National GEAR UP Week 2015

Jones JH NGUW15

As we approach the end of National GEAR UP Week for 2015, we’re thrilled with the outcome of your efforts to showcase the people, strategies, and impact of GEAR UP on diverse communities in nearly every corner of the country. We’ve certainly had a blast seeing the joyful faces of GEAR UP, witnessing school-based events in action, and sharing the resounding message that GEAR UP truly works. We are amazed by your creativity and we’re certain that your hard work has paid off.

The stories are still coming in and we plan to showcase them here and on Facebook.

Jones Junior High School in Baldwin Park, CA had a blast with the full week of activities that included a ‘Whip It’ flash mob!

Monday 9/21 – College Posters in the Quad, Mascot Game, Teachers share college experiences in all classes

Tuesday 9/22 – Map of U.S. with staff members colleges displayed in the cafeteria, A-G Jeopardy game in the Library

Wednesday 9/23 – Colleges Celebrities Attended Powerpoint, Pledge Cards in the Quad

Thursday 9/24 – College Cheers Flash Mob, Art Contest Gallery Walk in Library, College T-Shirt Competition

Friday 9/25 – Judging of Poster Contest, Mascot Game PowerPoint, Raffle

Saturday 9/26 – BPUSD College Fair at BPHS


National GEAR UP Week is Coming: Sept 23-27


Join thousands of students, parents, teachers, partners and college access professionals from across the nation to celebrate GEAR UP and the successes of your hard work and dedication!

National GEAR UP Week is an opportunity for you to raise awareness in your community about the positive impact GEAR UP is having locally.  It’s a time to engage all your stakeholders – local, state and federal elected officials, funders, partners, as well as local, state and regional media – to share your program’s accomplishments and to get them more involved with your services to students and families.

Don’t miss this opportunity to join Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA-02), GEAR UP’s Architect and Champion, as well as U.S. Department of Education officials, to commemorate your hard work and the progress our students are making towards achieving their life-long dream of going to college!

Follow all the activities here:

2013 National GEAR UP Week – September 23-27!

Plan now for success in September!

We encourage you to use the resources below to start planning and preparing for 2013 National GEAR UP Week.

Please share your plans, ideas, and materials with us so we can all benefit from your creativity and energy.  Let us know if you have any questions or comments about National GEAR UP Week and check back often for additional/updated resources.

Here is the California GEAR UP Dream Wall Activity: Dream Wall Activity

Inspiration & Resources:

Press & Media

  • Download the National GEAR UP Week logo
  • Media Advisory – This template is to notify media outlets in your area to cover the event you are hosting.  Media advisories are distributed ahead of the event so that outlets can schedule and plan to cover your event.
  • Press Release – This template will help you create some “buzz” about your event.  You can send it out before or after the event takes place, just make sure you edit it accordingly!
  • Op-Ed: Guidelines & Talking Points – Op-eds are a great way to raise awareness about GEAR UP at the local and regional level.  Follow the tips and use the template in this resource to submit your op-ed to your news outlet.

Let us know how you plan to celebrate in the comments section below!


Preparing for National GEAR UP Week 2012: Sept 10-14

September 10-14, 2012  is  National GEAR UP Week, an event highlighting the positive impact that GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), has had on students, families, schools, and communities since Congress authorized the program thirteen years ago. GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

GEAR UP programs, schools, families, and partners across the country will celebrate throughout the week of September 10-14.

How to Celebrate National GEAR UP Day:

1)  Create a “GEAR UP Dreams Wall” by covering the wall of a classroom, hallway, or gym with butcher paper, place a large GEAR UP logo in the center with “Our GEAR UP Dreams” underneath, and have students write their academic, professional, and personal goals on the wall. Take a picture of the students by their dreams and send a few to your legislators, school officials, local newspaper and the California GEAR UP blog to be posted.

2) Host a lunchtime celebration at your school and invite families, your local school district representatives, Members of Congress, and GEAR UP personnel.

3)  Start a letter writing campaign to your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative. Have your students thank the elected officials for supporting GEAR UP. Encourage parents and teachers to discuss the importance of GEAR UP and how it has helped students.

4)    Create a never-ending “College Access Chain” featuring the names of students from your site who have graduated from or are currently enrolled in a college program ! Take pictures of this huge chain created from paper links as it wraps around your school and send those pictures to all GEAR UP partners as a thank you for their support.

5)   Host a “Community Success Stories Breakfast” with a local service club or Chamber of Commerce. Invite your GEAR UP students, parents and partners to share the success stories of GEAR UP students.

6)  Create an over-sized thank you card to send to your U.S. and California Senators and Representatives. With the California GEAR UP logo in the middle, have students, staff, and parents sign the card with their thanks, take a picture, and deliver to your elected official’s or school District Office.

7)   Have all the teachers and staff wear college apparel on National GEAR UP Day and have a discussion in class about goal setting, college opportunity, and career dreams.

