PowerPoints, handouts, etc. if/as available).

Learn about the theme and highlights of the 2015 Annual Conference.

Learn more about pre- and post-conference workshops and special conference programs.

To register now, click here.

Hotel registration is also open.  To make reservations with the Hilton San Francisco Union Squareclick here.  Group Code is “GEA.”

If you have any questions about the registration, please contact Suzan Shimko.

If you have any questions about the Annual Conference program, please contact John Donaldson.

If you are interested in exhibiting or sponsoring, take a look at the Sponsor, Exhibitor, and Advertiser Prospectus or contact Betty Paugh-Ortiz.

Get the most out of the conference!

1) REFLECT ON YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOALS BEFORE YOU ATTEND

2) FOCUS ON VARIETY

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

4) USE A TAG TEAM APPROACH TO ACCESSING CONCURRENT SESSIONS

5) PARTICIPATE

6) VENTURE INTO NEW TERRITORY

7) TAKE NOTES AND APPLY KEY LEARNING TO YOUR PRACTICE

8) ATTEND THE SOCIAL EVENTS

9) BRING CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS HOME

10) FOLLOW UP

#gearupworks 

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Join Us for 2015 GEAR UP Capacity Building Conference

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#gearupworks #cbw15

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.

#gearupworks #cbw15

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.

#gearupworks #cbw15

A Dream Realized: Stories From the National Conference

NCCEP 2014

This year marked the 15th anniversary of GEAR UP and the annual conference was held in Washington DC July 20-23, 2014.  The purpose of this conference is to highlight the importance of education/community partnerships and the accomplishments of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). This conference also serves to facilitate the forging of new alliances among faculty, to help attendees learn about other federal and foundation-sponsored college awareness efforts, to learn about other academic and student support programs, and to find new ways to engage local communities, businesses and professional associations in the work of GEAR UP partnerships. The conference is especially relevant to education practitioners, business leaders and policymakers who wish to learn more about creating and sustaining education collaboratives that can help improve public education and promote student academic achievement.

It was a great opportunity to network and connect with GEAR UP programs/projects around the county. I really appreciated the big picture scope of the work and mission of NCCEP. -Bernadette Ramirez, California GEAR UP

Attendees addended breakout session based on their areas of work and interest. California GEAR UP presented at four different sessions and was excited to share the success across California.

The daily speakers were amazing and reminded us of our purpose and the necessity of all of our contributions.  I left centered and reminded that there people all across the nation working with students to create pathways that provide equal access to higher education. -Crystal Robinson, California GEAR UP.

GUALA

The GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA) is a new initiative launched by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships with support from the national GEAR UP community and funding from The Kresge Foundation.  The GUALA is a 12-month program designed to train and engage GEAR UP alumni in advocacy and leadership, and work toward creating positive change in education policy for their younger peers. The GUALA will select 30 GEAR UP Alumni Leaders annually from across the country and grow the program to one per state over time. Stephani Ruiz, GUALA class 2014 shared her conference experience with us:

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet” -Aristotle. That is exactly what I saw at the national Gear Up conference. I saw many speakers, students, and presenters who all said the same thing. Education is hard, but if you keep at it, you can achieve! I tell my students that quote every time they feel discouraged and I tell myself that every single time I feel like quitting. I am a first generation student and for me my education journey was very challenging, but so worth it! I am near the end of my undergraduate journey and there have been times that I have wanted to quit, but my mentors have encouraged me to keep fighting. I am so thankful that GUALA has given me the same opportunity to encourage and help future leaders that are struggling to that they are worth it. I love what Gear Up has done to my community. Gear Up has been a huge part of my life and I am just so thankful that the roots may be bitter, but the fruit, is just so much more sweeter!

