The Palomar College (PC) GEAR UP partnership program will serve almost 3,000
students in two school districts, and three middle schools, with four cohorts. Located in the
contiguous cities of San Marcos and Vista, California, an area about 50 miles north of San
Diego, and inland, this rural yet growing region is rapidly transforming. With an influx of
industry and housing, the economic differences between families are becoming quite profound. The PC GEAR UP program will focus on middle schools that are in local “pockets of poverty”. The need in the three middle schools is based on substantial evidence of poor academic performance (based on grades and standardized test scores), lack of parent education and involvement, increasing diversity of students with varying degrees of English language proficiency, high drop out/absentee rates, and a lack of coordinated instructional and student support services. The proposed partnership activities for the PC GEAR UP program will be customized for each school/site personnel, each cohort (grade level), and each student/family. The PC GEAR UP program intends for the investment to match the outcomes, so that the time, money and efforts will lead to increased academic performance, high school retention and graduation rates with improved post-secondary preparation for all students. While the students will gain, their parents and teachers will also have higher expectations of teaching and learning, and more updated information about post-secondary options, preparation and financing.
Distinctly, this grant will continue to serve the San Marcos Middle School (SMMS), in
the San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD), with two new cohorts. Additionally, the PC
GEAR UP program and personnel will serve as a model for two additional schools, Washington Middle School (WMS) and Lincoln Middle School (LMS), in the Vista Unified School District (VUSD), with all students beginning in the 6 and 7th grades (Classes of 2011 & 2012).