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TRAINING HANDBOOK

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface
Chapter 1. GO Center Design and Philosophy

Definition

Design Elements

Starting a Go Center

GO Center Launch Process

GO Center Launch Plan


Chapter 2. GO Center Sponsor

Definition

Role of Sponsor

Chapter 3. G-Force

Definition

Role of G-Force Members

Developing a G-Force
Chapter 4. Outreach

Outreach Strategies

Statewide Outreach Projects

Local Outreach Projects


Chapter 5. Message

The Benefits of College

College Admissions

Financial Aid

GO Kit
Chapter 6. Evaluation

Purpose


Indicators

Reporting Requirements

Baseline Survey
Chapter 7. Strategic Planning

Purpose


Basic Strategic Planning Concepts

Strategic planning considerations


Chapter 8. Resources

Tips from Current GO Centers

Web Resources

Print Resources

GO Center Sign In Sheet

G-Force Member Information Sheet

GO Center Monthly Report

Memorandum of Understanding

Ideal GO Center Model

Higher Education Legislation Fact Sheet



PREFACE
In 2001, the 77th Legislature adopted Closing the Gaps, a proactive plan designed in part to increase Texans’ participation and success in higher education.
As a result, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launched College for Texans, a marketing and outreach initiative in 2002 with the slogan “Education. GO Get It.” The goal of the campaign is to enroll 630,000 academically prepared students by 2015, 430,000 beyond the 200,000 expected to attend college at current rates.
Part of the campaign strategy is reaching these students by building strong partnerships in communities across Texas.
As part of this grassroots network, GO Centers are being implemented in communities across the state to help recruit students into higher education.
Initially, GO Centers are being located on high school campuses where they serve as a point of coordination between students, P-12 counselors, and institutions of higher education. At the GO Center, students will find a variety of resources to help them better prepare and plan for college. Middle/High school and Collegiate G-Forces assist students in finding information and exploring options.
This Handbook is designed to help:


  • Learn how to establish GO Centers in the community.

  • Recruit new G-Force members.

  • Support the GO Center and G-Force network.

  • Mentor G-Force members in their efforts to assist peers in developing the elements required to successfully transition from high school graduation to post-secondary education.

In 2007, the Outreach and Success Advisory Committee recommended a transition plan in which the oversight of GO Centers would be transferred to the institutions of higher education in each individual region in the State of Texas. Therefore, the following GO Center Handbook is being distributed as a training guide to institutions of higher education and their partners to ensure a successful transition. All resources provided (including this handbook) can be modified to fit the needs of individual partnerships between institutions of higher education (IHE) and independent school districts (ISD) or any other organization promoting the college-going message.



CHAPTER 1

GO CENTER DESIGN AND PHILOSOPY
Definition

GO Centers are local centers of energy and effort that focus on creating a school-wide college-going culture and promoting college awareness in the surrounding community.
Types

Traditional GO Centers are located in educational settings. They generally are located on high school campuses, but can also be found on middle school and/or college/university campuses.
Satellite GO Centers are located in non-educational settings. These can be found in public libraries, local workforce centers, or community centers.
Mobile GO Centers are, as the name indicates, mobile units outfitted with computers, printers, and internet connectivity. They will travel to a variety of nontraditional settings (i.e., festivals, sporting events, supermarket or mall parking lots, and schools that do not have GO Centers).

Design Elements

While every GO Center is different, they all contain the following common design elements:




  • A room or space (i.e., section of the library) located on site that is open and accessible.

  • A GO Center Sponsor.

  • Racks that contain college catalogs, pamphlets, and other college related printed materials.

  • Shelving or drawers that contain stacks of printed forms for various scholarships, financial aid, school admissions or other programs that require the submission of an application.

  • Posters or banners on the walls promoting various education related topics, programs or institutions.

  • Display Area/Board (for display Calendar of Events, College Fairs, Important Test Dates).