Fattah Google

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.) touted the progress of a college preparation program he helped bring into being 15 years ago, and announced that the annual GEAR UP convention would come to Philadelphia next year. And he did it while recording his own remarks through Google Glass. (If you want to see what it’s like to deliver a speech to a conference, see the video ). Fattah, of Philadelphia, sponsored the creation of GEAR UP during the Clinton administration, helping found a program that prepares low-income students for college. In his speech at the program’s annual convention last week, Fattah said it had now aided 13 million young people. Quoting former President Clinton’s comments at the 1998 bill signing, Fattah said, “we want our young people to have every opportunity to live and achieve their dreams.”

One aspect of the conference many attendees were excited about was visiting with their local members of congress as part of ‘Hill Visits’. GEAR UP practitioners spent weeks leading up to their capitol trip scheduling appointments with not only members of congress but also their education staff to share the accomplishments of GEAR UP in their districts. California GEAR UP staff met with Congressman Adam Schiff (D., CA) and invited him to visit our local GEAR UP schools in his district.
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Did you attend this year? What what your experience?
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2014 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference in Washington, DC

Register Now!

2014 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference July 20–23, 2014 Washington Hilton, Washington, DC On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education and NCCEP, we are pleased to invite you to attend the 2014 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference, celebrating GEAR UP’s 15th Anniversary!  The theme of this year’s conference is “A Dream Realized.”  To access the online registration, click the Register Now button below.

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.

Click here to access the 2014 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference schedule-at-a-glance.
Click here to access the 2014 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference program book.
Click here to access the Sponsor, Exhibitor, and Advertiser Prospectus.
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GEAR UP/NCCEP 2013 National Conference

NCCEP 2013 students

The 2013 GEAR UP National Conference was held in San Francisco this year, and we were excited to participate and have a prominent roll. This national convening of GEAR UP professionals, parents, students, policymakers, and community partners is coordinated by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships(NCCEP) and planned in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of this conference is to highlight the importance of education/community partnerships and the accomplishments of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). This conference also serves to facilitate the forging of new alliances among faculty, to help attendees learn about other federal and foundation-sponsored college awareness efforts, to learn about other academic and student support programs, and to find new ways to engage local communities, businesses and professional associations in the work of GEAR UP partnerships. The conference is especially relevant to education practitioners, business leaders and policymakers who wish to learn more about creating and sustaining education collaboratives that can help improve public education and promote student academic achievement.

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California GEAR UP director, Shelley Davis, welcomed the attendees on Monday morning with inspiring remarks.

WELCOME to California, your host for the 2013 National GEAR UP Conference. 

WELCOME to the State in which there is an increasing gap between the performance of groups of students at every educational level.  That gap is especially significant because this is the state in which students of color are the majority in our public school classrooms;

WELCOME to California whose voters just increased their own taxes by between $7 and 9 Biliion dollars primarily to fund public schools and higher education;

WELCOME to the State that just enacted a funding formula for its public schools that recognizes that low-income, English Language Learners, and foster youth need additional resources to be successful;

WELCOME to California in which ALL students who have attended California high schools for 3 three years can now receive State financial aid to pursue their higher educational dreams;

WELCOME to the State where our Governor has been the youngest state Chief Executive in the country and now serves as the oldest;

WELCOME to California, the 13th State in the union, where any two people who love each other can choose to marry; and,

WELCOME to San Francisco – the host city of the International America’s Cup and Home of the World Series Baseball Champions for two of the last three years. 

As we begin the 2013 Annual Conference, we are cautiously optimistic and will all need to be thoughtful in order to address the persistent challenges facing the GEAR UP community.  We must be vigilant in advocating for ALL STUDENTS in this state and in every state.  With the leadership of Congressman Chaka Fattah, James Davis of the United States Department of Education, and Nathan Monell and the NCCEP team, we are up to the challenge. 

WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA – LET’S GET BUSY! 

