Eastern’s GEAR UP team attends 2016 NCCEP/GEAR UP capacity-building workshop


WILBURTON, OK (Feb. 16, 2016) – New Orleans, Louisiana, was the site of the 2016 NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity Building Workshop. Eastern’s GEAR UP delegation joined over 1,300 GEAR UP professionals from across the nation at the workshop designed to help new and experienced GEAR UP professionals effectively meet their project goals and objectives through professional development and strategic planning activities. The workshop is coordinated by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) and is planned in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education.

The Workshop built on the key strategies that were launched at the recent GEAR UP Annual Conference in San Francisco and organized thematically around professional learning in the key areas of: Excel—developing a mindset of continual improvement and equipping GEAR UP professionals with the skills necessary to maximize their programmatic impact; Prove—ensuring that GEAR UP programs and professionals have the necessary skills, capabilities, and infrastructure to make informed decisions based on data, sound research, and evaluations; Mobilize—strengthening their collective voice to secure the long-term sustainability and growth of GEARUP locally and nationally.

The delegation attended a pre–CBW partnership event sponsored by Texas Instruments that focused on a collaboration review of success and challenges with the 2015 implementation and a look at 2016, including implementation strategies. They also attended An Orientation to GEAR UP, an interactive seminar providing a grounding of the purpose, history and structure of GEAR UP at the national, state, and local levels.

The opening session was called to order by Aaron Thompson, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and Chair of the NCCEP Board. James Davis, Director of GEAR UP, TRIO Talent Search, and College Access and Challenge Grants and Ranjit Sidhu, NCCEP President and CEO, addressed the audience throughout the conference.

Attendees from across the nation met to hone their grant implementation practices. In addition to the numerous workshops, opportunities were available for networking with colleagues.

Team members attended various workshops including Building and Nurturing Teams; Infusing Continual Improvement; Understanding Your Leadership Style; Partnerships—Managing with a Complex Delivery Structure; Principles of Change Management; Effective Grant Management; Growth Mindsets: Where There’s a Won’t, There’s a Way; First–Year College Success: What Does It Look Like?; Creating and Sustaining a College–Going Culture; and Parent and Family Engagement.

Additional workshops included A Foundation of Data Literacy; College Access/Success Research; Implementing Best Practices in Program Evaluation; Applying Rigorous Research and Evidence in GEAR UP; Confessions of Financial Aid Experts; Preparing GEAR UP Students for the Community College Experience—and Beyond; Using Data to Support Student Transition and Increase Student Success; Creating and Sustaining Buy–In at the School Level; Developing a Message that Works; Mastering the Art of Persuasion; Principles of Community Building; and Crafting a Communications Plan.

The Eastern team also attended Documenting the Match and the Annual Performance Report, workshops presented by representatives from the US Department of Education.

Representing Eastern GEAR UP were Eastern Vice President for Business Affairs LaDonna Howell; Eastern Grants Manager Teresa Brady; GEAR UP Project Office Manager Helen Scott; GEAR UP Education Coordinators Melissa Juarez, Natalie Kennedy, and Rachael Ranallo; GEAR UP Web/Computer Tech Specialist Dwight Smith; and GEAR UP Project Director Linda Morgan.

In 2011, Eastern received a seven–year, $12.6 million federal GEAR UP grant and is in its fifth year of implementation. Eastern currently serves over 2,300 students in 27 partner schools in six counties.

Members of Eastern’s delegation to the 2016 NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity–Building Conference were
Front Row: Eastern Grants Manager Teresa Brady, Project Director Linda Morgan, Project Office Manager Helen Scott, and Education Coordinator Natalie Kennedy.
Back Row: Education Coordinator Melissa Juarez, Eastern Vice President for Business Affairs LaDonna Howell, Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo, and Web/Computer Tech Specialist Dwight Smith.

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