November Newsletter: A Slice of APIE


Quick Bites of APIE: How your donations support our programs

  • $50 Materials for one class of Reading Classroom Coaching
  • $110 One year of mentoring for an at-risk student
  • $225 One year of Math Classroom Coaching for one student
  • $500 Materials for one school in new  Career Conversations Program for one year
  • $1,000 One year of College Readiness preparation and advising for one student

Donor Spotlight: Brad Pflugerpfluger_red test

Austin Partners in Education is proud to spotlight Brad Pfluger, president of local architecture firm Pfluger Architecture. Pfluger has been a generous partner to APIE for many years and most recently co-sponsored our first Donor Appreciation Event and Silent Auction held in October. With a passion for education and community involvement, Pfluger continuously supports and impacts students across Austin ISD campuses.

Name: Brad Pfluger

Occupation: President Architect at Pfluger Architects

Why does Pfluger support education programs in our community?

We believe that a good education is the foundation for a successful life. Financially, school systems can only go so far and it is critical for industry partners to step up to support students and Austin ISD.

What makes APIE a great partner for Pfluger?

Austin Partners in Education plays a vital role in establishing a variety of opportunities for individuals and companies to participate. In addition, APIE is the glue that connects partners to campuses.

Why does Pfluger believe in giving back to the community?

We believe that giving back to the Austin community is vital to the success of our city’s growth and financial future. Volunteer work builds relationships and bonds groups of people together. There is no greater feeling than when a group of people share ideas and solve problems for another person’s benefit.

In this season of thanks, what is Pfluger most thankful for?

We are most thankful for family, friends, and the opportunity to work with great people in a team oriented atmosphere where every child counts.

APIE would like to thank Pfluger Architects again for their generous commitment to APIE’s programs and donors. To join Pfluger in providing academic support to AISD students, please visit our donate page today.

Volunteer Spotlight: Zachariah Blechmanzach

APIE values volunteers who keep coming back each year; they are game changers in the classroom. And in a time of thanks, we couldn’t be more grateful for returning volunteers like Zachariah Blechman. He is the Recreation Program Specialist at the City of Austin and has served as a 2nd Grade Reading Classroom Coach for the past 3 years. Growing up, he valued his high school counselors and college advisers who he says had a major influence on the person he is today. Thank you, Zachariah, for all you do for the great city of Austin and for our AISD students.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

My favorite part of volunteering is getting to see the growth of the kids that I work with over the course of the year. Their added confidence that comes with improving their literacy skills and how it translates beyond our hour with them is very rewarding.

How has education played a role in your own life and career?

I am a big believer in the value of literacy; and as a person with both an undergraduate and graduate degree, I believe that education and learning have played a core role in helping develop me into the person I am today. Without my high school counselor and my academic advisers in both undergrad and grad school, I do not believe that I would the person I am today.

What has been your proudest moment as an APIE volunteer?

The genuine thanks I’ve received from some of my mentees at the end of the year, where despite their gripes about sitting down and working through the reading, they were sad that our time together was over. It’s always nice hearing you’ve made something that they assumed would be unpleasant a positive experience for them.

Would APIE have benefited you as a student?

I enjoyed and responded positively to similar reading programs when I was in elementary school, but often outpaced what was available. I certainly would have enjoyed it, but I think the benefits would have been more in terms of some of the intricacies of the language and social skills we also help develop in our mentees.

APIE in the Classroom

Austin Partners In Education volunteers work with students throughout Austin.

The classroom door swings open, revealing students’ smiling faces and an atmosphere of anticipation. The room may grow loud or quickly quiet, depending on the classroom. As some students’ excitement pushes them from their chairs, their teacher reminds them to remain seated. He, too, is smiling. It’s APIE day once again, and the Coaches are here! Students look forward to this day each week, and they are excited to spend those precious 45 minutes with their Coach.

In this season of Thanksgiving, we are especially grateful to our volunteers, whose dedication to their students and generous donation of time throughout the school year is nothing short of admirable, and to our donors, whose contributions combine to provide innovative, results-driven programs to students throughout Austin ISD. Your donations of time and money help create a supportive atmosphere where students can gain confidence, learn, and bond with caring adults from all walks of life. THANK YOU for all you do for Austin ISD students and for APIE.

