Future News FROM OYOF
Texas GEAR UP Conference Attendees Cast Their Votes to Elect College
The Texas Education Agency and the Institute for Public School Initiatives (IPSI) hosted “Elect College,” the 2012 Texas GEAR UP State Conference held on November 5-6 in Austin. Prompted by Election Day (which fell on Day Two), the conference theme also evoked the importance of Texas students graduating from high school and succeeding in their postsecondary studies. (It also inspired a load of fun “campaign” decor and giveaways that helped keep attendees very much on the stump-for-school message.)
During the two-day event, GEAR UP staff, teachers, counselors, administrators, and business and community partners had the opportunity to learn about best practices and the latest innovative programs being implemented by their peers across the state—with a focus on four major tracks:
• College Preparation
• Financial Literacy
• Program Management
Based on its popularity at previous national NCCEP conferences, an advocacy track was offered at the state level with the goal of working together to ensure Texas GEAR UP has a strong, educated advocate community by training program staffers on effective advocacy strategies and practices designed specifically to support our GEAR UP communities statewide.
Over the course of the conference, approximately 40 presentations provided opportunities for attendees to compare notes and learn together. Participants were also excited to hear from nationally-recognized keynote speakers, including Nathan Monell, CAE (president and CEO, NCCEP); Yvonne Spicer, Ed.D. (vice president of advocacy and educational partnerships, Museum of Science, Boston); and Sue McMillin (president and CEO, TG).
For more details on the 2012 Elect College GEAR UP Conference, click here.
It’s Never Too Early to Inspire College Success
With the increasing demands of the 21st-century workforce, there is little question that all students should be fully prepared for college and careers. “Working with the end in mind” is the philosophy of the GEAR UP IV: “Creating a Vision” project, which is being implemented by Texas A&M International University. That philosophy also happened to be the driving force behind the student leadership conference “Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow” Prep Rally held in Laredo on September 18, 2012.
To officially kick off the GEAR UP IV grant program in a big way, nearly 10,000 eighth-graders representing 19 school districts—Alice ISD, Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD, Benavides ISD, Carrizo Springs ISD, Cotulla ISD, Crystal City ISD, Dilley ISD, Eagle Pass ISD, Freer ISD, Jim Hogg County ISD, La Joya ISD, La Pryor ISD, Laredo ISD, Orange Grove ISD, Pearsall ISD, Premont ISD, San Diego ISD, United ISD and Webb CISD—spanning almost 15,000 miles across south Texas gathered at the Laredo Energy Arena. Bringing all these members of the class of 2017 together provided a unique opportunity for the students to truly appreciate what it means to be part of the enormous GEAR UP IV family—and actually see the faces of thousands of their fellow GEAR UP students—as well as get excited about setting college goals and working towards them over the next few years. It was all about getting the students completely engaged in their educational future starting at that moment.
The GEAR UP IV grant is designed to provide low-income students with the skills, motivation and preparation needed to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. The focus of the project (which supports participants through their first year of postsecondary studies) is to provide direct services to students through four strands: academic, assessment, college readiness, and parental involvement. “A decrease in postsecondary education will drastically affect the workforce in our community and beyond,” said Dr. Rick Moreno, director of GEAR UP IV. “GEAR UP helps our youth gain access to a college education. Helping students envision themselves as college-ready is one of the greatest contributions we can make to help ensure their success.”
Of course, the earlier students begin to plan for college, the better their chances of actually making it happen—and this high-energy rally was designed to inspire and motivate students to start planning now for college and career success. When the students arrived at the arena, they found representatives from 30 postsecondary institutions on site, ready to answer all questions and provide information about schools and different career pathways.
So the excitement level was already high when a compelling group of speakers took to the arena stage to address (and inspire) the attendees. Dr. Julio Madrigal (Executive Director of Special Programs – Principal Investigator), Dr. Ray M. Keck III (President of Texas A&M International University), Dr. Debra Saunders-White (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs in The Office of Postsecondary Education), The Honorable Judith Zaffirini (Texas Senator), and The Honorable Henry Cuellar (U.S. Congressman) all showed their support for GEAR UP IV and the students of south Texas.
With an audience of thousands of teens, it was only fitting to show off some familiar faces—the United Middle School Band and the Laredo All-American All-Stars cheerleaders were both featured during the program. Other crowd-pleasing (and highly cheer-inducing) highlights included a concert from the a cappella group MO5AIC and some energetic wisdom from motivational speaker Aric Bostick.
The entire GEAR UP IV Executive Leadership Team, including Jaime Huerta (Regional Director), Ana Gonzalez (Research Director), and Martha Trevino (Community Liaison), worked tirelessly behind the scenes to plan and execute this amazing production. Also instrumental to the day’s success were the many GEAR UP IV Site Coordinators, College Access Coaches and various TAMIU offices, who seamlessly coordinated thousands of students and ensured buses arrived—and departed—on time.
The Prep Rally—which was staged with creative and technical support from AMS Pictures—connected these students and educators as they begin their college-readiness journeys, and it also challenged every campus to continue to raise awareness, share experiences and discuss the value of pursuing a postsecondary degree. Again with an eye toward the finish line, GEAR UP IV leadership already has a grand vision of reuniting this entire group in four years—this time as graduating seniors alongside their parents—to celebrate their achievements before they embark on their postsecondary adventures. The countdown is on!
For more information about TAMIU’s GEAR UP IV: “Creating a Vision” project, please contact Dr. Rick Moreno at firstname.lastname@example.org.Continue reading...
College Readiness in the News
A New York Times article profiling a group of friends from Galveston, Texas, reveals that education is not the equalizer many think it is. While college readiness and the ability to excel at college work seems like a path to upward mobility, the story of three best friends brings to light the obtacles that many face due to economic inequality.
Did You Know?
According to a recent report put together by TG called "A Brief Look at Transfer Students and Financial Aid," students who begin their postsecondary studies at a community college don't always see a significant savings.
TEXAS GEAR UP NEWS
Officially introducing...Texas Education Agency's Nicole Chupka, the new Texas GEAR UP State Director.
The 2013 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference! July 14 - 17 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Click here to register or for more information.