California GEAR UP: Partnering for Student Success

Cacolleges

By Christian Smith – CA GEAR UP Project Coordinator

California GEAR UP: Partnering for Student Success

The CA GEAR UP partnership with the California College Guidance Initiative (CCGI) has had great results during the 2014-2015 school year. By working in collaboration with PIQE (Parent Institute for Quality Education) we now offer GEAR UP middle schools and their feeder high schools on-site training, utilizing Californiacolleges.edu as a tool to engage students and families and help promote a college going culture on campus.  Students will receive a systematic baseline of guidance and support through this technological tool for the college and career planning and preparation process.

With the launch of the new CaliforniaColleges.edu website in January of 2014, we are committed to helping educators and community partners realize the full potential of the new site and the added professional center, a resource that allows educators to communicate, track and review students progress.  CaliforniaColleges.edu has been designed as the one-stop resource for information about higher education in California focusing on students, counselors, and parental user roles. CA GEAR UP is excited to share this tool via trainings on how to best utilize the site with partners like PIQE and CEP (Coalition for Education Partnerships) in addition to several of our 48 middle schools. With more training scheduled through the rest of this year, we are always looking for innovative ways to use technology to promote college and career opportunities.

Over 2/3 of the GEAR UP cohort of 48 middle schools have been trained on the resource, resulting in over 7,000 accounts being created and 64,000 page views on the site.  CA GEAR UP students have been utilizing the Interest Profiler Survey, a Holland Code (RIASEC) Test, to determine careers and vocational choice based upon personality types.  From there the students can link careers to college majors and schools that offer those majors. To help further the conversation with students about careers and goal setting, PIQE has incorporated californiacolleges.edu into workshops 5 and 6 of their family focused curriculum.  Family members are working with their students, reviewing student results and engaged in conversation about students’ interest and future plans.

With more CaliforniaColleges.edu trainings scheduled and PIQE classes on the horizon, this partnership continues to show clear and positive outcomes for schools, families and students.  Check out the new and improved site today at CaliforniaColleges.edu!

 

Learn more on the California GEAR UP website and follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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California GEAR UP Schools Complete Statewide Institutes

 

It took six hard earned weeks, but we are excited to announce all 48 California GEAR UP Middle Schools completed two day institutes across the state. These facilitated strategic planning sessions are the core of California GEAR UP work, involving all School Leadership Team members, Whole School Services Coaches, GEAR UP staff, and our statewide partnership organizations.

“The GEAR UP institutes provide out team the opportunity to further solidify our college going culture here at Samuel Jackman Middle School.  We are able to accomplish this through the team based guided discussions and common planning time that is available to us during the institutes. GEAR UP and the resources the program provides has been a tremendous asset to our school community.”  

-Principal Paul Burke, Jackman Middle School  

The two-day Institute uses the SSAR (school self assessment rubric) to look at school-wide perceptions  and offers strategies and techniques for focusing on the school-determined needs. It provides opportunities to learn about successes and challenges from other school teams. The institutes also provide additional opportunity for the School Leadership Team to work on the SSAR conditions and plan for implementation of their PDAP (professional development action plan)goals. Trained facilitators provide direction through a guided discussion and reflection promotes the beginning of a shared vision, the identification and coordination of resources, and the use of student data to develop and implement a unified schoolwide plan.

Featured activities at the institutes included Leadership Team panels to kick the first day off. In Glendale, Gage Middle School from Huntington Park, CA shared their pathway to becoming a GEAR UP School, and implementing a college-going culture throughout their school while increasing their API and gaining community wide buy-in for their common goals. In Northern California, Harris Middle School (pictured above) shared an inspiring story of coalescing a high functioning leadership team, and even finished their panel with a rousing school song. In Irvine, Vista Heights Middle School in Moreno Valley, CA shared their journey of engaging parents and families effectively while convincing teachers to continue to strive for high expectations despite ‘good’ API results, and the resulting ‘good to great’ transformation.

“California GEAR UP work is about building relationships with the adults who want to change school culture for the better, so that ALL students are prepared to go college. It is systemic change. Despite lay-offs, budget cuts and the changes that come along with these:  teachers, counselors and administrators want what is best for kids and it has shown in the amazing work of the leadership teams at our events.  This is truly meaningful work.”  -Gina Rodriguez, Whole School Services Manager.

Statewide Partnership Services were featured over the two day institutes and include professional development from The College Board and AVID, as well as family engagement services from PIQE and CEP. Presentations from MDTP (math diagnostic testing project) and CaliforniaColleges.Edu shared services to be used directly in the classroom.

Schools teams will now return to their sites with a better understanding of creating a transformative community-wide college going culture while being better equipped to leverage GEAR UP resources. Being a California GEAR UP school is a 6 year process, of which schools are embarking upon their second year. California GEAR UP School Services Coaches will meeting with schools across the state to facilitate use of GEAR UP tools, work on implementing Professional Development Action Plans, and scheduling Partnership and Statewide Services.

The purpose of California GEAR UP is to 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 who influence middle school students, specifically their counselors, faculty, school leaders and families. As a result of this expanded capacity, a higher proportion of students, particularly from backgrounds and communities that have not historically pursued a college education, will enroll and succeed in higher education.

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

To see pictures of California GEAR UP Schools in action, check out our Facebook page and let us know what you think.

Partner Spotlight: Parent Institute for Quality Education

PIQE (Parent Institute for Quality Education) provides nine week family seminars and teacher professional development to California GEAR UP schools throughout the state and continues to be one of the most successful and popular services provided by GEAR UP. PIQE services are specifically developed for the needs of GEAR UP schools and communities and are are provided in a multitude of languages.