We will be announcing events and celebrations across the state as they are announced. Contact us if you would like to participate or will be hosting your own National GEAR UP Week celebration.

Celebrate National GEAR UP Day in California

Dear GEAR UP Supporters,

National GEAR UP Week is next week!

Here is Congressman Fattah’s official invitation and an update on our National GEAR UP week schedule.

It’s critical that next week be a national celebration of GEAR UP, with activities at sites across the country demonstrating the value of our programs and the support they have in our communities. Please let me know as soon as you can if you can do one of the six focus activities.  We have a team of people here ready to help you make your GEAR UP Week activity a success.

As a reminder, GEAR UP Week focus activities are:

  • Post a GEAR UP Dreams Wall – butcher paper for your students to post their dreams and goals
  • Host a celebration event
  • Host a lunchtime celebration at school
  • Write and send letters to your Members of Congress
  • Sign and deliver an oversized thank you card to your Congressperson’s district office
  • Create a GEAR UP Chain of paper links representing the students and families you serve

And here’s our master planning schedule for the week:

Monday, October 24th – NATIONAL GEAR UP WEEK BEGINS!

  • Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Congressman Fattah usher us in with a video message. (Stay tuned for a link – note that it will be available all week.)
  • NCCEP’s National GEAR UP Online Week Call to Action launches: 1000 emails and 100 calls to Members of Congress in support of college access.
  • Puerto Rico GEAR UP’s Dream Wall activity begins
  • Is your action on Monday? Let us know and we’ll list it and help promote it!

Tuesday, October 25th

  • National GEAR UP Week actions across the country
  • Is your action on Tuesday? Let us know and we’ll list it and help promote it!

Wednesday, October 26th

  • National GEAR UP Week actions across the country
  • Is your action on Wednesday? Let us know and we’ll list it and help promote it!

Thursday, October 27th

  • National GEAR UP Week actions across the country
  • Is your action on Thursday? Let us know and we’ll list it and help promote it!

Friday, October 28th

  • National GEAR UP Actions across the country
  • Is your action on Friday? Let us know and we’ll list it and help promote it!

National GEAR UP Week is all about celebrating GEAR UP and all of the hard work you and your team does to help your community of students get into college and succeed. Let us know how you plan to participate.  We’ll be there to help every step of the way.

If you are celebrating in California, email us and tell us what you are doing:

Valley High School Celebrates National GEAR UP Day

The Valley High School-California GEAR UP Collaborative celebrated National GEAR UP Day today with a business and community leaders breakfast. Attendees listened to testimonials from students representing various organizations across the school, including the student body president, AVID students, athletes, and Leadership Skill Initiative students who are all college bound thanks in part to California GEAR UP. Students had this to share:

“Benefits of hard work are evident and GEAR UP showed us that.”

“GEAR UP and AVID helped us to become financially literate.”

“GEAR UP Leadership Skills Initiative taught us how to go from teenagers trying to do to young adults doing.”

“Our teachers listen to us and that makes all the difference in our success.”

Principal Keven MacDonald was eager to share how GEAR UP has helped shape perceptions at Valley of college access and academic excellence for all students. His enthusiasm was in part due to the Valley-GEAR UP partnership that has contributed to recent achievements in API and school ranking.

Superintendent Dr. Steven Ladd addressed the crowd, again celebrating the many acheivements at Valley and the contribution of California GEAR UP. Here are some excerpts:

“GEAR UP Looked at our students and saw greatness.”

“The leadership of GEAR UP and Shelley Davis in this partnership has contributed to much of the success at Valley.”

Other folks gathered at the celebration included GEAR UP Partner and former WNBA star Ruthie Bolton who mentors in the Leadership Skills Initiative students, Tina Penna, Associate Superintendent of Secondary Education, Paul Burke, Jackman Middle School Principal, Penny Edgert Principal Investigator, California GEAR UP, Executive Director, California Education Roundtable, and Timoteo Rico, Director, EAOP UC Davis.

National GEAR UP Day is a celebration of transformative work of California GEAR UP and the 68 partnership projects have impacted over 1/3 of the 1200 middle schools in California, with the State grant serving over 236,000 students in 260 schools in 106 school districts in 25 counties since 1999.

National GEAR UP Day celebrates students, families and school communities across the United States and beyond. The occasion marks more than ten years of support from Congressional, State and local leaders and recognizes our collaborative efforts to close achievement and opportunity gaps for ALL students.” ~Shelley Davis, California GEAR UP Director.

For more pictures of the event and the Valley High School College Door Decorating Contest, checkout our Facebook page here.

Students to Celebrate National GEAR UP Day with Nick Cannon

Nick Cannon and NCredible Entertainment will kick off National GEAR UP Day at Santa Ana College (SAC) to promote the importance of college attendance and academic achievement among more than 400 intermediate and high school students from the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD).  SAC and SAUSD, in concert with the University of California at Irvine (UCI), Latino Health Access and the Delhi Community Center, form the Santa Ana GEAR UP Partnership, which has reached more than 20,000 students since 1999 at six intermediate and four high schools with critical messages and resources to urge academic scholarship, high school graduation and increase the college-going rate from our community.

