School is out and summer vacation is here! With the temperature rising, GEAR UP staff has been keeping cool and has given Prosser HS a lending hand for their summer school program called Red Comet. This program is set up for students to retrieve any missing credits they had missed in previous years. Summer school hours run from 7:30 am to about noon Monday through Friday. Breakfast is provided by the school district and is available outside the classroom.
Red Comet works similar to the former credit retrieval PHS had, APEX. However, APEX was a lot more lenient than Red Comet, and allows teachers or observers (GEAR UP staff) to view the students’ progress on the course they are currently taking. Students are required to complete at least 9 hours per week, and check in with GEAR UP staff 3 days out of the week. So far we have heard great feedback from the students. One student stated, “This is so much better than APEX. It is simpler.” IF the program continues to be successful, PHS is considering extending this program year round. Right now we have about 60 or more cohort students who are enrolled in this program.
On June 20- 23, Mrs. Wilson took 10 students to the Columbia Basin College Preparing for College Success Camp. Here the students were able to identify the benefits of attending a community college rather than a 4 year university, develop public speaking skills, and interact with students from Ki-Be, Finley, Kennewick, and other schools. During the camp, we tour CBC, and came across the Planetarium, and the mini theatre they have on campus. Most of the students were fascinated by the small lecture of the solar system and the different stars. They watched a short video about Black Holes, which went into depth about what they are and how they work.
On the last day of the CBC camp, the students had to develop a poster that answered all the prompt questions that was in their packet. They were able to work on this poster the last day of the camp, and had to present their final piece at the parent night, later that afternoon. Some of the students were freaking out, thinking they had to present their poster in front of everyone at the parent night. However the students only had to present to their parents, and walk around to see other students’ work. Pizza, cake, and drinks were provided by CBC. Overall the students enjoyed the camp, and were very fortune to receive two college credits from CBC. Most of the students that attended this camp were running start students who attend CBC.
Giving back to the community is a major role in this small town of Prosser. Most students during their summer vacation, work so they can buy school supplies for the following school year. However we have two PHS students, who have been volunteering at the Keene-Riverview with summer school. Brenda and Paola Ixta are sisters, who find joy in giving back to their community. Every morning starting June 20- July 8th, they have volunteered their time to help teachers at the Keene-Riverview with summer school. They work with kinder through 5th grade.
Even though school is out, GEAR UP is still working hard to expose students to continue their education after high school. We have a couple events that will do just that. First off we will be heading out to Washington Business Week, July 10th through the 16th. A few weeks after that we will be traveling to Seattle from August 9th-12th, to visit a variety of colleges and universities in the Seattle area.
Marlon Ramirez is GEAR UP at Southridge's student success of the year! He made major improvements with his grades as a Sophomore during the 2015-2016 school year. He improved each class by almost 2 letter grades! I caught up Marlon at the end of this school year to find out what had changed from last year.
He decided that rather than focusing on improving his habits, he focused on changing his attitude to school and his habits followed. Marlon told me that “Before I didn’t care, I didn’t want to do [the work],” he said. “Now doing homework is second nature. It’s a habit. I just do it. When I saw good grades that lifted my spirits. I check my grades often, before I didn’t check them at all.”
He also developed a support network of his dad, his school counselor and GEAR UP staff. He focuses more on school and said “It has been worth it! GEAR UP gave me tips, showed me what I should have been doing. My GEAR UP advisor also helped me see where I was headed and where I wanted to go. Southridge’s Sun Time (the after school tutoring program) helped me understand work I was confused by in class. I also got more help than I could in class.”
Marlon went to tell me that “I have no regrets for this semester. College seems attainable now, not impossible.” Marlon is thinking about going to Columbia Basin College and then transferring to a 4 year college after he gets his AA. He hopes to major in something related to computers or cars.
I asked if there were any other effects from his improved grades. He said his parent don’t harass him about grades anymore and he has been given responsibility at home and at work, because he has stepped up at school.
