Advisory Committee Scholarship Update – February 2014

SVPAZ and its friends involved with the Camelback High School turnaround effort have established an Advisory Committee to raise funds for gap scholarships for CBHS 2014 graduates.

These funds will be placed at the Arizona Community Foundation in the Camelback High School Scholarship Fund.

Graduating seniors at CBHS may apply for these funds via the general ACF online scholarship application.

This Advisory Group will also select which of the qualified applicants will receive gap scholarship funds via a two-step process including an online scoring of the applicants and interviews with the highest scoring applicants. The selection process is set forth in more detail below:

Definition of Target Audience/Mission Statement

  • The goal of the Camelback High School Scholarship Fund is to identify students that have the ability to enroll and succeed in a postsecondary environment but are lacking the financial aid to permit them to attend.
  • Qualities that are highly desired are: motivation to succeed (demonstrated by grades, application for schools/scholarships), persistence in times of failure or hardship.

Camelback High School Scholarship Fund

The Camelback High School Scholarship is a “last dollar” or “gap” scholarship that will help graduates attend any type of post-secondary school anywhere in the world.

General information regarding 2014 ACF Scholarships

  • Each student will complete only one online general application to apply for a gap scholarships specific to Camelback High School students and 75+ other scholarships for Arizona students.
  • Awards available for all types of schools, in state and out of state, 2 year, 4 year, vocational & technical schools, in all majors and fields of study.
  • No minimum GPA required.
  • No U.S. citizenship required.
  • First deadline is March 28th – complete your application by March 28th to apply for all the awards.
  • Spend quality time on your essay and have someone read and help you edit.
  • Confirm two references that will submit on your behalf and follow up with them to make sure they have completed the online reference request. We recommend teachers, counselors, coaches, employers or community service related references. Do not use a family member or friend.
  • If you have questions about the application or need help submitting information please email scholarship@azfoundation.org or call 602-381-1400.

Camelback High School Scholarship Proposed Criteria and Rubric:

Minimum Application Criteria:

  • Student must be graduating from at Camelback High School.
  • Student must demonstrate financial need, as determined by the FAFSA and the financial aid letter from the school/college.
  • Student must be accepted and enroll full time in the summer or fall following graduation.

Criteria for Scoring: Each rubric is customized by point value and weight as follows:

  1. Academic Ability/Success at the College level (Point range 1-5, weight = 1)
    • Does the student demonstrate the ability to succeed at the postsecondary level?
  2. Essay(Point range 1-5, weight = 2, double points for this category)
    • Does the student sufficiently answer the question and provide adequate information to the reader to justify receiving a scholarship?
  3. Motivation (Point range 1-5, weight = 1)
    • Does the student demonstrate adequate motivation to succeed?
  4. References (Point range 1-5, weight = 1)
    • Do the references submitted support the student’s desire to advance to college?

Additional Criteria to consider at the time of Interview:

Financial Need

a. Does the student demonstrate need? (ACF will guide on this and provide hard numbers to consider);

b. Does the need fit the award level appropriate for this award? (Only pertinent if there is a cap set.);

c. Will this student be able to attend college without this support?

Interview qualities

a. Does the student exhibit strong motivation to receive this award?

b. Did the student apply for other scholarships?

c. Does the student represent the target audience for this award?

Camelback High School Gap Scholarship timeline:

  • April 25th, 2014 – Student Application Deadline
  • May 2st – May 12th, 2014 – Application Review Online – Committee members notified by email by ACF
  • May 12th at 10:00am – Reviews complete, scores submitted by committee members, ACF staff will compile results and share with committee chair (Chad Gestson)
  • May 12th-May 14th, 2014 – Students will be scheduled/confirmed for interviews
  • May 15th, 2014 1pm-4pm – Interviews @ Camelback HS
  • May 16th, 2014 – Award notifications made by phone/email to students

Q&A with Dr. Chad Gestson

Since this website is a case study, we are attempting to tease out of those directly involved in the program at CBHS more information as to how they proceeded in various parts of the project as well as keeping up to date as the programs evolve. Here are Dr. Gestson’s recent responses to four questions about the programs there.

