GEAR UP Program Soars to Success with Cerritos College
The College Partners up with Bellflower USD to Support Disadvantaged Students’ Academic Success
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 17, 2008
Media Contact:Aya Abelon, Public Affairs; (562) 860-2451, ext. 2287
Norwalk, Calif. – April 17, 2008 - Cerritos College is proud to announce that its GEAR UP partnership with Bellflower Unified School District (BUSD), led by the Office of School Relations, has achieved outstanding results this year.
GEAR UP is a grant-funded project of BUSD with a goal to increase the number of low-income students entering and succeeding in postsecondary education through academic preparation and support. Cerritos College collaborates with BUSD in implementing the GEAR UP program.
To improve student achievement and enhance BUSD’s college-going rates, Cerritos College provides tutors and delivers programs and services including campus tours, workshops and presentations. The college also provides a presentation entitled “College: Making It Happen” in both English and Spanish to educate parents of the importance of planning ahead for college. For future addition to the program, Cerritos College will work towards curriculum alignment between the college and BUSD and will administer college placement tests to cohort students at the 10th grade level.
“The collaboration was initiated by Dr. Noelia Vela, president/superintendent of Cerritos College, working with Dr. Jeanette Johnson, director of state and federal programs at BUSD” reflects Shirley Arceo, coordinator of school relations at Cerritos College who oversees the program. “The program has experienced amazing growth since its inception.”
Since the program launched in 2005, the number of tutoring hours has leaped from 95 hours per week to 259 hours per week. The number of presentations and workshops, including college fairs, campus tours, in-class presentations and financial aid presentations has increased from 10 to 25 per year, considerably exceeding the required 10 per year.
“GEAR UP is necessary in our communities because it builds a bridge between the K-12 system and the community college system, creating a seamless education,” says Virginie Vo, GEAR UP assistant coordinator who facilitates the program under supervision of Arceo. “Through this program, entering students have a greater understanding of the benefits of a college education, how to set goals for themselves, and how to navigate through their educational experience.”
The teachers and the students of BUSD have reported to be very pleased with the quality of Cerritos College tutors and their professionalism in the classrooms. A teacher testifies, “The Cerritos tutors have been very effective in improving student performance. Students look forward to their assistance in the classroom and go to the after-school tutoring as a result of the classroom interaction. There has been a noticeable improvement in the number of students passing since the tutors have been in the class.”
The tutors also brought a positive side effect. According to another classroom teacher, some BUSD students saw what the Cerritos College tutors are doing and started tutoring each other. The tutors are not only providing supports, but they are also modeling for our students.
“Through our partnership with Cerritos College many students and parents have participated in campus visits to Cerritos College and heard the presentation ‘College – Making It Happen,’” says Brigit Muller, program administrator for Bellflower Unified School District. “Cerritos College tutors are helping our students make gains, so that they will achieve proficiency in academic subjects.”
“This program helps raise students’ awareness of and aspiration for a college education,” says Dr. Vela. “It builds that bridge and communicates to students and parents that a college education is achievable. We appreciate working in partnership with our colleagues at BUSD to enhance the future of students, families and employers.”
Contact Shirley Arceo at 562.860.2451 ext.2129 or email@example.com for more information on the GEAR UP Cerritos College program.
Cerritos College serves as a comprehensive community college for southeastern Los Angeles County. Communities within the college’s district include Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, Norwalk, and portions of Bell Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Santa Fe Springs and South Gate. Cerritos College offers degrees and certificates in more than 200 areas of study in nine divisions. Annually, more than 1,200 students successfully complete their course of studies, and enrollment currently nears 20,000 students. Visit Cerritos College online at www.cerritos.edu.