SHARING THE GOOD NEWS: GEAR UP Schools Present at Discover California GEAR UP, A Technical Assistanc

Fall 2008 | | January 19, 2009 at 11:47 am

Many middle schools came to the Technical Assistance workshops on October 2 at Embassy Suites Hotel, Walnut Creek, and on October 8 at the Pasadena Hilton to learn more about California GEAR UP and their resources and opportunities. School representatives were excited by and engaged in the presentations by colleagues from the Continuing Sustainability Project schools of GEAR UP.

Evaluation comments about what was most useful and exciting about GEAR UP included the following:

  • The parent involvement component—I think we have parents searching for something like this
  • Using the SSAR form for planning and the whole school collaborating
  • Looks like a quality group to work with and everything aligns with best practices and where we are headed
  • Enjoyed hearing the stories/experiences of schools going through the process
  • Creating a “college-bound” culture at my school
  • Website information…creating a college corner…promoting more college awareness

Presenters at Embassy Suites Hotel, Walnut Creek – OCT 2nd

Visitacion Valley MS, San Francisco Unified School District Regional Coordinator: Don Mar

“Forums, Institutes & Facilitation”


▲Parent Representative Maua Teofilo, Chuck Walters, Regional Coordinator Don Mar, David Kaplan, and Jenny Trac provided an overview on the GEAR UP trainings and facilitation process.

Shasta College GEAR UP Partnership

Happy Valley Elementary School, Happy Valley Union Elementary School District

Presenter: Pam Dunlap, Vice Principal/site contact
Regional Coordinator: Vance Mills

“School Self Assessment Rubric – Keep Your Sight on the Plan”

Facing the challenge of changing staff, the School Leadership Team uses the School Self Assessment Rubric (SSAR) to determine the strategies for “Developing a College-going Culture.” The strategies are:

  • Developing a Planning Pyramid, a road map of what the team wants to achieve
  • Revising the School Leadership Team with additional members
  • Holding regular meetings of the Leadership Team to discuss progress toward their goal
  • Replicating the SSAR session with the rest of the faculty


▲GEAR UP Coordinator Jason Rubin at Anderson High School; Vice principal/site contact Pam Dunlap at Happy Valley Elementary; Regional Coordinator Vance Mills; and Janis Marsh of Redding Partnership

Pacheco School, Pacheco Union School District, Redding

Presenter: Jason Rubin, GEAR UP Coordinator, Anderson High School
Grant Administrator/Athletic Director, Pacheco Junior High

“Educational Trust Awards and other California GEAR UP Services”

The beginning steps of selecting and awarding Educational Trust Awards at Pacheco School were discussed, including the record keeping and follow up. The California GEAR UP program and the Educational Trust Awards have positi vely affected the school and its college- going culture.

Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, Sausalito Marin City School District

Regional Coordinator: Don Mar
“Role of the GEAR UP Leadership Team”

Staff from Martin Luther King Jr. Academy showed how they work with each other to advance the goals of California GEAR UP at their school


▲Team presenters were Cherisse Baatin, principal; Julius Holtzclaw, Administrative Assistant; Debra Moore, teacher; Natalie Jenkins, parent; June Farmer, parent; Juanita Edwards, parent; and Megan Bolduc, teacher.

Don Watson, Program Evaluator, Watson Evaluation Services, LLC

GEAR UP Data: What, Why, When

Don Watson shared the latest evaluation data, 2005-2008, with the school representatives interested in applying to be a California GEAR UP school.

Robert Van Zant, GEAR UP Regional Coordinator

How Can I utilize the GEAR UP website and the Resources and Materials Clearinghouse


▲Janis Marsh of Redding Partnership talks with Regional Coordinator Robert Van Zant who showed how to navigate the GEAR UP website, use the tools available on the School-Based Services page and gave an overview of the Resources & Materials Clearinghouse.

Frick Middle School, Oakland Unified School District

Presenter: Jaymie Lollie
Regional Coordinator: Sandy Carpenter-Stevenson

Family Initiatives Project (FIP) & Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE)

Frick Middle School completed a very successful CA GEAR UP Family Initiatives Project program. Frick collaborated with Oakland Technology Exchange West, a local organization, which provided free computers to all families that participated in their 3 hour training program. The Family Initiatives Project included unwavering support from the school principal, Mr. Jerome Gourdine, volunteers, families, administrative staff and community groups.


