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“Take Action at Your Campus: GEAR UP for Action Council Student Directors ” The University of Texas – Pan American GEAR UP Project Monday, July 20, 2-3:15pm. UTPA GEAR UP Overview . Centralized University GEAR UP Staff 22 GEAR UP Coordinators 22 GEAR UP Family Liaisons

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“Take Action at Your Campus: GEAR UP for Action Council Student Directors ” The University of Texas – Pan American GEAR

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“Take Action at Your Campus: GEAR UP for Action Council Student Directors”

The University of Texas – Pan AmericanGEAR UP Project

Monday, July 20, 2-3:15pm

utpa gear up overview
  • Centralized University GEAR UP Staff
  • 22 GEAR UP Coordinators
  • 22 GEAR UP Family Liaisons


  • 22 High Schools
  • 8,950 Students
quick facts on region
Quick Facts on Region
  • 4 of the poorest counties in nation
  • 90% Hispanic
  • 80% Speak language other than English
  • 25% Foreign born, primarily from Mexico
  • 38% Live in extreme poverty
  • 53% of adults have H.S. diploma
  • 10% of adults are college graduates
5 grant components
5 Grant Components
  • Academic Preparation
  • Academic Preparation Support Services
    • Career Exploration
    • Job Shadowing
    • Leadership Development
    • Cultural Awareness
    • Community Service
  • Family and Community Outreach
  • Professional Development
  • Higher Education Collaborative
leadership development action council objective
Leadership DevelopmentAction Council Objective

Leadership Development - The University of Texas - Pan American GEAR UP Program is committed to provide opportunities to enhance leadership skills by developing action plans to improve current conditions / situations.

UTPA GEAR UP Action Council
    • Launched school year 2007-2008
  • Vision of the Action Council
  • Recruitment of Directors to support the following areas:
    • Academic Support
    • Community Service
    • Parental Involvement
    • Careers and Community
    • College Connection
  • Guidance
    • Centralized level
    • Campus level

Who are these Action Council members?

  • Active group of students that are self motivated and driven to help develop and nurture a college going culture
  • Commitment to peers, community and their academics
  • Team sets goals to make a difference
  • Initiative in order to produce and show results
  • Outspoken to promote the GEAR UP objective
  • Networking working with peers, parents, teachers, administrators and community members to enrich the mission of GEAR UP!

Getting Started…

  • Advertise (posters, announcements)
  • Meeting with Gear Up Students

- 5 Committees

- responsibilities of A.C. Directors

  • students nominate
  • votes are counted
  • develop leadership skills
  • enhance social skills and self esteem
  • learn teamwork & networking skills

Choosing the Appropriate Student Leaders






Serving as a Role Model

  • Active Involvement:

* Being academically responsible

* Participate in extra curricular


  • Skills:

* Leadership Skills

* Time management

* Collaboration/Team Effort

* Responsibility

* Academic: Peer tutoring


Building Leadership Skills

  • Camp of Champs(Confidence, Honesty, Action, Motivation, Purpose, and Success)
  • We learned:

1) self-confidence

2) daily action towards our goals and dreams

3) stay motivated

4) make a difference in the lives of others



  • meet once a week
  • Gear Up Office Visit

Action Council Board

Directors’ Communication Log

  • Committee:
  • 5or more members
  • Meet 2x a month

Activities of Action Council

  • Gear Up Coordinator
  • Calendar of Activities
  • UTPA Gear Up Staff
  • Gear Up Services
  • Needs (Students to be served)

Working With Others

  • Mission & Objectives of the Gear Up Project
  • Best- for students & parents
  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Democracy system
  • Teamwork

Giving Back to the Community


GEAR UP students help plant

trees and shrubs on one of the

many tracts of the Lower Rio

Grande Valley region



GEAR UP students collect items

to donate for care packages to be

sent to troops


We Support Our Troops

  • Collaborate with S.S. teachers
  • Flyers & Posters
  • Address of troops:
  • Contact us
  • Where to send
  • What to send
  • how to send
  • Post Office
  • 1800-610-8734
custodian appreciation
Custodian Appreciation
  • Week of Activities:
  • Monday- Banner
  • Tuesday- Thank you cards
  • Wednesday- Luncheon
  • Thursday- Gift Baskets
  • Friday- Chocolates

We Support Our Teachers

  • Teachers’ Survival Kit

pencil- to help us write our future

toothpick - to help you "pick" out the good

qualities in your students & yourselfcrayon - to color your day bright and cheer you upcandle - when you're up late grading paperseraser - to remind you everyone makes mistakes rubberband- to remind you to be flexible Lifesaver candy - you are a lifesaver to many of your studentspaperclip - to hold it all together

  • Monthly (mailbox)

Mint candy- “You “mint” a lot to us. Thank you for helping us GEAR UP for College!