The event will include an inspiration address by Nick Cannon, whose personal mission includes inspiring teens to pursue their dreams and obtain an education.  His presentation will be followed by a live performance featuring NCredible Entertainment and other celebrities.

The celebration will include speakers such as:

To view the full press release and more detailed information, please go HERE:

National GEAR UP Day Press Release


California GEAR UP Celebrates National GEAR UP Day

September 20, 2010 – California GEAR UP announced today the celebration of the Second Annual National GEAR UP Day, commemorating 11 years of success for the program on September 30, 2010GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) was enacted as part of the 1998 Higher Education Act to give more low-income students the skills, encouragement, and preparation to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. In the last ten years, GEAR UP distributed more than $3 billion to nearly 12 million students across the country.

This year schools across California will once again celebrate National GEAR UP Day the entire week of September 27 and will host a kick-off event at their schools. Last year more than fifty California GEAR UP schools celebrated by:

  • Valley High School press conference that included Superintendent Jack O’Connell and Assembly Member Alyson Huber
  • Proclamation in San Francisco from Mayor Gavin Newsom
  • Letter of Recognition from author of GEAR UP Congressman Chaka Fattah
  • Schools displaying student’s ‘college dreams wall’ in their school
  • Teachers hosting community success story luncheons with elected officials.

National GEAR UP Day is a celebration of transformative work of California GEAR UP and the 68 partnership projects have impacted over 1/3 of the 1200 middle schools in California, with the State grant serving over 236,000 students in 260 schools in 106 school districts in 25 counties since 1999.

National GEAR UP Day celebrates students, families and school communities across the United States and beyond. The occasion marks more than ten years of support from Congressional, State and local leaders and recognizes our collaborative efforts to close achievement and opportunity gaps for ALL students.” ~Shelley Davis, California GEAR UP Director.

Please see attached list of celebrating California GEAR UP schools. We invite you to visit our amazing GEAR UP schools in your area. For more information on National GEAR UP Day or a GEAR UP school near you, please contact:

Sean K. Brennan, Communications Director:, 415-948-9262 or Shelley Davis, Director: (916) 551-1757.  Follow events across the state at:

Save the Date: National GEAR UP Day Announced for Sept. 30

September 30, 2010


Last year we celebrated the first annual National GEAR UP Day which marked 10 years of successful and transformative college access programs across the country. This year we are pleased to announce National GEAR UP Day will be celebrated on September 30, 2010.

GEAR UP schools and partnerships celebrated in a number of ways:

  • Dinners and luncheons hosting local elected officials and GEAR UP community supporters.
  • Letter writing campaign announcing 10 years of GEAR UP to your community and politicians
  • Creation of a “GEAR UP Dreams Wall” to share students college aspirations
  • National GEAR UP Day poster contest where students design a poster for this event with a gift certificate to a bookstore as the prize.

We will provide comprehensive coverage of National GEAR UP Day activities as they transpire. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Let us know how you plan to celebrate National GEAR UP Day!

National GEAR UP Day Press Conference at Valley High School

Valley High School in Elk Grove Unified School District in Sacramento hosted a press conference and a wide array of activities for honored guests on September 18, 2009 in celebration of 10 years of California GEAR UP. Highlights of the day included visits to the GEAR UP Parent Center, a panel of GEAR UP Leadership Skills Initiative Students, and a press conference featuring State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, a student speaker from the Leadership Skills Initiative (LSI), and a parent volunteer. An amazing turnout of education professionals, state political figures, and national and international education organizations.

Guest list included: Valley High School Staff; EGUSD Superintendent Dr. Steven M. Ladd; Shelley Davis, Director of California GEAR UP; Penny Edgert Coordinator California Education Round Table (ICC); Assembly Member Alyson Huber; EGUSD Board Members Chet Madison, Sr. and Jeanette Amavisca; R.E. Graswich, Special Assistant to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson; Peter Stephens, Executive Vice-President of National Council for Community and Education Partnerships – GEAR UP DC;  Diana Fuentes-Michel, Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission; Penni Hansen, California Department of Education; Whitney Yamamura, Vice-President of Instruction and Student Learning; Bill DelBonta Principal, Jackman MS; Ernest Black, College Board; Deborah Muramoto, California Capital SBDC; Michelle Dyke; Victoria Harris, Field Rep for Senator Darrell Steinberg; UC Davis; Zeny Agullana, Scholarshare; Karen Humphrey, California Postsecondary Education Commission.








Davidson Middle School Celebrates California GEAR UP

Natl Gear UPDavidson Middle School in San Rafael, CA celebrates National GEAR UP Day. Staff is wearing their college colors and sharing college experiences with students in their classrooms. Great way to kick off the year, Davidson.