APIE after Schoolstella n dot logo

APIE’s work is only possible with the help of our generous donors and volunteers. In this season of thanks, we are hosting two upcoming events to give back to you. Our final Lunch & Learn of the year takes place this coming Monday, November 16 with Dr. Jane Johnson, APIE Volunteer and UT Professor, speaking on Service Learning in the classroom. We are also offering a special event exclusive to APIE volunteers in December. Get your holiday shopping done early with the help of a Stella and Dot jewelry show with a portion of the night’s sales going towards APIE programs. Don’t forget to RSVP to these exciting events!

Nov. 16 Lunch & Learn with Dr. Jane Johnson

November’s Lunch & Learn speaker is Jane Johnson, Ph.D. Dr. Johnson is a Senior Lecturer of Medieval Spanish literature at the University of Texas at Austin, and serves as the Coordinator of Service Learning and Community Outreach for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Donors and guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary lunch while hearing how APIE engages students through service learning opportunities. Please RSVP to to join us November 16 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 pm at Mitte Carriage House downtown.

Dec. 10 Holiday Jingle & Mingle with APIE

Volunteers are invited to an exclusive event just in time for holiday shopping! Join your volunteer coordinators at our Holiday Mingle & Jingle featuring sparkling jewelry from Stella & Dot perfect for anyone on your shopping list this season. A portion of the night’s sales will be donated to APIE programs. We can’t wait to see you December 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Please RSVP to Location TBD.

APIE Donor Meterstackable books October

It’s National Philanthropy Month! Ready to be thanked all month long? Become an APIE donor. Your gift of $10 makes you eligible for donor exclusives like Lunch & Learns all year long.

Before you start your cyberMonday shopping, choose to support APIE at Email with any questions.

October Newsletter: A Slice of APIE


Quick Bites of APIE: Reading Program 2014-2015

  • APIE’s Reading Program is offered in both English and Spanish.
  • More than 700 students were served in APIE’s Reading Program.
  • Classroom Coaches volunteered in over 40 Austin ISD classrooms.
  • Over 300 individuals volunteered as Reading Classroom Coaches.

Donor Spotlight: Janet BurneroctDonor Spotlight200

APIE relies on the generous support of donors to bring our reading program to AISD 2nd graders. This month’s Donor Spotlight focuses on Janet Burner, a longtime APIE volunteer and donor. To join Janet in supporting APIE programs, and for exclusive invites to upcoming donor events, please visit our website.

Name: Janet Burner

Occupation: I have a degree in sociology and worked in social services for 14 years prior to having my children.

Why do you support reading programs in our community?

I think reading skills are crucial for all children to succeed. I was not an avid reader as a child but realized it was crucial when I had children. Reading to my kids and listening to books on tape with them are some of my most cherished moments. I love that APIE gives me the opportunity to help other kids and improve their reading skills.

As an APIE volunteer and donor, what has been your most rewarding experience?

I’ve had so many rewarding experiences volunteering with APIE: walking into the classroom and watching the kiddos’ faces break into a smile when they see me; starting with a student I can barely hear when they are reading in September and having them ask to read first with a strong voice at the end of the year, watching the kids work together and support one another.

What is your favorite book and why is it your favorite?

My favorite book is usually the one I just read. The most recent books I’ve read and loved are “The Lady in Gold,” “Beautiful Ruins,” and “All the Light We Cannot See.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Kay AldermanVolunteer Spotlight 200

Kay Alderman has dedicated most of her life to education. She began her teaching career in Houston, TX at Jackson Junior High School. With 18 years of teaching, she expanded her career to higher education and become a professor at Northeastern Illinois University and the University of Akron. After 27 years as a devoted teacher, she retired in 2006 and has been a valued Classroom Coach for the past 6 years.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

Helping the students to engage in and enjoy reading. The students are eager to take their turns in reading each story.

How has education played a role in your own life and career?

Education has been so important in my life and career. Although the quality of my high school was lacking, what I got was still important. It enabled me to go to college, and then pursue an advanced degree. I have had a satisfying life with a feeling of accomplishment.

Would APIE have benefited you as a student?

I enjoyed school, and APIE activities would have added to that enjoyment and to what I learned in the classrooms.

What has been your proudest moment as an APIE volunteer?

Working with a student across the year and seeing his progress. At the beginning, he was very shy and reluctant to respond. As the year progressed, his responses increased. One story in particular seemed to make him more engaged. By the end of our year, he was fully engaged and asking very good questions.

