Welcome to WSU Early Outreach
Karen Simmons is with us again this year as our HOHII tutor. Karen is from Dayton, and graduated from our local high school. Her husband is a pastor and also works for the Dayton School District as a custodian. They have been married 39 years and have 2 daughter and four grandchildren whom they adore.
She has been working students of all ages for the past four years, and joined us at GEAR UP last year. She has a business background as well as education, and her experience comes in handy for helping out in the office as well. According to Karen the best part of the job is working with students. She enjoys being involved with students who really need that push toward education and relates well with them. She enjoys talking with them about careers and college choices, hoping to get them on track to that secondary education. Karen brings a positive upbeat attitude to this position that helps her relate well to our students. The hardest part of the job is all the paperwork we have to do, but Karen takes this on and is getting used to keeping track of things and she enjoys it!
A van load of John Sager Middle School GEAR UP students were treated to a fun-filled day on November 1st while attending the annual Youth & Justice Forum at Columbia Basin College. Two students, Lucas Hays and Levi Clements, found themselves face to face with Superior Court Judge Cameron Mitchell. Judge Mitchell shared with them the ins and outs of his long time tenure on the bench. He encouraged them to pursue a career in justice as a highly rewarding occupation. That’s the goal of the Forum to introduce middle and high school students to the varied careers in the judicial system. Presenters ranged from judges to lawyers to court reporters and interpreters to law enforcement detectives and canine officers to Washington State Supreme Court Justices.
The Forum provided two outstanding activities for student engagement: networking and a mock trial. Attendees played the “Passport Game”. They were to meet and network with as many Forum presenters as possible throughout the day. Xbox 360’s were given away as prizes. Cyrstan Marchel, Emily Knight, Dharma Mendoza, Tony Addington and Jhanae Bingham were all top networkers but missed out on the consoles. The mock trial provided each Sager Raider student to take on one of the court roles. Some were judges. Some were prosecutors, some defense attorneys and others were law enforcement officials. The trial process enabled the students to gain understanding on how things work and to put themselves in the shoes of those making decisions about people accused of crimes.
GEAR UP Student Achievement Specialist, Bob Young, found this year’s Forum to be the best one yet. He thought the lunch time talk by John Kelly on our “digital imprints” was good information for teenagers to hear. The Sager students were fully engaged all day and it was a treat to provide them this opportunity.
Leaders have emerged from the Freshmen GEAR UP cohort at Southridge High School! About 30 students applied and 20 have been accepted to be GEAR UP Student Ambassadors. These students will be representing their student peers and advocate for their needs. They will also acquire strong leadership skills, become academic mentors and begin to gain knowledge on post-secondary opportunities. In partnership with the schools teachers and administrators, the GEAR UP Student Ambassadors will be collaborating with their Navigation classes in efforts to spread GEAR UP’s vision and goals.
In their Freshmen Navigation courses students will reach out to all 400+ cohort students and they will have the opporutnity to present to their peers about Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. After three lunch meetings/trainings, the SHS GEAR UP Student Ambassadors have had the chance to present in two Navigation classes on the themes of “Improving Academically” and “Planning for Life After High School.” Kelly and I are excited to see our Ambassadors continue to grow as leaders and present to their classmates throughout the rest of the school year!
WSU GEAR UP is excited to welcome Mrs. Veronica Blanco to our Highlands team!
"Hello team! I am excited about this amazing opportunity to work here at Highlands Middle School; as a first generation graduate myself, I truly believe in the GEAR UP philosophy and understand the importance of early outreach. I have been busy these first few weeks getting acquainted with everyone here at Highlands and I am thrilled I will be working with such wonderful students and staff! As a Student Achievement Specialist I will be serving 8th grade students in the classroom and on a one-on-one basis. I will be working closely with the Highland Teachers and the Student Service Team to monitor and support students in their school success."
Highlands Middle School staff and WSU-TC GEAR UP set up College Bound Scholarship station during conferences. Highlands counselors and GEAR UP joined forces to sign up eligible 7th and 8th grade students for the College Bound Scholarship online. This was just one of the many efforts to get the word out about the College Bound Scholarship. It was a perfect time to meet with parents during conferences and actually have the chance to have parents fill out the application right then and there! The night was a GREAT example of a collaborate effort to ensure student success!
In November, Dayton GEAR UP took 29 eighth grade students to Washington State University for a campus visit. The group was split into two groups and led by two WSU students for the tour. We heard comments such as: “Interesting campus, great food, I want to go again, and good tour guides.” The most interesting thing they learned about the college was the previous school colors and mascot. We were all surprised to hear that the first mascot was a terrier named "Squirt," because someone brought a pet dog to campus; and the first school colors were pink and blue, said to be chosen by the first WSU President because he was so in awe of the pink and blue sunsets of the Palouse. Crimson and Gray are thought to have been the colors by 1916, and the mascot changed to cougars in 1919. One other thing the students found of interest was the heated sidewalks. Many students said they had learned more about financing their education and it was worth the bus ride. The students who had been on campus before said they had heard new information and was pleased they attended.
Students at River View High School with C’s or better for quarter grades are being recognized by the school and GEAR UP. GEAR UP has partnered with River View administration to honor these students at the end of each quarter with academic praise and some kind of treat. Quarter 1 marked a root beer float party in the commons for all students 163 total, 56% of the school. GEAR UP will be offering grant promotional pencils and pens for quarter 2 rewards.
All of the AVID students in the AVID elective class at River View High were on the list, which was a great testament to the college readiness program and what it is doing for students. Some students from that class had this to say in regard to getting through their first quarter as high school students in the AVID program:
“We use the opportunity of class time and AVID tutorials to discuss problems we are confused on in our core classes.” Susana Robledo
“Having our friends as our AVID family means we are comfortable together and are able to ask each other for help in our classes.” Rubi Pimentel, Selena Olivera, Carolina Morales
“AVID has helped us gain the confidence to speak up and discuss our struggles with our teachers. “ AVID Class