Sec of Education Honors Everett Middle School With Visit



SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee visited a middle school in the Mission District this morning to call attention to the improvements made in the wake of federal funding to the city’s school district.

Duncan, Lee and other top school officials held a roundtable discussion during a visit to Everett Middle School, one of nine schools in San Francisco that was awarded federal School Improvement Grants in 2011 and current California GEAR UP School.

The historically low-performing schools in the city’s Mission and Bayview districts were given $45 million over a three-year period that went toward professional development and coaching for school staff, among other improvements, according to school district officials.

Since 2008, those nine schools have had an 18.4 percent gain in English language arts proficiency and a 26.9 percent gain in math proficiency, district officials said.

Duncan said he was “absolutely inspired” by the improvements made at Everett.

He said during today’s visit, he talked to an eighth-grader there who “said she was terrified to come to this school as a sixth grader, and now this school has a wait list.”

Lee said the federal funding has helped reduce barriers for low-income students and those who speak English as a second language.

“Once we get rid of those barriers, our kids who come from all over the world will compete on an international basis,” he said.

Duncan said he is working to get more federal funding from Congress, but “they look at education as an expense instead of an investment.”

He said in the meantime, San Francisco can come up with creative ways to maintain funding for the schools, noting that the mayor has sought help from the private and nonprofit sectors.

“People want to be part of a winner,” Duncan said. “We’ve gotten something started and he’s got a heck of a story to tell.”

(excerpts reposted with permission from ABC news)


California GEAR UP schools believe:

  • That ALL students deserve an equitable education – one that provides the knowledge and skills to choose and be successful in postsecondary education pursuits;
  • That students must master rigorous academic standards to successfully progress along the pipleline from middle school to high school and into and through college;
  • That in order for students to plan for college they need to see themselves in college;
  • That overcoming the challenges faced by low-income, first-generation college-bound students requires the continued engagement of school leaders, families and communities.

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 them as they have engaged their staff and students in a variety of College Going Culture activities.  Their latest success story was College Week – held March 8th through March 15th.

They had a terrific line up of activities for parents and students alike.  They kicked College Week off on Friday evening with Parent University.  This involved inviting parents, students and community members to attend a dinner and college presentation.  There were a variety of providers that shared information on college going programs and college information, which was relevant in helping their students prepare for college.  The community partners included:

There was so much enthusiasm for all the terrific information being shared, dinner was delayed so everyone could soak it all up! While everyone shared in a meal together, a powerpoint presentation was shared, reviewing the A-G requirements, college entrance requirements, where to go for help and information about the upcoming college week on campus.

Earlier in the day, all students received the “College Making It Happen” booklet along with additional information on college and curriculum from their homeroom teachers on how to find the answers to important college prep questions.

Starting on Monday, there was a series of different activities each day for the students.  They received a Student Passport, which they were to fill out during the week as they attended the different activities. A completely filled out passport earned them an A-G t-shirt given out by SF Promise.

Here is just a snapshot of the fun activities they had for the students:

  • Each day homeroom teachers encouraged students to fill out their passport and learn more about what it takes to go to college, plus they had different college talk points to share with them as well.
  • There was a lunch time “rapper” that talked about college and the A-G requirements
  • Students had a chance to get their faces painted with different school logos and take a picture with their high school graduation year as the backdrop.
  • Students had the opportunity to join different college clubs.
  • There was even a booth there about credit cards, to warn students of the interest rates when they borrow money.
  • They brought in real “live” college students too. Students had to interview them and fill out their college bingo sheet to win prizes.
  • Friday was the big finale with a college debrief in their homeroom, followed by a quick student survey.  The Gear Up leadership team also put on a school wide assembly that included:
    • Review of college week photos
    • A student led video with Q&A about college
    • An A-G powerpoint to continue to engrain these important points for students
    • Raffle winners were announced
    • A “Tell us about your college experience” teacher panel was conducted so students in the audience could ask questions of the five different teachers on the panel.
    • And last but not least, students got to silk screen on their A-G shirts “College is my Hustle” or  “I Hecka Heart College”

Overall, it was a powerful week for teachers and students alike.  Big kudos to the entire GEAR UP leadership team that coordinated all of the efforts and spent 2 months planning all of the activities!

