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.
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.”
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.
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
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.