Roll Call of the GEAR UP States

The Roll Call of the GEAR UP States is a much-anticipated tradition at the Conference. Each state is called, celebrated, and cheered by the audience as a way to welcome all participants to an exciting few days of learning and sharing. Congressman Chaka Fattah spoke during the highly anticipated Roll Call of the GEAR UP States.  Speaking directly to the students in attendance he encouraged them not to let anyone deter them from their dream of a college education. “There will be people who will tell you that you don’t have what it takes to succeed.  Don’t listen to them,” he said. “GEAR UP was created and designed to make sure that any student who wants to succeed in school will have all the tools necessary to help them do just that. GEAR UP will help you reach higher to be more, to be that person you want and know you can be.”

 

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Concurrent Sessions

The conference program includes concurrent sessions focused on impacting middle school and high school students, their families, faculty and administrators, student services and college access professionals, program evaluators, parent involvement coordinators, business and community partners, and education policymakers. California GEAR UP was proud to share Everett Middle School’s accomplishments in using the School Self Assessment Rubric in their San Francisco Middle School. Everett presented with California GEAR UP Whole School Services Coach Michele Molitor.

fattah google

Plenary Sessions

Plenary sessions serve as the core of the conference curriculum and are designed to provide the context for concurrent session dialogues. Plenary sessions will feature nationally recognized individuals in the field of education and workforce development, as well as educational policymakers, political appointees, congressional staff, business leaders, and others who champion the cause of improving public education and making postsecondary education more accessible to underrepresented communities.

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2013 NCCEP/GEAR UP Youth Congress

NCCEP’s Youth Congress is a youth leadership program that implements a student-focused curriculum, blending leadership development with life skills and strategies for increased learning. GEAR UP  youth who participate in the Youth Congress had the opportunity to experience a professional conference while interacting and learning with other students from around the country. The students will learn strategies for increasing learning capacity, as well as relationship and communication skill-building. They will also experience leadership skill development, while strengthening their confidence to effectively tell their story.

2013 California GEAR UP Partnership Meeting

At each national conference California GEAR UP hosts a discussion with the other GEAR UP programs across the state. This year the conversation focused on Common Core State Standards implementation and was attended by GEAR UP professionals from across the state.

We were once again honored to host the National Conference in California this year. If you attended please let us know what you thought of the conference in the comments section of this blog.

For pictures from the National Conference, check out our Facebook page.

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California Proudly Hosts 2013 GEAR UP National Conference

The 2013 GEAR UP National Conference will be in San Francisco this year, and we are excited to share conference information and registration. This national convening of GEAR UP professionals, parents, students, policymakers, and community partners is coordinated by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) and planned in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of this conference is to highlight the importance of education/community partnerships and the accomplishments of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). This conference also serves to facilitate the forging of new alliances among faculty, to help attendees learn about other federal and foundation-sponsored college awareness efforts, to learn about other academic and student support programs, and to find new ways to engage local communities, businesses and professional associations in the work of GEAR UP partnerships. The conference is especially relevant to education practitioners, business leaders and policymakers who wish to learn more about creating and sustaining education collaboratives that can help improve public education and promote student academic achievement.

Roll Call of the GEAR UP States

The Roll Call of the GEAR UP States is a much-anticipated tradition at the Conference. Each state is called, celebrated, and cheered by the audience as a way to welcome all participants to an exciting few days of learning and sharing.

Concurrent Sessions

The conference program includes concurrent sessions focused on impacting middle school and high school students, their families, faculty and administrators, student services and college access professionals, program evaluators, parent involvement coordinators, business and community partners, and education policymakers. Sessions will include panels of experts, researchers, practitioners, how-to presentations, research presentations, and descriptions of the most effective GEAR UP practices. These sessions will present proven models and promising practices.

Plenary Sessions

Plenary sessions serve as the core of the conference curriculum and are designed to provide the context for concurrent session dialogues. Plenary sessions will feature nationally recognized individuals in the field of education and workforce development, as well as educational policymakers, political appointees, congressional staff, business leaders, and others who champion the cause of improving public education and making postsecondary education more accessible to underrepresented communities.