APIE in the ClassroomAPIE in the Classroom 2

Classroom Coaching is underway at 11 elementary schools and 5 middle schools! Classroom Coaching transforms entire classrooms into small learning teams. Each Classroom Coach works with the same group of three or fewer students weekly throughout the school year. This allows Coaches and students to bond, boosting the students’ confidence and creating a positive classroom experience for all involved. The students look forward to “APIE day” every week!

Coaches, here are some simple tips to build close, positive, and supportive relationships:

  • Learn as much as possible about your students’ interests. Make connections between those interests and each week’s lesson.
  • Be patient with students. Bonding with these students may improve their behavior in the classroom.
  • Model respectful behavior. Listen, show genuine interest, empathize, treat each student equally, give students time to answer questions, and offer tips or clues to help them answer.

We still have a few volunteer opportunities left this school year! Every child needs a caring adult; that adult could be you.

APIE after SchoolocyAPIE After School200

October is another exciting month for APIE Donors! We had a great time at our first Lunch & Learn with Dr. Meg Moore. You don’t want to miss our next series of speakers featuring Dr. Judy Jennings and Dr. Jane Johnson and don’t forget to RSVP for our first Donor Appreciation & Silent Auction!

Oct. 22 – Donor Appreciation & Silent Auction RSVP

Oct. 28 – Lunch & Learn Speaker Series with Dr. Judy Jennings RSVP

Nov. 16 – Lunch & Learn Speaker Series with Dr. Jane Johnson RSVP

Donors are also invited to our inaugural Donor Appreciation and Silent Auction event on Tuesday, October 22 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Olive and June. This event is our way of showing gratitude to donors whose support makes our work possible. Enjoy delicious food while bidding on exciting auction items, including “Family Night Out” basket, weekend getaway, and more. Know someone who should join the APIE Donor Family? Bring them along, too! APIE staff will be on hand all evening to answer any questions or concerns. RSVP to to reserve your spot by Saturday, October 18.

Don’t miss out on our next Lunch & Learn on October 28 with Dr. Judy Jennings where all your questions on curriculum engagement and development will be answered. The event is held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. at Mitte Carriage House downtown with delicious lunch provided by Schlotzsky’s Deli. Space is limited so please RSVP to by Friday, October 23.

APIE Donor Meterstackable books October

Fall Classroom Coaching is up and running. You can still participate in students’ success by making a gift in support of APIE programs by clicking here. Shop on Amazon? Go to before your holiday shopping to select Austin Partners In Education as your benefiting charity. Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases directly to APIE!

September Newsletter: A Slice of APIE


Quick Bites of APIE: College Readiness 2014-2015

  • 62% of Central Texas high school students graduated college ready.
  • 679 students were served in APIE’s College Readiness Program.
  • 200 APIE students became fully college ready in math and English Language Arts (ELA).
  • 180 APIE students became partially college ready in math or ELA.
  • 35 freshman in APIE’s pilot program became college ready in ELA.

Donor Spotlight: The Michael & Susan Dell FoundationDonor Spotlight200

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is one of APIE’s longest-standing supporters. Since 2007, the foundation has awarded more than $1.2 million to ensure APIE can continue serving Austin ISD students in the classroom. APIE shares the foundation’s goals to “improve the lives of children living in urban poverty.” As we focus on College Readiness this month, we asked Virginia Potter, Program Officer at the foundation, to answer a few questions about education in Austin and planning for life after high school.

Why is the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation so passionate about supporting education programs in our community?

As the area grows by leaps and bounds, we’re seeing two very different Austins evolve: a thriving economy but many being left behind; more wealth, but also more poverty. The nonprofit sector is at the center of this tension, and we believe that supporting strong, impactful organizations in education is the key to economic prosperity and a thriving life for first-generation college students and their families.

What makes Austin a unique city in terms of education?

Austin is home to many institutions of higher education, including one two-year college system, two public four-year universities, and five private four-year universities. And, E3 Alliance’s data tells us that half of Central Texas high school graduates enrolled in higher education within the Central Texas region. That means that our students are staying close to home, aiming to positively impact their local communities.

Why does the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation encourage students to become college ready and seek higher education?