This huge effort was only piece of the puzzle too. Everett has a myriad of other activities going on an any given time to help raise student awareness of what’s needed to go to college, increase parent and community participation and improve student test scores.  It’s no wonder that Everett’s API score increased by 94 points in two years! Under the leadership and direction of Principal Richard Curci, Everett’s faculty and student body continue to raise the bar for success – knowing that when given the information, guidance and support Every Student can have the opportunity to go to college!

If you have questions about Everett’s successful College Week activities, contact:

Tracy Brown-Gallardo

Community Schools Coordinator

Everett Middle School

Everett Middle School Hosts Family University

California GEAR UP Family Initiatives Project (FIP) offers five-week sessions or one day, 5 hour sessions at selected schools based on the need for family programming strategies to enhance the participation of English speaking families at California GEAR UP schools. Schools take the lead in making community connections to ensure full participation. GEAR UP facilitators lead the interactive sessions. FIP Family University sample outcomes:

  • FIP provides families with support, information and resources to increase family participation with the school and community so they can help their children succeed in school for a better future.
  • The family gatherings focus on family involvement and positive proactive communication
  • Helping families navigate the school system on the pathway to college.
  • Discuss financial aid, A-G  and graduation requirements
  • Positive family communication and interaction
  • College: Making it Happen materials.
  • Priority application status for FIP graduates at California State University campuses

Here are some comments from attendees:

“Very good keep it up:  Thank you for coming.”

“Thank you for making this workshop fun and very informative.”

“From this workshop I am better equipped to help my son and family with college and personal affairs.”

“Thank you one of the best meetings I have been to. Thank you.”

“This is a very informative and excellent seminar for parents and students.  Thank you very much.”

“This workshop was very informative with lots of information that will be very useful in preparing for college.  I am going to set up that college account.”

“I feel that the workshop was really educational for myself and child.  Real helpful information thank you for your support.”

“Extremely informative and engaging workshop, we need to  present this same information at the beginning of the school year.  Details about how to conduct parent conference were helpful.  African American parents felt heard and validated.”

“The workshop was very informative, educational and exciting.  It wasn’t boring kept me entertained.”

“I think the presentation was good and informative and done at a good pace.  Presenters were well prepared and handouts were excellent.”

Todays event at Everett MS featured laptop giveaway, excellent participation, and a tasty breakfast and lunch for all attendees.

Latptops and continual support for Everett was provided by Extreme Learning/Avanza Online.

Agenda for National GEAR UP Day San Francisco Announced



Sponsored by California GEAR UP


September 17, 2009


1-pm-2pm       Horace Mann Students Arrive at Everett Middle School

  • Video viewing: “GEAR UP 10 Years” and NCCEP: 16 Summers
  •  Welcome Address from School Principals 
  •  Keynote Speaker: Rod Santos, San Francisco City College
  •  Mayor Gavin Newsom staff: Presentation to GEAR UP programs 
  • ACT-Explore student announcement 

2pm – 3pm      The College Experience: Student workshops

  • SF State student panelists
  • SF Ed Fund (translation)
  • Student QandA
  • *Raffle for Prizes and Gifts*


Ice Cream Social: Sponsored by California GEAR UP



San Francisco Unified School District GEAR UP
Everett and Horace Mann Middle School
San Francisco Promise
San Francisco City College
San Francisco State University
San Francisco Ed. Fund
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom

California GEAR UP announces statewide events


Thursday, September 17 at 1:00pm Everett and Horace Mann Middle Schools in San Francisco will host a collaborative “Unity University” higher education event for students at Everett Middle School. This event will include proclamations from Mayor Gavin Newsom as well as breakout activities for students engaging them in the college going culture of their school. 


Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell will join California GEAR UP on September 18, 2009 from 8am-10am Valley High School, Elk Grove School District, Sacramento, CA.  GEAR UP schools across California will also host celebrations.   Open media and education professionals invitation. 

If you have any questions about these events, please contact California GEAR UP Communications Director: