The GEAR UP SUCCESS (Supporting Unique Community Coalitions Engaged in Student Success) Retreat is an annual event that combines team planning time, breakout sessions and general sessions. GEAR UP Teams from each school, which may include administrators, counselors, teachers, community members and college or business partners, outlined priorities and planned for the upcoming year and beyond.

[Team time] is always the best part, because I feel like we are really making a lot of progress and planning to implement for next year. It's always really productive.

Hands raised in conference room

This year's event focused heavily on using data and exploring the new online data dashboard. Other popular sessions included the impact of caring relationships for rural students, exploring Oregon's apprenticeship programs and engaging parents. Several schools shared their promising practices throughout the retreat as well.

I really enjoyed the break out sessions and the ability to get upcoming or updated information from experts in each session.

Thanks for helping us with the data in a fun way. I really liked the activities you do—very creative & helped us engage.

The promising practices were great. They were inspirational and people had good ideas and stories.

Data sheet

The event had special significance for the 10 communities that Oregon GEAR UP has served since 2011 through our partnership with The Ford Family Foundation. Representatives from Drain, Reedsport, Elkton, Myrtle Point, Coquille, Powers, Camas Valley, Port Orford, Yoncalla and Roseburg received an honorary "diploma" thanking them for their past and continued work to support students. Their planning efforts focused on sustaining the college-going culture created during the past six years.

Thank you again for this opportunity to be a part of something so AWESOME.

Recognizing Ford schools

We also looked ahead to the next generation of college graduates: Elise (daughter of Programs Assistant Ashley Edwards), John (son of Data Manager Natalie Smith) and John (son of Coquille GEAR UP Coordinator Johnny Begin).

Elise, John, John