1. On how Dr. Gestson initially aligned the CBHS staff to his vision:

This was a long process that really begins with focusing NOT on buy-in but rather more on empowerment and ownership. Leaders often seek buy-in from their employees – leaders create grand visions and initiatives and then spend time lobbying and politicking their way toward sufficient buy-in. I choose to let our employees help develop the mission, vision, and initiatives. They determine needs and direction of the organization. Then, as a result, they “own” the vision. Their commitment to the vision goes far beyond buy-in. They feel vested in making sure that the mission and vision is realized.

At Camelback, we took months (actually, over a year) creating the mission and vision for Camelback. We started by identifying all of our challenges. We analyzed our data (attendance, achievement, etc.). We then spent months studying research, visiting exemplary schools, and trying to find common links between highly effective schools. We then spent months connecting what we learned from the research and the visits to what our challenges were. We started to flesh out some real possible solutions to our challenges. Then, we began to finalize what our plan would be to address those challenges. Advisory is probably the best example of this. We realized that one of our biggest issues was a largely disconnected student body. Students were anonymous. No adults on campus were responsible for tracking the success (or failure) of students. So, after a lot of work and planning, we implemented an Advisory period to banish anonymity. For the past four years, Advisory has truly been the key vehicle for change at Camelback.

2. On the latest changes to Peer Tutoring program:

peer tutoringTutors at Camelback HS are morphing to mentors.

The Success Is Mandatory tutoring program is evolving into a mentoring program as well with the tutors also being tasked as mentors to the incoming freshmen. Mentors meet with their mentees each week to ensure they are on track in several ways as indicated on this form they fill out at each meeting.

Mentee Weekly Tracking Form (.pdf)

3. On academic rigor improvement efforts:

Increasing academic rigor this year has been successful. It is a work-in-progress and will take a few years to get to the level that we all want. We divided our campus into three large “learning teams.” The teams are:

  • Humanities (English, World Language, Linguistics, Reading, Social Studies),
  • STEM (Science, Business/Technology, GEARS/Engineering, Math) and
  • Kinetic (PE, Health, JROTC, Performing Arts, Fine Arts, Family and Consumer Sciences)

Each team chose their own instructional initiative. They determined their

  • timeline for implementation,
  • need for professional development,
  • accountability structures and
  • measures of success.

At this point the Humanities team is far beyond the other teams. They have already moved onto phase 2 of their plan. The STEM team has made excellent progress but is still on phase 1. Kinetic is still struggling with implementation and is having another training next Saturday to assist with implementation.

4. On tracking the college outcomes for the 2013 gap scholarship recipients:

As of their 2nd semester of their freshman year, we have confirmed that all gap students are enrolled in school and doing well academically, aside from one student. We have not been able to contact one student who enrolled in a community college in central Arizona to play basketball. We continue to try to make contact with this student. Interestingly, to date only two students have asked for the funds for their second semester tuition scholarships. Likely, this is because they have not received notification from their schools that their tuition is due in full. As we have found out with other students, universities often start reminding students of their full tuition payment deadlines a month or so into the semester.

U R Beautiful

urbeautifulThis is a guest post from Dr. Chad Gestson, principal of Camelback High School from Valentine’s Day 2014.

As you can imagine, Valentine’s Day is a very difficult day for many high school girls.  Though to the public this is a day of love and romance, this really is a day of heartache, heartbreak, and loneliness.

A group of Camelback girls, in anticipation of this being such a terrible day for their peers, collected 100’s of blank Post-It notes and rolls of tape this week from as many adults on campus as possible.  They then went around campus handing out the blank Post-It notes and asked their fellow Spartans to write notes of love and inspiration.

Then, after school yesterday, when everyone was gone, they snuck into the main girls bathroom and created this “U R Beautiful” wall so that every sad and lonely girl who escaped to the bathroom today, and even those with smiles and Valentine’s teddy bears who just wanted to check their makeup, were met with messages of love and hope.