Peer Education

Increasing college enrollment rates is a matter of changing cultural norms. Effective strategies designed to change cultural norms must include the development of a system that uses positive peer pressure. The body of research on peer education clearly shows that the messenger may be more influential than the message. For this reason, GO Centers rely heavily on the creation of peer educators, known as G-Force, to carry the college-going message to their peers.


Another reason for utilizing peer educators is the need to maximize limited resources at the local level. School counselors typically shoulder the majority of the workload of providing assistance to students interested in pursuing post-secondary education. These individuals are typically responsible for a variety of other functions in the school as well. The establishment of a network of peer educators allows the counselor to meet the specific needs of more students as the peer educators assist students with the more general aspects of the college awareness and enrollment process.
NOTE: G-Force members are NOT counselors, they are simply facilitators of the process who provide very general information, motivate students to act on that information, help them get started in the process and then refer them to the appropriate resource person for more difficult issues. When peer mentors are able to answer many of the more general questions, the counselor can focus on more difficult issues.
Starting a GO Center

There are only a few requirements for opening a Traditional GO Center on a middle/high school campus.



  1. Obtain appropriate approval from the school district and principal.

  2. Secure a school faculty or staff member to be the GO Center sponsor.

  3. Designate a physical site on campus. This site does not have to be in its own room, but there must be a designated space for at least two computers and resource materials.

  4. Provide at least two dedicated computers with Internet access with either a link on the home page or setting the home page to www.CollegeForTexans.com.

  5. Recruit students to become G-Force members.

  6. Set up training via IHE or designated trainer for G-Force members and sponsor.


Making a GO Center Official

A sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is attached and is provided in Chapter 8, pp. 34-36. The MOU can be modified to fit the needs of a particular partnership between an IHE and ISD. To be an officially recognized GO Center, the IHE and ISD are asked to formalize the partnership by signing the agreed upon MOU and retaining a copy for their record. The IHE will submit an annual Uniform and Recruitment Strategies report regarding the success of GO Centers to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.


Setting up your Go Center

Branding items are available for new GO Centers once they are officially recognized. These items are to be used to designate the primary GO Center on campus. It is up to you to decide how you will arrange your GO Center. A typical GO Center will contain the following:



  • Desks/tables and chairs

  • At least two computers (Desktop PC , Notebook or Laptop) connected to the Internet1 (three or more would be optimal)

  • Telephone

  • Printer

  • Computer (Desktop PC/Laptop/Notebook) minimum requirements:

    • Pentium III (or better)

    • 512mb of RAM (or better)

    • 40GB hard drive (or better)

    • 48X CD-RW drive

    • Windows XP Professional Operating System

    • Word Processing Software

  • Shelves with FAFSA forms, Apply Texas Application, and other items

  • Sign in area.



GO Center Resources

  • University Brochures

  • College catalogs

  • Financial aid information

  • FAFSA application

  • Posters promoting higher education

  • College posters and pennants

  • Scholarship information

  • Resources to help guide students in choosing the right college

  • Resources to help students find their interests when choosing a major


GO Center Launch Process
Launch Check List


Mission Statement

G-Force members should get together and create a Mission Statement for the GO Center.



Definition

A mission statement should be a short, clear, concise statement that describes the purpose of the GO Center.


Example of a mission statement

“The mission of the GO Center is to significantly increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.”

McAllen Memorial High School
Process of Writing a Mission Statement


  1. Who

  2. What

  3. Why


Mission Statement:
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

LAUNCH PLAN

  • Set a launch date and time

  • Start with campus calendar

  • Speak to principal

  • Keep in mind work schedules, after school activities, testing dates

  • Schedule speakers




  • Invitations

  • Guest speakers

  • School officials

  • Parents

  • Community leaders

  • Community-based organizations




  • Promotions

Begin promoting as soon as possible: call/e-mail/fax information weeks in advance of the launch.

