GEAR UP Students Support Speaker Perez at Press Conference

California GEAR UP Students and staff, University of California President Mark Yudof and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott joined Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Marty Block at a State Capitol press conference on June 3 to voice their support for higher education provisions in the Assembly Democrats’ California Jobs Budget. Speaker Perez spoke about how important higher education programs are to the state in addressing economic and employment woes.

“Educational opportunity is central to creating the kind of quality, high-paying jobs that will lead California back to a strong and lasting economic recovery,” Pérez said. “This is a budget plan that reflects the values of California by protecting education and preserving the pathway to higher education.”

Students from Valley High School, a California GEAR UP school, were there to support the speaker and the higher education provisions in the California Jobs Budget.

Also in attendance was Ben Quillian, Executive, Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer of the California State University; Roberto Torres, Vice President of the California State Students Association; Reid Milburn, President of the Student Senate of the California Community Colleges; Victor Sanchez, President of the University of California Students Association; Diana Fuentes-Michel, Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission; Karen Humphrey, Executive Director of the California Postsecondary Education Commission; Jonathan Brown, President of the Association of Independent California Colleges & Universities; Erica Romero, Western States Director for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; Michele Siqueiros, Executive Director of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Special thanks to Max Espinoza from the Speakers office and Michele Siqueiros and Jessie Ryan from the Campaign for College Opportunity for taking time to speak with Valley GEAR UP students after the press conference.

To see video or read the transcript from the press conference, please visit Speaker Perez’ site here.

Valley High School is Number 1 in California Similar Schools

Click on the image above to view the video!

As many of you who follow this blog know, California GEAR UP works with Valley High School in Sacramento, CA in a unique collaboration that provides the school with innovative resources and support services for students, families, teachers, counselors and administrators to create a community-wide college-going culture.

This year Valley High was excited to announce the remarkable achievement on the statewide API. The API reports include a “similar schools rank.” This information shows where a school ranks on a scale of 1–10, compared with 100 other schools with similar demographic characteristics. California public schools serve students with many different backgrounds and needs. As a result, schools face different educational challenges. The similar schools ranks for 2010 allow schools to look at their academic performance compared to other schools with some of the same opportunities and challenges.

Here are some of Valley’s newsworthy accomplishments:

  • Valley is the Number 1 (non charter) in Similar Schools and demographics in California.
  • Of 100 Similar Schools in California, Valley scored a perfect 10. They are the only non-charter to do so!
  • Valley had the highest API score of any non-charter school and had the 8th highest API overall.

The VHS increases are very impressive even compared to the new schools (Monterey Trails, Pleasant Grove and Franklin) which includes more affluent students who moved to these schools from the Valley area. Valley is one of the oldest schools in EGUSD and it compares very well indeed! GEAR UP has much to be proud of in providing academic support.

–Josephine Blick, Valley GEAR UP academic advisor

These accomplishments come along with more great Valley news: a 24 point increase in API since last year!

Special thanks to principal Keven MacDonald and the Valley High School staff for making these achievements possible. Thanks to Chris Wong for the video production!

Valley-GEAR UP Collaboration Celebrates 50 Student Awards

On Monday, May 17 the California GEAR UP-Valley High School Collaborative celebrated it’s annual Education Trust Awards with a ceremony and dinner. 50 student awards were handed out, each with a value of $2,000 which will be held in trust in a Scholarshare account until the students enroll in college.

The California GEAR UP Program’s expectation is that offering a monetary incentive to students would stimulate the entire family and school community to support his or her preparation for college. College savings accounts are established in the name of each of the selected students that will accrue interest until students enroll in college. Students can access these funds to pay for college expenses once they enroll in a college or university.

Here are some quotes from those in attendance:
The energy in the room was like Christmas Day! Excitement was everywhere. -GEAR UP Staff
GEAR UP provides a remarkable service to these students, as they are handed a direct link to their future. -Parent
The Valley – GEAR UP collaboration is a model of success. -Valley High teacher

California GEAR UP is excited to provide  288 awards to students across the state during May and June at Education Trust Award celebrations organized by Leadership Teams at participating schools. We will be sharing these events with you on our blog, so be sure to check in with us daily!

Special thanks to Chris Wong for the pictures and video (coming soon).

Valley GEAR UP Recognized for Support of Injured Student

Valley GEAR UP Staff (pictured above with award) received recognition for fund raising and support. Will Barker was a recipient of a California GEAR UP Education Trust Award.

On October 23, 2009 during a football game between Davis and Valley high schools, Valley student Will Barker was attempting to make a tackle and was seriously injured.

Davis doctors administered emergency care and Valley coach Preston Jackson accompanied Will in the ambulance to U.C. Davis Medical Center. Will’s family, the Valley coaching staff, players and Athletic Director Stephanie Haas kept vigil while Will underwent six hours of surgery. Will suffered a broken vertebra in his neck. After six difficult weeks at U.C. Davis Medical Center, Will was transferred to Shriner’s Hospital for Children. He has made some gains in the movement of his arms and legs.  He continues to work hard at his therapy. Will often states to visitors, “I am going to walk again.”

During his recovery, a tremendous outpouring of support has come from the Davis and Valley high school communities as well as several other schools, California GEAR UP, other organizations, teams and businesses.

Present at the recognition ceremony were Principal Keven McDonald and Will Barker’s mother, Dorothy Barker, Debi Flory, Davis Booster Club, Stephanie Haas, Valley High School Athletic Director, Ron Riebeek, Valley GEAR UP Coordinator, and many others.

If you would like to support Will and his family, please contact Stephanie Hass, Athletic Director at Valley High School by calling (916) 689-6500. You can also support Will by making a donation to the address below:

William Barker Donation Fund

Attn: Stephanie Hass

300 Ehrhardt Avenue

Sacramento, CA 95823-5699


Valley High GEAR UP to host Business and Community Breakfast

valley bkfst flyer

Valley High School Collaborative is a California GEAR UP project that empasizes creating a college-going culture through whole school support.  For more information on this event or the new Valley High School Family Center, please contact Anita Royston: anitaroyston@gmail.com.

Valley High School has College-Going Class

cohort gym

“This is very good news.  The most important point for future planning, in both student and school-based services, is the anecdotal observation of the impact of school-wide support.  School-wide engagement over multiple years is key to the commitment needed from all to make real change. Congratulations!”

Don Watson, Ed.D, Watson Education Services

Valley High School,  a California GEAR UP school, is hitting it’s stride this year. Valley High was recently awarded the Bronze Medal from US News and World Report, ranking them among the elite schools in the country.

In addition, this week Valley learned that they have steadily increased the percentage of seniors who have met their A-G requirements, thus making them college ready. The data also puts them among the top schools in the Elk Grove School District who are preparing their students for college using the A-G standards.

As a California GEAR UP School, Valley receives services from a team of GEAR UP professionals whose mission is to create a College-Going Culture throughout the school. This is achieved through a combination of direct students services, family engagement and support, whole school services, and a unique Leadership Skills Initiative cohort and curriculum. It is through a strategic whole-school approach to academic excellence and college access that California GEAR UP has been a key factor in Valley High School’s recent success.

For additional information on California GEAR UP, please visit our website.