Jackman Middle School Culminates with GEAR UP Bridge Project

ETA Jackman 2013

 (Education Trust Award Ceremony)

This year marked the celebration of 480 eight graders completing their final year at Jackman middle school and California GEAR UP Bridge Model cohort. The California GEAR UP  Bridge Model is characterized by collaboration, student progress tracking, and data sharing among a family of schools across educational levels for the purpose of preparing all students in the cohort for college. Data is  collected to measure the impact on student achievement and retention and provide valuable information as to the importance of aligning curriculum, increased communication across educational levels.  California GEAR UP supports the entire school community in creating a college-going culture.  While the model and project services focuses on the cohort of students that will enter high school  in Fall 2013, GEAR UP will continue to provide resources and support throughout the seven schools in the Bridge Model.

“GEAR UP has been welcomed into schools throughout the Elk Grove Unified School District. Together with them- the students, families, teachers and friends – we are building the bridge to be sustained beyond the life of our program.”  – Shelley Davis, California GEAR UP Director

The broader success of this model reflects the investment made by GEAR UP in building relationships throughout the district engaging the Superintendent, School Board Members, Principals, Vice Principals, Counselors, Teachers and families at both Jackman Middle School and Valley High School. With the Bridge Project model, there is increased potential for sustainability of effective practices across a family of schools while  supporting the Elk Grove regional collaborative initiative and the continued support of California GEAR UP through the Whole School Services Model. 
John Reith 6th grade GEAR UP
(Reith Elementary-a Bridge School- at a GEAR UP event)

Successful components of the Bridge Project Model include:

The Leadership Skills Initiative (LSI) is a component of the Bridge Model Project.  The Initiative has evolved to combine positive role models and mentoring, with educational skill building and a safe space for students among others with common issues and challenges.  Data is collected specific to the students involved with LSI from among the cohort of students participating in the Bridge Model.  Program participation has shown to impact student retention, decreased suspensions and increased academic performance, leading to increased graduation rates.  Short term rewards keep students engaged with changes in habits, self awareness and student performance among the long term benefits.

CORE Values-Students participate in a course on ethical values through fun and fitness.  Students will focus on core values topics ranging from discipline, self control, citizenship, kindness, respect, courtesy, and perseverance all while being taught and promoting a healthy, and physical lifestyle.

Family Engagement- Inform and engage families on the college preparation process, particularly in terms of courses in which students should enroll in at high school, and support efforts to encourage families to engage actively in preparing students for success. Activities included: college workshops, Parent Universities, regional events, individual family meetings, at risk family meetings, and individual learning plans for students.

Leadership Skills Initiative Ladies-Focuses on youth empowerment and personal advocacy in young ladies.  Promoting social and character skills development, academic mentoring, coaching, healthy lifestyle practices, and community enrichment.

College and Career Readiness Workshops- Workshops are grade specific to enhance students’ understanding of the steps needed to acquire academic success to meet both high school graduation and college admission requirements.  Information and activities include; developing effective study skills, establishing academic goals, developing academic plans, and career exploration.

Education Trust Awards- The scholarship component of the program requires the state to establish and maintain a financial assistance program for students to attend institutions of higher education. 25 Students at Jackman Middle School received awards of $2000 made available when they enroll in a qualifying institute of higher education. The selection process included an essay component, qualifying GPA, letter of recommendation, and completed application.

Whole School Academic Support-activities included regional articulation in writing, supporting a professional learning environment for adults through professional development, and College Making it Happen materials for all students.

Articulation Support- Valley High School in conjunction with the GEAR family center hosted freshman selection night, in which the incoming 8th grade students visited campus to hear about various programs, clubs, and activities the students have to look forward to the following year. With 300 people in attendance the students and their families walked away with a better understanding of student life at Valley High School.

Transition– including ‘Live the Dream College Night”, financial aid planning activities, and CaliforniaColleges.edu profile support.

As part of research and evaluation of the Bridge Project, focus groups of students and teachers were convened to assess the impact of GEAR UP at Jackman. Here are some student responses from the group:

“GU is doing a good job of getting us prepared and building a path to college (all students said they plan to attend college). It is the only program available to help get us prepared for college. GU provides information about A-G requirements, financial aids, and grants.” – student

“GEAR UP gave me the tools to decide that I wanted to go to college.” – student

“I wish GEAR UP activities were every single day, not just every week!” – student

“Before GEAR UP came to campus we didn’t have the slogan “go to Jackman, go to Valley, go to college”.  I feel like we’ve had a major culture-shift among the students since GEAR UP came to campus.” – teacher

“It seems like times have changed since GEAR UP came to campus.  AVID was the primary provider of most of the college and career readiness materials on campus, but they only serve a select segment of the students. We were pushing kids toward college, but not in the capacity that GEAR UP is able to.” – teacher

“Before GEAR UP came the lower performing kids weren’t thinking about college.  Now they think they can go to college.” – teacher


“The GEAR UP provides our team the opportunity to further solidify our college going culture here at Samuel Jackman Middle School. GEAR UP and the resources the program provides has been a tremendous asset to our school community.”  

-Principal Paul Burke, Jackman Middle School

The culmination of the Bridge Project at Jackman is a testament to the success of building strong community partnerships to change a school community culture to support college dreams. California GEAR UP and the Bridge Team is excited to move on to Valley High School next year.

Pictures of the many great Bridge Model activities can be found on our Facebook page. You can continue to follow Bridge Project Success on our blog and website, please let us know if you have any questions.