Students need to view higher education as preparing them to be successful in our ever-evolving world. The majority of jobs that will exist 15 to 20 years from now haven’t even been invented yet. The research demonstrates that attaining a post-secondary degree/credential, and specifically a bachelor’s degree, offers the best pathway to career and employment opportunities that help break the cycle of poverty for first generation college students.

What advice does the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation have for students considering college enrollment?

Start early! Understand the classes you need to take to be college ready and get connected with the teachers, counselors and advisors who can help you navigate the college application and financial aid processes. Also, try to connect with someone who is already in college. Current college students can share what their “student” experience has been like and offer tips to help you be better prepared.

Volunteer Spotlight: College Readiness AdvocatesCollege Readiness Spotlight 200

APIE’s College Readiness Program prepares high school students to meet state standards for college readiness and guides seniors through the college application process. The program is supported by College Readiness (CR) Advocates who go through comprehensive training to advise and tutor students throughout the school year. Advocates have described their job as a “humbling and inspiring” experience.

Read below as returning CR Advocates share their insight:

 “A lot of the students I have worked with in the past came to me with little or no self-confidence and little or no direction in regards to their post-secondary education. Witnessing those same students take initiative in their futures and push themselves outside of their comfort zones has been both humbling and inspiring.” – Samantha Kimmel, CR Advocate

“It’s really great to be around and help out through the difficult and intimidating process that is applying for college. When everyone starts getting in to schools or realizing their plans, it’s just really fulfilling!!” – Kynan Murtagh, CR Advocate

“The most rewarding thing is getting to see the development of a senior throughout the year. From the beginning, when college is just an option to the end of the year after receiving acceptance letters and making the big decision of where to go to college and in what city, etc.” – Yesenia Yanez, CR Advocate

APIE in the ClassroomAPIE in the Classroom200

APIE’s College Readiness program is underway at 10 Austin ISD high schools, providing academic support and college advising to students from the very beginning of the school year.

That’s not all. Classroom Coaching programs launch in less than 3 weeks, and volunteer opportunities are filling quickly! Every child needs a caring adult. That adult is you. What are you waiting for? Register today to become a Coach and affect positive change in students’ lives.

As part of the registration process this year, you will be invited to make an optional donation to help offset registration related costs and support our programs. You may choose to register without donating by clicking the link at the top of the registration page.

APIE after Schoolmeg moore 200

Thinking of becoming an APIE Donor? Now is the time! We have exclusive events planned just for our APIE Donor Family this fall.

Sept. 29 – Lunch & Learn Speaker Series with Dr. Meg Moore

Oct. 22 – Donor Celebration & Silent Auction

Oct. 28 – Lunch & Learn Speaker Series with Dr. Judy Jennings

APIE’s very first Lunch & Learn Speaker Series is a 3-part presentation led by influential Austin leaders and focuses on topics, including volunteerism and curriculum engagement. This is a great way to meet like-minded community members and get insider knowledge of current issues facing nonprofits while enjoying a delicious complimentary lunch. The first Lunch & Learn is Tuesday, September 29 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. at Mitte Carriage House Downtown. APIE Board Member Dr. Meg Moore is presenting on Giving and Volunteerism. This event is free of charge for donors, but space is limited, so please RSVP to before Tuesday, September 22.

Donors are also invited to our inaugural Donor Celebration and Silent Auction event on Tuesday, October 22 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Olive and June. This event is our way of showing gratitude to donors whose support makes our work possible. Enjoy delicious food while bidding on exciting auction items, including Austin Spurs tickets, Alamo Drafthouse certificates, and brewery tours. Know someone who should join the APIE Donor Family? Bring them along, too! Development staff will be on hand all evening to answer any questions or concerns. RSVP to to reserve your spot.

APIE Donor Meterstackable books June

The 2015-2016 school year is finally here. Help support our programs with your generous gift of $15, $25, or $35. Click here to donate.

August Newsletter: A Slice of APIE


Quick Bites of APIE: Tips to Classroom Coaches

  • Take your time getting to know your students and establish good rapport on the first day of Coaching. This will help set the tone for the rest of the school year.
  • Keep an eye out for important emails from coordinators throughout the year.
  • Remember your students’ names by writing them down on the first day of class.
  • The first day of coaching can be hectic; be sure to arrive early and allow plenty of time to locate your class.
  • Implement your training and always strive to be a positive role model for your students.