Cultivating Grant Services

  • 1st Friday of the month
  • Lunch hour
  • Collaborate with Coordinator
  • Gear Up Services

* Leadership Development

* Virtual College tour

  • Advertise event to students
  • Snacks
we support our principal and our peers

*Door: “Our Principal graduated from HOPE College”

* Cake


* Birthday cards

* 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens Book

* Graduation pen

We Support Our Principal AND our Peers

Motivational Banners Displayed

  • (State Mandated Test)

*TAKS- Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills

* Ex: Ace the TAKS

  • College Alphabet Posters

* See samples

assisting during monthly parent meetings
Assisting During Monthly Parent Meetings
  • Distribute flyers & banners
  • Help set up
  • Assist in presentation
  • Clean up
  • Translate

Action Council Appreciation

  • Brownie Points Day

* once a month

  • Action Council Night Out

* Educational field trip

* Team building activity

  • End-of-the Year Celebration
utpa gear up student conference video 2009 weslaco east high school parent student conference
UTPA GEAR UP Student Conference Video 2009 Weslaco East High SchoolParent/Student Conference

Benefits of Campus - Wide Conference

  • Allows students & parents to network with professionals
  • Workshops:
    • Financial aid
    • Scholarship opportunities
    • Testing
    • Concurrent enrollment
    • Post secondary education options
    • Intervention for students who are struggling in high school


  • 4 months before event-
  • Set date & time
  • 3 months before
    • Recruit guest speakers
    • Prepare “list of questions to ask
    • guest speakers”
  • 2 months before
    • Finalize guest speaker list (Contact info)
    • Designate a “Check-In” room
    • Talk to teachers & students
one month prior to the event
One month prior to the event…
  • Send reminder letters or emails to guest speakers
    • Driving directions to school
    • Schedule for the day
    • List of questions students might ask
    • Confirmation of equipment needs
  • Organize “Passports” & Handbook
  • Create centerpieces, decors, flyers
  • Prepare requisitions; Request donations (food)

Promoting the Conference…

  • Posters
  • Mail out invitation to parents
  • Coordinator- class
  • Email parents & students
  • Text messages to students
  • Calling tree for parents (Platicadoras)
  • Morning & afternoon announcements
  • Media advertisement

The day before…

  • Remind students about Parent/Student Conference (time; assigned tasks, questions, etc.)
  • Set up rooms (décor, ppt equipment)
  • Laptops & LCDs
  • Hospitality Room
  • Email guest speakers
day of the event
Day of the Event…
  • Remind students about Conference
  • Assist Guest Speakers
  • Late Arrivals or No Shows:

(back up speakers; post a sign on the door)

  • Assist parents to sessions
  • Serve food
  • Event Evaluations

Weslaco East High School

Student/Parent Conference Schedule

5:00 Presenters Arrive & Setup

5:10 Action Council Students perform assigned tasks (Ex: Sign in sheets)

5:30 Everyone at the Cafeteria for opening session

6:00 Students & Parents report to sessions

8:00 Closing session: Cafeteria


Guest Speaker Packet

  • Itinerary
  • School Map
  • Schedule of sessions
  • Conference evaluation (Provides valuable feedback)
  • Certificate of Appreciation


  • Hospitality Room for guest speakers
  • Action Council students escort guest speakers to rooms
  • Action Council Directors read a bio and introduce guest speakers @ the beginning of each session
  • Action Council students in “Kiddie College Day Care”
  • Roles/Responsibilities of Action Council Directors
  • Calendar of activities
  • Student/Parent Conference templates:

- letter of invitation to parents

- guest speakers

- list of suggested questions

  • Military Service templates

- flyer

- point system


The University of Texas-Pan AmericanGEAR UP Project1201 West University DriveEdinburg, Texas 78541-2999


Weslaco Independent School District

Ms. Susan Peterson (Principal)

Cynthia F. Cid (GEAR UP Coordinator)

956.969.6950 x 337

Office: (956) 292-7501

Fax: (956) 292-7503