GEAR UP Spring Counseling Institutes

Spring 2009 | | May 19, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Linda Loya
Linda Loya, GEAR UP consultant, led the Southern California counseling sessions.

Gallery Walk Discussion
The Gallery Walk sparked discussions. 

Gallery Walk
Participants wait their turn to post and share ideas during the Gallery Walk.

GEAR UP T-shirt prize
A counselor proudly displays his GEAR UP T-shirt prize.

GU College Games
School staff learn that a high GPA is only one of many criteria for college admission.

Counselors Help Middle School Students Plan for High School & Careers 

The 3rd Annual California GEAR UP Counseling Institutes reached a record number of counselors, teachers and others from middle schools across the State. The single day events were offered in March at four locations (Oakland, Sacramento, Pasadena, Long Beach) and facilitated by Qiana Patterson, a former middle school dean and Linda Loya, a former high school college counselor.The interactive sessions encouraged participants to share from their daily experiences, and learn from each other about the challenges and rewards of working with students and families.Discussion about the value of Individualized Academic Plans for grades 7-12 were supported by regionally specific data and other relevant resources. Notably, in addition to counselors, many principals, assistant principals,teachers, school site advisors, community liaisons, instructional reform coordinators, head counselors, diploma project advisors, health careers magnet coordinator and special projects teachers were in attendance.

Counseling Institute Notes 2009:Participant suggestions about developing a college-going culture were compiled and sent by email to all participants.These notes are available on the GEAR UP website  

Other useful websites for Counseling practitioners:,,,, and


COMING SOON!“The Counselor Connection” 

An interactive link on the GEAR UP website to support the exchange and active submission of ideas, stories, questions, comments and straight talk about counseling needs and resources. Follow this as it develops at


What, Now What, So What?

1.What aspects of the Counseling Institute stimulated new thinking?

  • Getting students more aware about college opportunities open to them
  • Loved the GPA game—I really learned from it
  • The “Did You Know-Shift Happens” video.It was an eye-opener!
  • The job is not yet created for my young clients.
  • Communication and conversation of other participants
  • Networking with others/sharing Best Practices
  • The excitement of bringing all parties together when talking to young people re: academic awareness
  • How to work collaboratively with other members of the school and how to improve counseling as leadership of the school
  • Paths to college—hearing the different ways participants got their degrees
  • Creating the college bound culture among students and parents coincides well with the AVID mission.They are compatible.
  • It helps me to reflect about what I do every day—what area I can improve on.It gives the counseling department a goal for the school.
  • College awareness should be an everyday visualization on boards and in classrooms

2.What information/concepts were most useful?

  • Technology—how it is impacting how we do what we do
  • Loved being with other representatives from different districts—can use what they do
  • The emphasis on the counselor as part of the GEAR UP team…
  • Utilizing the “Did You Know” video and GPA games with staff
  • The “College Culture in the MS” suggested activities paper is a great list of activities that I will definitely take back with me!
  • Building a college culture and suggested activities
  • For me, everything was new
  • Handouts were useful to take to school and implement with modifications
  • Articulation letters, ideas and discussion
  • Family involvement and games
  • Putting A-G requirements on a T-shirt
  • Strategies about articulation
  • The websites and tips for parents
  • It was great that we weren’t “talked to” throughout the whole workshop.The intermissions of discussions with each other and other school staff were invaluable.

3.Suggestions for revising/modifying the Counseling Institutes

  • None—it was excellent
  • More resources needed: sample letters, worksheets on college games, a model of a college-going school, possible videos for parents/students
  • Focus on how teachers and counselors can work together with GEAR UP resources
  • It would be good to have a Graduation Check-In sheet to document counselor recommendations
  • I would like more information on how to get parent involvement
  • Need more time to work with the team on the Action Plan for our students
  • Disseminate the information from the Articulation discussion to all counselors/administrators/staff
  • Just continue to share idea and information with counselors.Thank you so much for such useful information.
  • Thank you for this opportunity.The entire day was useful and informative.

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