2013 NCCEP/GEAR UP Youth Congress
Sponsored by Texas Instruments

NCCEP’s Youth Congress is a youth leadership program that implements a student-focused curriculum, blending leadership development with life skills and strategies for increased learning. The Youth Congress is part of NCCEP’s Annual Conference being held this year in San Francisco from July 14 – 17, 2013.
GEAR UP youth who participate in the Youth Congress will have the opportunity to experience a professional conference while interacting and learning with other students from around the country. The students will learn strategies for increasing learning capacity, as well as relationship and communication skill-building. They will also experience leadership skill development, while strengthening their confidence to effectively tell their story.
GEAR UP Programs that wish to register students to participate in the 2013 Youth Congress must first register the student as part of the regular NCCEP Annual Conference registration. In order to be fully registered, the GEAR UP Program Director (or designee) must coordinate the completion of the necessary permission forms and guidelines for youth to participate. These forms can be completed and submitted prior to registration, or you can find a link to the forms as part of the registration.

For any questions or to learn more contact NCCEP’s Director of National Programs,Diane_Charles@edpartnerships.org
Click Here to download the 2013 form.

Post-Conference Events

NCCEP Evaluators’ Institute

Evaluators’ Institute 101 – The Basics of GEAR UP Evaluation

Wednesday, July 17 • 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Session Description: Evaluation has always been a necessary component of administrating a GEAR UP grant. While we often think of the U.S. Department of Education’s Annual Performance Report (APR) when it comes to evaluating GEAR UP, it is important to realize that this tool alone does not provide the depth and breadth needed to adequately evaluate individual GEAR UP programs or entire GEAR UP partnerships. Other evaluation is needed to continually improve our work and demonstrate the effectiveness of the GEAR UP program.
This workshop will provide participants with:
• An understanding of the GEAR UP Annual Performance Report (APR) and how to conduct effective program evaluation beyond the APR.
• An understanding of the types of program evaluations their GEAR UP grant should be undertaking.
• Tips for negotiating relationships with other GEAR UP program and institutional staff.
• An opportunity to interact with and learn from experienced GEAR UP evaluators.
• Materials and suggested topical resources for further exploration following the Institute.
Facilitated by GEAR UP evaluators, this session will provide new GEAR UP evaluators with a foundation for their critical evaluation work. Materials will be provided.

Who Should Attend? Evaluators new to the field or new to GEAR UP are encouraged to attend this session. A basic understanding of GEAR UP and evaluation methods is desirable, but not required.

Evaluators’ Institute 201 – An Introduction to Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses for GEAR UP Evaluators 
Wednesday, July 17 • 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Session Description: GEAR UP evaluation activities hold much promise to be more than a simple exercise of collecting and reporting APR data. However, once you have the data there are so many options for analyzing and reporting. Join seasoned GEAR UP evaluators and analysts to learn about specific quantitative and qualitative methodologies for analyzing GEAR UP data to answer some questions about your program.
Through the sharing of analytical knowledge by the GEAR UP evaluator community, this workshop will provide participants with:

Evaluators’ Institute 301 – Creating Comparison Groups through Propensity Score Matching 
Wednesday, July 17 • 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Session Description: GEAR UP evaluation has become more rigorous over the past few years. Grantees are encouraged to use comparison groups to analyze GEAR UP data. Given the limitations on educational research for experimental studies, Propensity Score Matching is a leading method for creating comparison groups for data analyses. To advance GEAR UP evaluation, GEAR UP grantees must evaluate their data in ways to answer questions about program effectiveness.

U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP Sessions

Annual Performance Report 
Wednesday, July 17 • 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM

The U.S. Department of Education will provide technical assistance designed to assist grantees in completing an Annual Performance Report (APR). Each grantee’s annual and cumulative result has a direct impact on the future of the GEAR UP program as appropriations are connected to program results aggregated from individual project data. This session will review the process for completing the web-based APR.