On Tuesday, March 29th, a group of River View HS juniors and sophomores set out for a two and four year college campus experience. Students were recruited by GEAR UP to attend College Planning Day hosted at Spokane Community College and later visit Whitworth University for a campus tour and lunch. This event has been attended by River View juniors in the past at WSU Tri-Cities, and Eastern. The Washington Council organizes College Planning Day-it is an annual, statewide event. It is a unique experience in that it provides students short presentations in session format different than a college fair experience. The colleges go to the students, and it is hosted on a college campus.
The Finley group of cohort students arrived at Spokane Community ready for check in and to head off to their first session. College Planning Day is organized into a four session schedule, where each session students select a college they would like to hear from. All schools present at this event were from Washington State, with twelve total in attendance. The most common schools heard from by River View students were Washington State University, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington University, and Central Washington University.
After College Planning Day the group drove over to Whitworth University. Abbey Prunier, a River View alumni, class of 2012, and former employee of the admissions office was available to give a one hour walking tour of campus before she had to go to class. The tour was comprehensive and even included a brief snapshot of dorm life. Students were dropped off at the HUB to embark on their cafeteria style buffet lunch.
As the school year comes to an end, GEAR UP will remain in function, as we help Prosser HS with its summer school program and take students to the varies summer camp that are being offered. GEAR UP staff has been working diligently to expose cohort students to different opportunities for post-secondary education. These summer camps will be a great exposure of college life to the students.
To begin with, we will be taking 15 students to Washington Business Week for a whole week. Here the students will be able to experience life on campus, talk to professionals in the business/healthcare field. They will get to experience their career of choice first hand during this week. The students will also receive two college credits, which can be transferred to their college of choice. A parent night was held to answer any questions they might have had about the program. The camp will take place at Gonzaga University from July 10-16th.
Columbia Basin College is hosting a summer camp that will prepare the students for college success, and our site will be taking at least 10 students. They will explore careers, and learn different techniques that will prepare them for college. This is a four day camp, where students will receive two college credits for CBC, after completing the camp. This is an awesome opportunity for cohort students who are thinking of attending CBC.
Last, but not least, we have the Seattle College Tour. We are taking 24 students to the Seattle area for three days, to visit a variety of colleges and universities. Bellevue Community College, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, and Highline Community College are just a few of the institutes that we will be visiting. We are looking forward to visiting all the institutes and see what their school has to offer. School policies will be enforced during this trip, and we have a parent volunteer who will help GEAR UP staff with the students.
PHS will be holding a summer program where students will be able to retrieve credits they have missed in previous years. GEAR UP staff will be helping cohort students to ensure they are meeting the deadlines for their credit retrieval. This program is called Red Comet, and will begin from June 16th- August 12th.
These are just a few events that will be taking place in the summer. As we end the 2015-16 school year, we will also be saying goodbye to our student tutors and ambassador officers. The ambassador officers have completed their term in office, and received a certificate for their participation in the Ambassador program. Our student tutors have finished their final year in high school, and will be off to college. We are very proud of these young adults and are very fortune to have had such a smart, responsible group of tutors. Laura Barrera will be attending the University of Washington, Hailey Buttars will be attending BYU, and Gauge Frank will be attending Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Thank you for your hard work you brought to this program, and good luck on your next adventure!
With the last day of school one short month away and our sophomore and junior cohort students one step closer to the new adventure of becoming juniors and seniors, we spent the last few weeks meeting with our College Bound students. Like all College Bound students, our Southridge students signed up in 7th or 8th grade and like most students, they had completely forgotten this amazing opportunity existed! For some students College Bound can make or break the choice to attend college and for others it can be the motivation to keep them on track with grades. We were happy to find that most of the College Bound kids are on track to receive their scholarship money, when they graduate!
We met one on one with all College Bound students and explained why they were receiving the scholarship, what it meant for them, and how to guarantee they will be given this award when they graduate. We reviewed each student’s grades with them and, if they needed one, discussed a plan for strategy to improve their grades. We went over the list of colleges and universities the scholarship would qualify for and in turn discussed each student’s 5 year plan. By giving out this information, it is our hope that it has motivated students to think of their future plans, make new goals and figure out what it takes to achieve them!