PIQE began in 1987 as a result of discussions with parents of a predominantly Latino elementary school in the San Diego area. Parents were interested in addressing the conditions that prevented their children from succeeding in school.

Armed with information from those meetings, PIQE founders, Rev. Vahac Mardirosianand Dr. Alberto Ochoa, launched the organization’s first program, which included workshops targeted for parents of K-12 children. The seminar has since evolved into PIQE’s signature program, the Parent Engagement Education Program, a nine-week curriculum delivered to parents in their primary language, aimed at helping them become educational advocates for their students. After much success, the program was launched at other schools in San Diego and later, throughout California.

After more than 20 years, PIQE continues to receive rave reviews from families and teachers. Here are some recent quotes:

I just wanted to let you know how successful and empowering the PIQE program has been. Two of my parents were graduates of your program, and came prepared to parent conferences with the most insightful, relevant and comprehensive questions I have ever been presented with.  I really felt as if I was on the ‘hot seat’, and was thrilled.  We all win; teachers, students, parents, and society.

-Bay Area Teacher

English Translation:

I was in your PIQE class at St Helena Elementary, and I am sending you this email to thank you for the information you gave us in the nine classes. I also take pleasure in telling you that most of the parents used the information during their recent Parent/Teacher Conferences including me. The truth is that we needed a class like this and I hope that next year we can have this same opportunity for the parents that did not have a chance to experience it.  I also want to let you know that during our ELAC meeting we had 15 parents instead of 4 and half of those were PIQE parent graduates. Thank you very much for everything and I am going to take your word that we can ask you if we have any questions.

-PIQE Parent

In addtion to the nine week family seminars are GEAR UP schools, PIQE provides Early Childhood Development programs, Family Financial Literacy Education, Teachers Workshop on Family Engagement, and a Four Month Follow UP Parent Coaches Program. Programs are of course not just limited to GEAR UP schools and are available across the state. Check out their programs here.

The California GEAR UP-PIQE partnership is a testament to successful collaboration in providing family engagement services and community education programs. PIQE provides its program in 18 languages and serves ALL communities.  PIQE is now working in 6 states and its most recent office opened in Houston, Texas. For more information on PIQE, please visit their website to learn more.

If you are interested in collaborating or funding PIQE, please contact the President of PIQE, David Valladolid. You can read the Presidents message here. You can also find PIQE on Facebook.

Share with us your PIQE success story!

Robertson Intermediate Families Have a Blast at PIQE Graduation

Robertson Intermediate recently celebrated their PIQE graduation with an awards ceremony and reception attended by families, students, community members, and school staff.

California GEAR UP provides PIQE to all of their schools to engage families in the college access initiatives already going on as part of being a GEAR UP school. PIQE provides a nine week coursework that teaches families about college, financial aid, student advocacy, and positive education community activism. Upon completion of the coursework, families celebrate with an awards dinner where certificates are presented to families that guarantee a place in a CSU school as long as they meet the schools admission requirements.

Robertson is another great example of a school with the California GEAR UP commitment to academic excellence and college access for ALL students. Special thanks to the GEAR UP team at Robertson for their hard work and dedication to their students.

Henry Middle School Has College Going Culture

Patrick Henry Middle School is having a college culture focused month. With the completion of California GEAR UP partner services such as  PIQE (Parent Institute for Quality Education) and preparing for the Education Trust Awards selection and awards ceremony, they have been very busy this spring!

Henry MS shared with us their ETA selection process a here, which many schools have found useful in developing their own awards.

As a cohort B school, Henry is in the second year of the implementation phase of our school based services. Being a California GEAR UP School, Henry has made a commitment to academic excellence and college access for all their students.

Share with us your GEAR UP activities and we will post them on our blog!

PIQE makes the grade in Sacramento

PIQE-Graduation-Bellflower

California GEAR UP and partner, Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) was featured in the local nightly news in Sacramento this week. PIQE conducts a nine-week seminar series for families at every GEAR UP school, culminating in a graduation ceremony. Their services are adapted to the needs of the school community and provided in the language of the parents. Their facilitators recruit families and lead these dialogue-based family sessions at the school site.

PIQE is one of the mostly widely recognized and successful family engagement programs in the country and has graduated more than 375,000 parents from the basic nine-week program.

Watch the video here on CBS 13 in Sacramento for the full report.

More information on California GEAR UP family engagement services here.

Tincher GEAR UP Has High Expectations

California GEAR UP school Tincher Preparatory recently completed their Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) family program. California GEAR UP provides PIQE to all of their schools to engage families in the college access initiatives already going on as part of being a GEAR UP school. PIQE provides a nine week coursework that teaches families about college, financial aid, student advocacy, and positive education community activism. Upon completion of the coursework, families celebrate with an awards dinner where certificates are presented to families that guarantee a place in a CSU school as long as they meet the schools admission requirements.

See the article here in the Press Telegram of Long Beach.

Caroline Alquitela holds her 11-month-old son, Miles McNaught, as she receives a Parent Education certificate from Tincher Preparatory School in Long Beach from school principal William Vogel. (Steven Georges/Press-Telegram)
Caroline Alquitela holds her 11-month-old son, Miles McNaught, as she receives a Parent Education certificate from Tincher Preparatory School in Long Beach from school principal William Vogel. (Steven Georges/Press-Telegram)

To learn more about California GEAR UP partnership and services including PIQE, please visit our website.

Welcoming New GEAR UP Schools to our Institutes

Our Principal and Leadership Institutes are in full swing this month. Here are some relevant links to our partner  organizations that will be working with schools at the institutes and throughout the next two years:

Parent Institute for Quality Education

Taking Center Stage Act II

Math Diagnostic Testing Project