Microsoft Donor SpotlightDonor Spotlight200

Austin Partners in Education is fortunate enough to be surrounded by tech companies willing to support and encourage Austin ISD students and teachers. One of our largest supporters is Microsoft. Employees, including Community Development Specialist Deidre Honea, work tirelessly to ensure Austin classrooms are equipped with the latest technology to make learning easier and more effective. Not only are teachers offered Microsoft products, but free training workshops and career development days are also made available.

With Deidre’s role as community liaison, Microsoft is committed to “changing the shape and future” of Austin education. As part of their commitment, Microsoft collaborates with APIE on exciting new opportunities. APIE’s new online volunteer training program is made possible through Microsoft’s generous donation of iSpring software. Throughout the year, Microsoft employees also volunteer to assist APIE staff with multiple projects, including event preparation for Salute and Celebrate as well as material assembly for classroom programs. We appreciate their enthusiasm for education and look forward to future opportunities to collaborate. As the new school year begins, Deidre encourages students, “to continually push boundaries, keep yearning, and keep finding new things to discover.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Toni LambertVolunteer Spotlight200

Since fall of 2006, Toni Lambert has taken time out of her job as an Assistant Director at Austin Public Library to volunteer with APIE as a 2nd Grade Reading Classroom Coach. At a young age, Toni’s love for reading was fostered by teachers and school librarians, which later influenced her to pursue a profession as a librarian. She describes her APIE coaching experience as gratifying and considers the time she spends reading to students the highlight of her week.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

The kids! I’ve been volunteering with APIE since I moved to Austin in the fall of 2006, and I consider the time that I spend reading with the children the highlight of my week.  It’s so gratifying to see the smiles on their faces when we enter the room and to note how their reading skills improve.

Would APIE have benefitted you as a student?

Yes, I think so. I remember how frustrating it was when the reading lesson in class was at the wrong level. We were never all reading at the same level, so most lessons were too easy (and boring) for some students and too difficult for others. I think it would have made a difference to have someone come in every week to work with small groups who were reading at the same level. I would have loved having someone like an APIE volunteer come in to read with me each week.

What has been your proudest moment as an APIE volunteer?

Near the end of the school year, the year before last, I told the children that we could play a game or color if we finished the lesson early. I was thrilled when both of them told me that they would rather read to me from books that they had checked out from the school library. Earlier in the school year, when I made the same offer, they wanted to color; so it was great to have them choose reading! Until the program ended that year, I made sure to leave a few minutes for each child to read to me and the other children from the book of their choice.

Other thoughts or APIE related stories to share?

APIE makes it easy for volunteers to work effectively with children on their reading.  I’ve found the staff to be very supportive and I’ve noticed that the materials seem to get better every year.


In my 2nd Grade Dual Language Class at Dawson, Maria has made gains in her reading and comprehension. Maria started the year with a low self-esteem in reading. She read feeling very insecure pronouncing words and did not actively participate in discussions. I began to see a difference in her reading mid-year. She began to read words with fewer mistakes, and her comprehension increased. – Mr. Luis Soto, Teacher

Learn more about helping Austin ISD students here.


Interested in where we spend our time when we’re not in the classrooms? Here are a few places you can spot us around town:

  • Aug. 13: Back to School Bash with Microsoft at the Round Rock Express. Please RSVP to get your tickets in advance to
  • Sept. 1: UT Work Study Job Fair
  • Sept. 2: City of Austin Volunteer Recruitment Event at Austin Energy
  • Sept. 2: Dropbox Austin Open House – Welcome to the Neighborhood!
  • Sept. 3: St. Edwards University Part-Time Job Fair

APIE Donor Meterstackable books June
The 2015-2016 school year is quickly approaching. Help us start the school year off right with your gift of $15, $25, or $35. Donate now!

July Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

Quick Bites: APIE’s Top Reads This SummerPrint

Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change by Joseph Grenny

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The Places That Scare You by Pema Chödrön

 The Martian by Andy Weir

 Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

 Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

 The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

 The Essential Rumi by Jalal al-Din Rumi

 Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Donor Spotlight: Roger EdmondsonDonor Spotlight

Serving APIE as both donor and volunteer, Roger Edmondson has earned the distinguished title of APIE Ambassador. Although Roger is a successful Business, Sales and Marketing Consultant, he admits that completing his college degree would have provided an easier path to success. He has worked with youth in some capacity for over 35 years and believes education is “the real key to a vibrant society and productive life.” Education is definitely a central focus of his family. Not only does Roger volunteer weekly with APIE’s Classroom Coaching program, but his wife teaches at Austin Community College while his son is an AISD elementary school teacher.

