Weekly Memo - 12/8 to 12/14

Morning Team!

Good Morning SC GEAR UP!

I hope everyone had a good weekend!

If you haven't provided me your Holiday Schedule, I need that be Wednesday December 10. Also, Vicki has PLAN results in her office if you want to come get them. If you need to make other arrangements, please contact her.

Our very own Catherine Team will be "turning in her playa card" and jumping the broom in the next few weeks! If you need her for something, please get with her before this Wednesday, as I believe that is her last day. If you just want to say congrats, I'm sure she'd love that as well.

Vickie should be getting the entire grant newsletter out soon. We'll also post on our Social media outlets as well. Please make sure you circulate it.

Thank you for your work on Comparison schools as well. Vickie sent out that info to your provided schools last week, so it may require you to do some follow up. FYI, if the PLAN test is an issue, please let me know...

Capacity Building

By close of business today (Monday, December 8, 2014) please email me a list of folks you extended invitations to for the Capacity Building Conference. I need to know how many we've invited. Confirmations would be good as well. We had to get with NCCEPP already to make the block reservations for the rooms, so we have a limited number. Vickie will be sending out info today re: the trip (Reimbursement details, flight arrangements, etc.).


We had something of an interesting issue coming up last week that I want to make sure I address. Survey completion. Most of you know my required parent and student completion rate for the GEAR UP Survey mandated by Washington (80% student, 65% parent). However, I don't think we should be publishing those rates in our Regions. In most cases, people will only shoot for the bare minimum if its a task they don't feel is essential to their job functions. Most of us haven't made the survey essential to the coaching job, so the coaches will not value the survey like we do. Even the ones who meet the goal will continue to use the same methods, and they may meet it or may not.

As a result, I believe moving forward we need to set goals in our regions that are higher than 80 and 65 percent respectively. If you expect mediocrity, you will receive such. Any coach this year who doesn't meet the targets should provide a written explanation as to why they did not. And that information needs to be a part of any evaluation you do for them.

The next few years will be tough in terms of making HR decisions and evaluating our coaches. The hard truth is that we may not be able to carry every coach into the 7th year. Some may not have a spot, and your evaluations will play a role in those decisions.


Gotta keep working this! Please staff and advertise your tutoring programs, monitor the quality of the assistance given and continue to push tutoring to students/parents. Remember, if there is a kid who is failing, that is not attending a tutoring program, your coach will need to document that contact was made and why the student isn't coming.

College Goal South Carolina

Continue to work with your pilot College Goal Sites to be sure they have what they need for February. If you need something from us, Catherine can assist you.

Follow Up on projects

Recently been getting some questions on follow-up with students and teachers who we do special projects with. We want to make sure that we see a return on some of the investments we make in individuals students/teachers. This includes, but is not limited to, Summer Institute, as well as our Go-Sci Tech and Business Week students. We should have some type of follow-up events during the school year where these students show themselves as leaders and stand-outs. It may help to not only place a face on the initiatives, but it would also make it easier to continue the funding for those events. Please have these student leaders do some type of follow up activities at their schools and invite us!

COMPASS Follow-up

Yay, it's a report week!!! Remember, I'm asking for reports on where you are on the COMPASS Project, by school. By THIS Friday, December 12, I want you each to send to me a summary of where you are with this project, by school and district, and any issues you are having or need assistance with. I want to know:

- Date of last meeting/contact on subject and who attended

- Date of COMPASS administration

- Technical college that will partner with high school through project

- Plan for Dual Enrollment Course delivery

- Plan for Developmental or "GEAR UP University Transition Course"

- Have you discussed if this "Transition Course" could be offered with Carnegie Unit

- Have you began generating a budget/cost for program

- Issues you are encountering at any level

Just so you all know, I compile the reports and provide a comprehensive report to Karen and CHE leadership. I've underlined the item above b/c I need you to start generating a budget as soon as possible. I need to know the round about cost for this project b/c I will need to ask to use additional funding that our annual allocation to make it happen.

GC Meeting

We will have the GC meeting on Wednesday, January 14, at Midlands Technical College. Please ask all your GC's to plan to attend, as this is mandatory. We will have some sessions on COMPASS and Dual Credit. We will also have data reports from Vermadel and the usual from Jomia and the Chamber. We will also have 2 additional presentations from Steve and Sonya.

We will finalize the agenda when we return from break. Keep in mind that I return to the office on the 5th, and the meeting is the following week...

Objectives for 2014-15

The SCGU Grant objective for 10th grade will be that 80% of our students will pass Biology by the end of 10th grade.

Vermadel has provided an early snapshot of where we are to start the year. Right now 17.37% of our cohort has completed Biology I.

Social Media Update

The SC GEAR UP Facebook and Twitter are now both up!!!! Please have the coaches encourage students to like and follow SC GEAR UP on social media. We can do better on Twitter and certainly on Facebook.

I can't stress enough how much we need to beef up the social media!!! This is a great way to keep everyone informed on what we are doing. We are also working on the websites each week. We need that support folks!

Happy Holidays

That's all I have! But it occurs to me that this is the final memo for 2014. I want you all to take a breath over the Holidays. Enjoy your families and enjoy the time off. I think we tend to get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we tend to forget that at some point we all need to take a second and recharge. What we do is difficult, challenging and draining. Our charge is great, but so is our potential reward. As we move deeper and deeper into high school and we approach graduation, we are going to have to give much more than we ever have. The conversations will get more difficult, both internally and externally. I've asked several of you to get out of your comfort zone and try to new approaches. For the most part you've met that challenge. Please know that I appreciate all that you do, and I look forward to even greater success in 2015. I pray each of you have a restful and happy holiday and that 2015 is a year of prosperity in your professional and personal lives. Happy Holidays SC GEAR UP Leadership Team!

I'll be out of office from December 15th until January 5th. I'll be reachable by cellphone, email and text, so I'm not going completely off the grid. If you truly need me, I'll respond.