  • Distribute promotional material (fliers, postcards, pamphlets) on campus and in the community

  • Contact the school paper (if applicable)

  • Make an announcement to the entire school

  • Contact local newspapers, T.V., and/or radio stations to cover the launch

  • Work closely with Collegiate G-Force Members and/or local higher education institutions


Note: It is helpful to try to get donations for gifts or gift certificates for door prizes—this attracts more people (parents, students, and others) to attend the launch. Also, try to get donations for refreshments to be served on the day of the launch. Remember it’s your GO CENTER and your LAUNCH!!!

CHAPTER 2

Go Center Sponsor
Definition

A GO Center Sponsor provides direct support and assistance to G-Force Members and promotes the college-going message to other professional staff.


Role of GO Center Sponsor

Based on initial evaluations of GO Centers, the GO Center Sponsor is the most critical piece in creating a successful Center. Because of this, the Sponsor must believe in the GO Center and its purpose. If the Sponsor shows little or no interest, the students may also show little or no interest.


The responsibilities of the Sponsor include the following:

  • Promote higher education to every student!

  • Assist students with researching career, financial aid, and higher education options.

  • Fulfill administrative duties that G-Force members, as students, may not be allowed to do (i.e., matters involving confidentiality, academic or guidance counseling, etc.).

  • Recruit and organize G-Force members.

  • Motivate your G-Force members.

  • Assist G-Force members with preparing, launching and running the GO Center.

  • Plan or coordinate activities related to creating a college going culture (often done in collaboration with P-16 Field Specialist).


NOTE: Planning and carrying out the GO Center activities should not be the sole responsibility of the Sponsor. This is where recruitment of an active G-Force is essential.
Set Schedules

  • Have a schedule indicating hours of operation

  • Have a schedule indicating the hours High School G-Force members

will be volunteering at the GO Centers

  • Have goals to be accomplished throughout the academic school year


Conduct Presentations

classrooms, cafetorium, or community center

  • Remember to use Middle School, High School and/or Collegiate G-Force

Members to help with presentations


Update Resources

  • Research free resources

  • Order resources for GO Center


Document your Success

  • Sign-in sheets for students—always have a sign-in sheet at the GO Center

and have all students sign in

  • Keep a log of G-Force volunteer work

  • Document every event held with sign-in sheets

  • Take pictures of events, G-Force members in action, etc.


Keep Connected

levels
CHAPTER 3

G-FORCE
Definition

G-Force is a network of students/volunteers committed to achieving a college-going culture by supporting GO Center efforts.


Role of G-Force Members

Students often need help to maintain the momentum required by the college preparation process to complete their quest to enter college. G-Force members help create the drive in other students to go to college. G-Force members raise awareness among students and their families on the value of a higher education, show them how to prepare for college both academically and financially, and motivate students to successfully pursue higher education.


The G-Force is a key element of the GO Center. The most successful GO Centers will place the students in a leadership role. The commitment level of the members to the GO Center will be directly proportional to the level of ownership they feel.
Middle School and High School G-Force Requirements

1. Pursue Recommended High School Curriculum (High School only)

2. Maintain an 80% grade average*

3. Maintain a 95% attendance rate

4. Commit to the creation of a college-going culture

* The 80% average pertains to the student’s grade average once he/she has entered the G-Force. Many of the targeted students will not have 80% averages initially. However, these students can have the greatest impact on their peers. The 80% requirement begins with the grades subsequent to the student joining the G-force.


Collegiate G-Force Requirements

Currently there are over 60 Texas post-secondary education institutions that have established Collegiate G-Force chapters on their campuses. The purpose of these chapters is to serve as a point of coordination and deployment of campus resources that can serve Go Centers in surrounding communities. Each institution has established a student organization on their campus known as G-Force which includes officers.


Requirements for being a member of a Collegiate G-Force vary per institution. To determine the requirements of collegiate G-Force member at any specific institution, contact the G-Force sponsor for that institution.
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