California GEAR UP and TEAM GEAR UP Collaboration

Spring 2008 | | June 4, 2008 at 11:25 am

TEAM (Together Expect and Achieve More) GEAR UP, a local partnership grant, brings together 13 middle schools with the Imperial County Office of Education and the Imperial County P-16 Council.  Through this partnership school districts collaborate and assist each other in the implementation of activities to create a county-wide college-going culture. The 13 middle schools, while similar in demographics, serve anywhere from fewer than twenty 7th and 8th grade students to over eight hundred.

A key component of the grant is the Advancement Via Individual Determination Program (AVID).  Through TEAM GEAR UP, over 4,300 7th and 8th grade students, enrolled in the 13 middle schools, have gained access to an AVID elective course and/or study skill strategies (AVID Basics).  Included in AVID Basics are strategies such as Cornell Notes, Binder Organization and Use of Agendas. 

In collaboration with the California GEAR UP state grant, San Pasqual Valley Middle, Holtville Middle and Wilson Jr. High School attended Write Path-AVID training in content areas such as English Language Arts, Mathematics and English Language Development.  Teachers learned of research-based strategies and obtained tools to implement in the classroom to increase student achievement and academic success.  Results: San Pasqual Valley Middle trained over 80% of their staff on strategies such as Cornell Notes, W.I.C.R., and Costa’s Levels of Questions and Wilson Jr. High ‘AVIDized’ 100% of its staff through on-site school wide training. At Wilson, what began as a review of the purpose and importance of Cornell Notes evolved to a deeper understanding of “equity and access” to rigorous curriculum for all. 

What has transpired at these sites through GEAR UP and AVID training truly is “culture change.”  Expanded teacher training gives all students’ exposure and access to a more rigorous curriculum that will help prepare them for college and career opportunities.  Whole school change is evidenced by this successful collaboration between a local GEAR UP partnership grant and California GEAR UP.  At the school and in the classroom a college-going culture is evolving, and they are experiencing it!

Story contributed by Isabel Cervantes-Falk, School Support/AVID Coordinator (Region 9) and Betsy Lane, TEAM GEAR UP Director, Imperial County Office of Education

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