Notes From the GEAR UP Director Shelley Davis

Winter 2007 | | January 21, 2007 at 6:30 pm

The California GEAR UP Program was very pleased to participate in the development and announcement by Superintendent Jack O’Connell of his new Taking Center Stage—Act II Recommendations. Along with many other organizations, including the California League of Middle Schools, I served on a year-long effort to focus greater attention on the crucial role that middle schools play in the educational development of our children and the critical nature of that role in preparing students for college. At Toby Johnson Middle School in Elk Grove in September, the Superintendent announced the recommendations from this Task Force that were informed by the experience of the California GEAR UP Program. So…on behalf of the Superintendent and all the members of the Task Force, I appreciate your efforts and the manner in which they have informed me about the ways to create a college-going culture on middle school campuses.

As we approach the middle of this year, the California GEAR UP Program continues to be impressed by the strides that our schools are making in developing a college-going culture at their sites. We have now completed the Planning Phase with all our 43 new middle schools who are joining the GEAR UP community. All have participated in our two-day Principal and Leadership Institutes that were held this fall in Burbank and Berkeley. At these Institutes, our new schools were exposed to the successes and activities from our previous participants, as outlined on pages 2-3 of this newsletter.

In addition to the services provided to GEAR UP middle schools through the dedication and commitment of our staff, we have been supported in delivering products through our partners. This newsletter features another of the terrific GEAR UP partners: R.T. Fisher and Associates. Through Robyn Fisher, the founder of R.T. Fisher and Associates, and her staff, the California GEAR UP community has a wealth of information at its disposal through the Resources and Materials Clearinghouse. This Clearinghouse is available in paper, electronic, and kiosk forms that are discussed in the article on page 1.

The last page of this newsletter describes one of our most innovative services – the Family Initiatives Project (FIP). Begun in response to our commitment to involve families in the educational lives of their children, FIP seeks to inform and encourage English-speaking families to assist in preparing their children for life after high school; likewise, FIP provides these families with the relevant tools to provide that support.

I sincerely hope that we have as many successes and good tales to tell in the second half of the 2006-07 school year as in the first part. GEAR UP schools — old and new — continue to make great progress in preparing ALL students for college.

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