Documenting the Match
Wednesday, July 17 • 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

This session is designed for GEAR UP project directors and budget representatives who want to learn about the rules and regulations associated with matching GEAR UP funds. The session will explore allowable, allocable and reasonable matching purchases as well as unallowable costs that grantees should avoid.

Final Performance Report 
Wednesday, July 17 • 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

The U.S. Department of Education will provide information to grantees regarding the closeout of their grants. This session will include information about how to request a no-cost extension period and detailed information about the Final Performance Report that each grantee is required to file at the end of the grant performance period.

Click HERE or a complete conference description and registration information.

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Register: 2013 GEAR UP Capacity Building Workshop

With the 2013 GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop (CBW) just around the corner, it is a good idea to get registered before the holidays!

The dates for the upcoming CBW are February 3 – 6, 2013 – at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. To learn about the tracks for the conference, the schedule and the hotel, click here.

The daily learning tracks at NCCEP’s Capacity-Building Workshop are designed to provide information and practical tips and tools that you and your GEAR UP team can incorporate into your current projects. There is also time to network with fellow GEAR UP professionals from other projects to hear about ways to strengthen GEAR UP programming. Roundtables are offered as another venue to explore ideas with colleagues in a smaller, informal setting. In keeping with the Capacity-Building Workshop approach, the general sessions provide both a networking time and a chance to hear speakers elaborate on the key issues facing higher education and the GEAR UP community today.

You don’t want to miss out on this valuable learning experience. I hope to see you in February at the CBW!

Nathan Monell, CAE
President & CEO
National Council for Community and Education Partnerships

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Shelley Davis Speaks at Capitol Hill GEAR UP Briefing

On Tuesday July 24, members of the GEAR UP community held a briefing on capitol hill entitled: GEAR UP: The College Access Program that Drives Education and Economic Success in Your Community. The briefing, hosted by NCCEP, was convened to share success stories and to learn why GEAR UP is widely viewed as the most effective solution for increasing academic achievement, high school graduation rates, college enrollment rates, and economic development in high poverty communities.

Speakers:

Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA‐2)

Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (TX‐15)

Lisa Brady Gill, Texas Instruments (invited)

Shelley Davis, Director, California GEAR UP

Hector Garza, Alumnus from Texas Region One ESC GEAR UP

Joshua Sparks, Alumnus from GEAR UP Kentucky

Nathan R. Monell, Executive Director, NCCEP (Moderator)

As one of the featured speakers, California GEAR UP Director Shelley Davis shared the success of GEAR UP in California and also how GEAR UP is addressing the state’s education challenges. Here is an excerpt:

In our state, the challenges for achieving educational equity are unprecedented. Funding for K-12 public schools remains a critical challenge while tuition and fees for postsecondary education continues to rise. The nearly four million students who are Latino or African-American have a 1 in 20 chance of graduating from a California public university. Clearly, our prosperity is dependent on us changing these odds. With an increasingly diverse student population and an ever widening achievement gap, the GEAR UP mandate to serve low-income students in high poverty communities – most of whom are African-American and Latino –positions us to address this challenge 24 hours a day every day.

In California, GEAR UP funds have supported the State grant and over 50 partnership projects since 1999. The California State grant was funded for its third six-year cycle on October 1, 2011. Working in partnership with other college access programs and initiatives, our program goal is: Develop and sustain the organizational capacity of middle schools to prepare all students for high school and higher education through a statewide network of support for adults — counselors, faculty, school leaders and families —who influence middle school students.

We believe that with enhanced organizational capacity, schools will be able to educate all students to the high levels of mastery required for college admission and graduation as well as for the increasingly technological world where the contributions of graduates are needed for both individual and societal benefit.

The briefing included testimony from student alumnus and representatives Fattah and Hinojosa, all sharing the power and impact GEAR UP has and continues to have across the country in creating a college-going culture.

For more information on GEAR UP success stories, check out the GEAR UP Works! blog prepared by NCCEP.