Roger believes the most rewarding part of being an APIE donor is the reward of helping children who are ready and willing to learn. He remembers being an eager student himself who once read 100 books over summer break. He encourages students to continue working hard over the summer to achieve something they will remember for a lifetime. Roger is appreciative of the work APIE does to help students reach their goals and recognizes the need for support from the community to provide a quality education experience. Roger understands the challenges facing education today but believes, “it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.  If we can light enough candles we can illuminate the lives of the next generations of children.” To join Roger in supporting APIE students and teachers, please visit our donation page here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy Garland



Kathy Garland is a retired Accountant for the City of Austin and a current APIE volunteer. For the past seven years, she has dedicated her time as a Classroom Coach for APIE’s 2nd grade reading program, and says her favorite part about her work is witnessing the progress each student makes throughout the year. “One boy started the year far below grade level; he was at beginning kindergarten level.  By the end of the year he was right on grade level.  He worked very hard and made tremendous progress.”


Retired Accountant for the City of Austin

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

Seeing the progress made in one school year. In 2nd grade they become such good readers and understand the content, not just reading the words.

How has education played a role in your own life and career?

I always loved school. Education was important in my family. It was expected that you would go to college.

Would APIE have benefitted you as a student?

I was very shy in school. The APIE program of working in small groups would have given me the confidence to speak up in class.

What has been your proudest moment as an APIE volunteer?

One boy started the year far below grade level, he was at beginning kindergarten level. By the end of the year he was right on grade level.  He worked very hard and made tremendous progress. The teacher was committed and well-liked by the kids. They would do everything she asked. I’m sure he wanted to please her.

APIE In the Classroom                                                       IMG_3700

During the summer, APIE’s Program Coordinators take actions to ensure the upcoming school year is even better than the last for both our volunteers and our students. They improve curriculum and training, organize hands-on and interactive activities for you and your students, and contact local businesses to begin recruiting volunteers.Pictured are APIE’s program coordinators who were awarded a Certificate of Recognition for their work at Webb Middle School this year.

APIE After School (Upcoming Events)

APIE After School

This summer, we’re taking advantage of everything Austin has to offer. Do you enjoy live music? Live theater? Spending time with fellow APIE volunteers? Join us at any of the following events. We’d love to see you this summer!

APIE Donor Meterstackable books July

Summer is in full swing at APIE. Become part of the momentum with your gift of $15, $25, or $35 in preparation for next school year. We’re busy making it the best ever, and you can help. Donate now!

June Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

Quick Bites: APIE’s Advice on Life After High School GraduationA Slice of APIE Logo

 “Explore everything you can and never put yourself in a box.” Natalie Persicano, Training Program Designer VISTA

“Dream Big!  Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!” Dr. Cathy Jones, Executive Director

“Go for it!  Follow your dreams, climb every mountain.  But don’t forget to be kind and respectful to everyone on your journey—that should be your greatest accomplishment.” Dawn Lewis, School Connections Manager

“Keep your mind open to all the possibilities in front of you, and then do what makes you happy.” Barbette Cooper, Finance Director

When you’re feeling stressed, take a few deep breaths. It opens you to new ideas and feelings.” Elena Lorio, Elementary Reading Manager

“Don’t worry if you’re not sure what’s next.  Step into life and see what happens!” Jessica Lester, Elementary Reading Campus Coordinator

“Establish/Maintain good credit – so important. Stay optimistic. Dedicate time to figuring out what you are passionate about. Build your network.” Andrea Panter, Middle School Math Manager

Donor Spotlight: Applied Materials 

Donor Spotlight Applied_Materials_Logo 200

Applied Materials has nearly a decade long history of supporting APIE programs and events. This past year, they generously awarded a $30,000 grant to support our College Readiness program. Because Austin serves as Applied Materials’ volume manufacturing center, they invest in local education programs through Applied Materials Foundation grants, employee donation and matching as well as volunteering. By partnering with organizations like APIE, Applied Materials and its Foundation support students throughout their entire academic career, pre-K through high school graduation.

