Principal Investigator, Early Outreach Partnership
Director of Early Outreach Programs
WSU – Tri-Cities
to the Washington State Early Outreach Partnership Website
This project is the result of a mutual vision of three GEAR UP program directors in Washington State who met on a monthly basis to share ideas, successes and challenges in an effort to establish meaningful early outreach programs and activities. We were treading on relatively new ground with the idea of college preparation starting no later than the sixth grade level. Although many school staff members quickly embraced the need for early college preparation, there were those who were not at all convinced. We realized that we had a lot of work to do.
Our meeting exchanges were characterized by such questions as, “what are you doing to make college visits meaningful for 6th graders; what are you using for interest inventories for middle school students; how are you providing staff development for raising student expectations?” As we discussed issues, and began to collegially “steal” ideas from each other, we began to recognize the need for pooling resources so that others could benefit from the knowledge and experience of current practitioners without having to re-invent the wheel.
The dream of creating a one-stop website where promising early outreach practices could be shared came to fruition through a College Spark Foundation grant. Washington State University and the University of Washington teamed to write a grant application for a three-year project to collect successful practices in one location so that new practitioners would have a ready resource to begin their programs.
It is our hope and expectation that this website will be the "spark" that ignites new and even better ideas. This website includes over eighty thumbnail descriptions and over fifty detailed descriptions of promising practices submitted by practitioners in Washington State. The goal is to create a “hub” where those in the field have a place to share successes and challenges and establish a network for continuing to evolve programs that work to ensure that students are academically, socially and emotionally prepared to enroll in post-secondary education programs when they graduate from high school.
We want to thank all of our GEAR UP colleagues, program supervisors, middle and high school teachers and counselors, parents, principals, superintendents, and college staff who took the time to talk with us about their perspectives on early outreach and who provided insights on developing successful strategies. We have made great strides in providing quality programs and experiences for our students and we look forward to continuing the effort together, to develop, refine and sustain the innovations that have been and will be implemented.