Weekly Memo - 11/17 to 11/23

This week...

Good Morning SC GEAR UP!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and has an awesome week!

We have some due dates rapidly approaching and I want everyone on point. I typically don't do a memo during a "meeting week", but I figured I would do some reminders anyway.

I believe the iCivics/Young Lawyers applications were due last week. I expected a project to be submitted by every school, unless their district prevents it (and I expect that in writing). I will be following up with the SC Bar today to see which schools didn't submit. If they didn't submit, I will be asking "why".

Also, if you haven't provided Vickie with your newsletters, please do so by Wednesday's meeting. You can bring them to the meeting if you like.

Meeting Wednesday!!!!

We will likely have our last meeting of 2014 this Wednesday, 9:30, here at CHE. Some things we need to accomplish:

1) We need to settle on the location and agenda for the Jan. GC meeting.

2) We need to get your Updates on COMPASS

3) We need to figure out who is going to be invited to Philadelphia (So you need to have a preliminary list at the meeting)

4) We need to clear up any confusion how the GC's are reporting their services

5) We need to discuss how we are dealing with retained and off-grade students

6) Those who attended conferences in October, I would like to here some of the great things you learned.

Grades for Q1

Had a chance to look over the Q1 grades for the most part. We are doing well in most areas to start. I have spoken to most of you and can tell through your Monday memos that you are working with the GC's to develop some interventions. Keep that up. In your report for Wednesday, let's talk about how your coaches are identifying those students who are failing and efforts being made to get them to tutoring.


Very, very concerned about how we are reporting tutoring. We can discuss in detail on Wednesday with Vermadel (she will be calling in), but of the 3,500 students in the cohort, only 600 or so have received tutoring services through October. That just doesn't seem correct, unless we just haven't been running the tutoring programs. There are going to be some issues if I get a ridiculous tutoring invoice in January for Q1 and there are no kids on the sign-in sheet. Please make sure the GC's are reporting the tutoring hours accurately.

Please continue to stress to the coaches that they have to have parent/student contact documentation in the student file to show where they have identified all those students who are failing or not doing as well and they have contacted them about tutoring.

College Goal South Carolina

Thank you all for getting at least one school on board for College Goal. This is going to help us tremendously going forward, as we will be using a Federal FAFSA completion project to monitor our cohort FAFSAs. Great job on this.

As a heads up, everyone will be required to be a College Goal site, or collaborate with your neighboring GEAR UP Schools in 2016 & 2017. Might as well see how it's done now.

COMPASS Initiative - Dual Enrollment / Development

Keep working on this! Especially the part about getting a Carnegie unit for the developmental or "SC GEAR UP college transition Course". I truly am concerned that if we leave it as an option for our kids, the ones who truly need it will not opt to attend our Summer or afterschool programs.

A) have two tracks: a dual enrollment track for higher fliers, and a developmental track to catch up those kids who test into developmental coursework. You will need to work out a plan for both.

B) I do realize every school will differ. But ideally, it would be really good if we could get a developmental or dual enrollment course built into the student schedule. But that would require you working that out with your principals and district curriculum folks to see if that's even possible.

C) Discuss existing options with the high school. Some of our schools actually have partnerships with the local Techs to provide D.E. coursework. If the better option is to pay for transportation to get the kids to the Tech school, then great.

D) There will be a cost associated with this project, and it will likely need to be placed in your 2014-15 award letters to start next year in Q4. You'll need to get me figures at some point on cost of the instructor(s) and the books.

Now, back to item "B" for a second. At the meeting we uncovered something that is a real issue and something that requires your serious thought. I understand that we all have a desire to do the developmental work during the Summer Program. I think that's great. I also don't think that is enough. We need to at least discuss options with the school/district to offer the developmental work during the year as a class. The funding isn't an issue for us, but I do understand the concern of offering a class that doesn't have a Carnegie unit attached to it. With that in mind, can we not ask the school/district to petition the State dept to get a unit for the course we would intend to offer? I've spoken with a few folks and it can be done, but the school has to be willing, and the school/district has to make the request of the State dept.. I believe your district accountability and compliance folks are the one's who would be able to help you with this. The curriculum and syllabus should be available through the technical college.

It adds another layer, but the reality is that allowing this to be optional and offered during the summer is going to limit its effectiveness. Let's at least try to do better.

COMPASS Follow-up

This week is a report week!!! Remember, I'm asking for reports on where you are on the COMPASS Project, by school. So, by this Friday, November 21, 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

If you'd like to bring it to the meeting Wednesday, that's fine as well. I'll ask for a brief update on Wednesday on this.

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.

Finance Update

Still need Q4 invoices from a lot of you guys. Please help us get last year closed out quickly.

Also, I know there were some of you who were waiting on us to order your supplies for the year. Without going into deep detail, its probably safe to say that you don't want to wait on us to order your supplies. You have the funding in your budget, you should probably go ahead and order your supplies out of that funding.

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!