Applied Materials recognizes that students from economically disadvantaged communities have limited access to high-quality education. APIE’s College Readiness program offers advising and tutoring to underserved high school seniors struggling to meet college readiness standards. With Applied Materials’ help, we provide Austin ISD students a better chance at succeeding in college and launching a successful career. Students who graduate from high school meeting college readiness standards, experience higher self-confidence and are more likely to complete their degree. These are especially significant accomplishments for our students, many of whom are first-generation college students.

Applied Materials congratulates all students and teachers on another successful year, and encourages students to continue learning and exploring throughout the summer.

To join Applied Materials in supporting APIE programs, click here to donate.

Volunteer Spotlight and Q&A: Karen Yokum, IBM Electrical EngineerVolunteer Spotlight Karen_Yokum_Photo 200

Karen Yokum, Electrical Engineer at IBM, has volunteered with APIE as an 8th Grade Math Classroom Coach for 3 years. She has been influential in encouraging other IBM employees to become APIE volunteers and works to help students experience real world applications of their classroom studies. “My favorite part about volunteering each week is seeing the students.  They are generally excited to see the volunteers when we enter the classroom each week.  I love hearing about their days, and they love to hear about what we do at work each week.” Click here to read more about Karen and her experience with APIE.

Occupation: Electrical Engineer at IBM

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

My favorite part about volunteering each week is seeing the students.  They are generally excited to see the volunteers when we enter the classroom each week.  I love hearing about their days, and they love to hear about what we do at work each week.

How has education played a role in your own life and career?

Education is very important to both my life and career.  I grew up in a family that emphasized education and learning something new every day.  In high school, I started to figure out what classes sparked my interest.  I learned that I was passionate about science and technology.  I attended the University of Notre Dame where I was able to explore a wide array of classes that led me to pursue an Electrical Engineering degree.  One of the most important things I learned throughout my educational career was how to problem solve.  This is essential to my career at IBM.

Would APIE have benefited you as a student?

APIE would have greatly benefited me as a student.  In middle school and high school I was scared to raise my hand to ask questions or go up to the board.  Having the individualized positive attention would have encouraged me to ask questions in these small groups rather than relying on the “I’ll figure it out later” approach.

What has been your proudest moment as an APIE volunteer?

My proudest moment as an APIE volunteer occurred at the end of the school year when we did the final review for the Math STAAR.  At that point, I visibly noticed the strides the students made in both their confidence and math skills.  The students were more outgoing, willing to ask questions, and confident in their ability to do well on the STAAR.

If you could share one thing with 8th grade students as they enter high school, what would it be?

Entering high school can be a scary endeavor, but embrace the challenge.  Get involved, join clubs, and take electives that interest you.  It is never too early to begin thinking about your future.  Classes may seem more challenging than they were in middle school, but remember to take the time to understand the material and try your hardest to succeed!

Other thoughts or stories to share?

We have a bunch of volunteers at IBM who volunteer during their lunch hour on Wednesdays at Burnet Middle School and Thursdays at Webb Middle School.  At the end of the school year, once the STAAR tests are completed, we like to plan a field trip for the classes we volunteer with to come to IBM and see what we are working on.  We get to show the students our offices and labs, demonstrate interesting projects we are working on, and perform some cool liquid nitrogen science experiments.  The students love to see where the volunteers work and what they do each day.

APIE in the Classroom: High School Graduate, Prescilla MejoradoAPIE in the Classroom 200

Despite the struggles of growing up as an orphan and living in a children’s home throughout high school, College Readiness student Prescilla Mejorado is now a Class of 2015 graduate from Lanier High School. As she overcame adversity and hardships, she developed a strong passion for math, technology, and service. At least twice a month, Prescilla volunteers at the Austin Humane Society and Austin Pets Alive! and regularly volunteers to feed the homeless. She says, “It just feels really good and changes your perspective of how you see people.”

After graduation, she plans to attend Austin Community College to receive her associates and transfer to the University of Texas to study Mathematics. After college, her career dream is to become a CEO of a major gaming company.

Congratulations, Prescilla. APIE wishes you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.

APIE After SchoolAPIE After School Unplugged at the Grove 200

Summer doesn’t mean APIE stops working! Whether you are striving towards a diploma or degree, just graduated, or long since tossed your mortarboard, everyone’s invited to join APIE staff members and volunteers next Thursday, June 11th for our first summer gathering at Unplugged at the Grove. We’ll meet at Shady Grove, 1624 Barton Springs Road, at 7:30pm and The Oh Hellos go on after 8pm. For more information email Anne or visit the Unplugged at the Grove webpage.