▲Family Initiatives Project Coordinator Marsha King, presenter Jaymie Lollie, and Regional Coordinator Sean Brennan

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Middle School, San Francisco Unified School District

Presenters: GEAR UP Coordinator/site contact Jenny Rong; Principal Cami Okubo; Dr. Eleva Gibson; Parent Representative Terezinha Jusino
Regional Coordinator: Don Mar
“Using California GEAR UP Resources”

California GEAR UP resources are utilized at their school with emphasis on the parent workshops, the scholarship component, and the AVID workshops. The set up procedures, the role of team members, and the implementation process were shared along with the challenges involved.


▲Parent Representative Terezinha Jusino and Dr. E’leva Gibson display their awards.

Presenters at Pasadena Hilton Hotel – OCT 8th

Pacoima Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District

Presenters: Lorraine Armelin, Title I Coordinator/site contact; Carrie Medeiros, counselor
“Moving Forward: Using the SSAR & PDAP as the focus for college-going activities”

Pacoima Middle School Leadership Team chose to house their college corner in the 8th grade counseling center where students can check out “Kids on Campus” and “Choose College We Did” videos and student study guides. All 7th grade English classes used the ACT Discover Career Planning software and loved the program. In conjunction with the Back to School event in March 2008, their first Math Carnival was held where family members and staff were encouraged to learn new math concepts and win prizes. More teachers are being trained in AVID strategies which are being used school-wide. This is building excitement and high expectations as part of their college-going culture.


▲Counselor Carrie Medeiros, Title I Coordinator/site contact Lorraine Armelin, and Regional Coordinator Frank Holmes

Live Oak Middle School, Tulare City School District

Presenters: Paula Adair, Principal; Samee Morrison, Resource Teacher; Kim Merten, Counselor
“Using Educational Trust Awards to develop Student Writing and Interview Skills”

When presented with the opportunity to select students for the Educational Trust Awards, the Live Oak Leadership Team developed a detailed process to prepare their students. The school started by publicizing the award on the school marquee as, “Extra! Extra! Hear all about it! $2000.00.” That generated a lot of interest from everyone in the community. Parents had to attend a mandatory meeting with their child to understand the requirements and purpose of the award. Not only were students provided the information on how to apply, but also they were offered a Saturday morning workshop on how to write a “College Award Essay” and a workshop on how to do an oral interview. All these high expectations resulted in high quality essays.


▲Paula Adair, Principal; Samee Morrison, Resource Teacher; Regional Coordinator Bob Van Zant; Kim Merten, Counselor

Shadow Hills Intermediate School, Palmdale School District

Presenters: Kathy Hudson, Dan Schneider, and Warren Rabe
Regional Coordinator: Joann Zgonc

“Using California GEAR UP Resources”

Shadow Hills Leadership Team members utilized the resources provided by the partnership with California GEAR-UP, including using the College: Making it Happen curriculum in social studies classes, coordinating the Educational Trust Awards with all the staff, and articulating the steps taken to develop a college-going culture at the school. The GEAR UP team worked together with some students in writing to over 900 colleges and universities, resulting in boxes of banners, pennants, t-shirts and other college paraphernalia sent to the school. The items were awarded to students and used in visual displays all over the school, including a college display case and in the college corner. Teachers also hand-delivered some college items on home visits.


▲Kathy Hudson, Special Projects Teacher; Dan Schneider, Business/Computer Elective Teacher; and Warren Rabe, Social Studies teacher stand before the banner of the winning student slogan about college “Jr. High is the Start. Go to College. Be Smart!”

Gina Rodriguez, Professional Development Manager Forums, Institutes & Facilitation

Gina Rodriguez emphasized the importance of new schools participating in the Forums, Institutes and using facilitation at their school sites.


▲Professional Development Manager Gina Rodriguez and Facilitators Ann Carnes and Mary Unverferth kept the GEAR UP sessions moving and on time.

Cesar Chavez Middle School, Lynwood Unified School District


▲The enthusiasm of the staff of the Cesar Chavez Middle School, Lynwood Unified School District, was typical of the participants at the Discover California GEAR UP technical assistance workshops. Pictured are AVID Co-Coordinator/Social Studies Teacher Jasmin Brown, Regional Coordinator Sandy Carpenter-Stevenson, AVID Co-Coordinator/English Teacher Vennieta Turner-Grant, and Instructional Coach Larry Reed

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