Book-o-meterstackable books June

School may be out, but our fiscal year just started June 1, 2015. Help APIE start the year off right. Send your gift by Friday, 12 for a chance to win Cap City Comedy Club tickets for two Wednesday – Thursday. Tickets expire Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

May Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

A Slice of APIE Logo
Quick Bites of APIE: Teachers of Texas
1. AISD has 242 national board certified teachers – more than any school district in Texas.
2. The 2015 National Teacher of the Year is from Texas – the first time since 1957.
3. AISD has more than 6,300 classroom teachers.
4. 95% of participating teachers agree APIE programs are a good use of class time.
5. AISD teachers have an average of more than 11 years of teaching experience.

Donor Spotlight: Horace MannHMleft_blk_notag
Horace Mann has a 75 year history of providing educators with quality life, health, and car insurance. They are a longtime supporter of APIE and are this year’s Signature Sponsor for Celebrate and Salute events honoring excellence in AISD. Horace Mann maintains over 750 offices in 46 states with former teachers making up approximately 50% of their workforce. Regional Marketing Officer Lori Gray is one of these former educators and understands the high demands and stress associated with working long hours in the classroom. Horace Mann believes teachers are unsung heroes, so Lori and her colleagues work to provide educators with insurance products to meet their unique needs.

As part of Teacher Appreciation Month, Horace Mann representatives will be visiting schools throughout May to provide breakfasts, lunches, and treats to AISD educators. Lori enjoys the camaraderie of these school campus visits as well as the opportunity to recognize hardworking teachers in our community. “If we can put a smile on their face and put them in a better mood, at the end of the day the kids benefit from happy, well-fed teachers.”

Horace Mann understands the impact teachers have on young minds as they continue to grow and develop and gives teachers the necessary support and encouragement needed to continue in their often thankless positions. Lori hopes all teachers know, “You are an appreciated and respected part of society and the most valuable asset to the community. You are not just a teacher. You are THE teacher.”

Please join APIE and Horace Mann in recognizing AISD’s hardworking teachers on May 19 at this year’s Salute event.

To learn more about becoming an APIE donor, please visit

Volunteer Spotlight: David MatustikDavidMatustik_portrait
David Matustik, Deputy Communications Director for the City of Austin, has been a committed APIE Classroom Coach for the past seven years. Each week, he takes 45 minutes out of his busy schedule to read with 2nd graders at St. Elmo Elementary School. Since he was a child, his parents ingrained education in him and his siblings as the “ticket to success.” He strives to pass this along to his students in hopes they will have bright and successful futures. Most of David’s students are bilingual, and although he is not fluent, David has managed to make a deep connection with each of them.

“We become, in a sense, another family to the children,” he said as he reflected on his experiences. David said he learns as much as the students each week and enjoys the stories and laughs they share. One of his proudest moments was when his most timid student volunteered first to read aloud to his classmates in English. “I love to see the smiles on the children; that really brings me back every year.”

APIE in the ClassroomAPIE in the Classroom
Thanks to each and every volunteer who helped make this school year GREAT! You make a difference in the life of a child, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Everyone needs someone who cares about them, someone to look up to, or someone to admire. You were that person for a student this year. We, and your students, thank you deeply.

“Many times at the beginning of 8th grade I said I hated math. I said that because I had zero confidence in myself. Now I’m great at math and have a lot of confidence… My confidence all began when APIE Coaches started coming… [they] boosted my confidence by making me feel wanted and making sure I knew the concept before moving on.”
–Iza, 2015 Math Classroom Coaching student

APIE After SchoolSalute - APIE After Class
We see the dedication of teachers and school staff members firsthand every day. This month we get to celebrate them. Join APIE and AISD to celebrate teachers in May at Salute: A Tribute to Excellence. We’ll be awarding Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, Librarian of the Year and more! We hope to see you Tuesday, May 19 at the new AISD Performing Arts Center. The reception begins at 5:00 p.m. followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. For more information, you can visit the Salute webpage.

APIE Donor Meterstackable books May

APIE donors give students an
educational boost! Please join
them to help us reach our
goal of $45,000 by May 31!


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