Archive | July 2013

A Growing Demand for APIE

Austin Partners in EducationAPIE offers innovative volunteer-driven programs in reading and math with a focus on economically disadvantaged students at AISD’s Title I schools.

We strive to provide every student with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and tenacity to graduate from high school and succeed in college and career. So much of what our programs accomplish is due to our partners and to our volunteers. In 2012-13, more than 1,800 wonderful and dedicated volunteers forged relationships with 3,300 students, helping each one grow both academically and personally.

Why we need you. And you. And maybe a few of your friends.

Since 2004, our organization and programs have grown steadily and are reaching capacity based on current resources. Historically, we have worked with AISD to select schools and classrooms that would benefit from our programs. But beginning this year, we invited schools to apply for our services.

As a result of this process, APIE received applications from all currently participating schools as well as 10 new elementary schools, 4 new middle schools, and 3 new high schools. If we are able to serve all of these applicants, APIE volunteers would support nearly 5,000 students at 43 schools.

In the words of our executive director, Cathy Jones, we are honored by the extent to which our programs have been embraced. But as pleased as we are to have such demand, we are still working to secure the financial means through grants and individual contributions to meet it.

Given the unprecedented increase in demand, we find ourselves in need of a little help from our friends, our volunteers.

Won’t you help us spread the word? Share your APIE stories about the kids we’re empowering to succeed.

Volunteer this fall; donate today. Help us help as many students as we can.  

July All-Volunteer Coffee

APIE All-Volunteer CoffeeWe’re getting ready for our next all-volunteer coffee!

Last month, three APIE employees met with several of our dedicated volunteers on Central Market North’s patio. One volunteer who joined us has been with us since our programs started! We thought that was pretty awesome. We also enjoyed the company of other returning volunteers, including one who brought along her husband and adorable daughter.

At these events, we spend time getting to know everyone a bit better. Friends and family are welcome. We also would like to answer any questions you have about our programs or how we operate. Hearing concerns helps us better support our volunteers.

Feel free to join us even if you aren’t a current volunteer. If you volunteered in the past, come catch up with us. If you’re interested in volunteering in the future, get to know us. We’ll answer questions, address concerns, and of course enjoy some quality coffee.

This month, we will meet July 20 at 9 a.m. at Central Market North. If it’s hot out, look for us inside rather than on the patio.

Let us know you’re coming! Use hashtag #VolunteerAPIE on either Facebook or Twitter. If you can’t make it but have questions, leave a comment here or use the hashtag. We’ll be sure to answer!


by Kelsi Urrutia, College Readiness AdvocateCollege Readiness

Walking into Akins High School at the beginning of September, I was almost overwhelmed with anxiety and excitement. As part of a team of APIE College Readiness Advocates, our goal was to end the year with every student meeting the Texas Success Initiative College Readiness Standards, meaning that they would qualify to enroll in college-level classes after high school. Even with nearly a month of training, facing the list of over 100 seniors needing intervention was still intimidating. The objective that first week: recruit students for the program. Although challenged by everything from learning the layout of the school to finding the best procedure for bringing a student into a one-on-one meeting, I left the first week feeling assured. It seemed that most of the entering seniors were committed to becoming college ready.

The first few weeks of actual tutoring played out differently, however. I was concerned by how much some of the students struggled to read a short passage or do a basic pre-algebra problem. While some of this was due to learning loss over the summer, it was also clear that these students faced academic gaps in their learning. One student in particular really stood out to me. Helen was highly engaged and motivated to become college ready but also struggled with math, unable to add or multiply without a calculator. Still, she stayed positive and focused on our goal. I was concerned about getting Helen college ready but determined not to let her down. We’d been warned many times during training that this job would be challenging, and I now realized how true this was.

By February, there had been many ups and downs. Elective teachers were becoming increasingly impatient with having students pulled for tutoring, while severe senioritis was kicking in. A round of college readiness testing for Akins APIE students was administered. Though many of my students had already succeeded or were well on their way to becoming college ready, some, including Helen, seemed further behind than they should have been, in spite of almost six months of tutoring. Still, other non-APIE students were asking to join the College Readiness program; I realized we were making a real impact on our students.

The next few months before the final COMPASS test was administered felt like a balancing act of trying to meet with each remaining student for as long as possible while minimizing class absence. I expected the spring semester to be the toughest part of the year, yet it was during this time that the most challenging students started making real progress. The material suddenly started to click and my students were beginning to truly value the tutoring they were receiving. Helen increased her commitment and was working on math three times more often than initially agreed upon. The things she struggled with at the beginning of the year were no longer an issue for her. By the time the final COMPASS test day came, Helen had gone from being the math student for whom I was the most concerned to the one who achieved the most success.

Despite the challenges faced throughout the year, what I found most difficult was the realization that I will not continue working with these students as they begin college. It is comforting and rewarding to have witnessed the progress made by each student and to end the year knowing that all of the students will begin college better equipped with the skills that they need to succeed.

** This essay was published in APIE’s summer 2013 newsletter. Click here to subscribe to future newsletters.

We are hiring College Readiness Advocates for the 2013-14 school year. Visit out employment page for details!

Preguntas más Frecuentes

¿Cuándo se fundó APIE?

APIE se creó en 1983 como un proyecto conjunto entre el Distrito Escolar de Austin y la Cámara de Comercio de Austin. En junio de 2004, se convirtió en una organización sin ánimo de lucro 501(c)(3).

¿Cuál es la misión de APIE?

APIE crea y promueve la cooperación entre la comunidad y las escuelas, para dar a todos los estudiantes del distrito escolar una preparación para la universidad, y para sus futuras carreras. 

¿Cómo cumple APIE su misión?

Ofrecemos diferentes programas que apoyan a los estudiantes de AISD para que tengan éxito:

Nuestro modelo insignia, llamado Classroom Coaching, nos ha valido  el Reconocimiento a las Mejores Prácticas por la Cámara de Comercio de los Estados Unidos, y ha sido puesto como ejemplo del Mejor Uso de los Recursos Comunitarios por el Departamento de Educación de los Estados Unidos.

¿Quién se puede apuntar para ser voluntarios?

Entre nuestros voluntarios hay amas de casa, estudiantes universitarios, trabajadores de tiempo completo y de medio tiempo, trabajadores autónomos, jubilados y mucho más. Nuestros voluntarios son un grupo muy diverso de personas,  y son todos increíbles.

¿Cómo hago para registrarme como voluntario?

¡A través de nuestra página web! Visite nuestra página para voluntarios y allí podrá ver las oportunidades disponibles.

¿Cuánto tiempo tienen que dar los voluntarios?

Los voluntarios se reúnen con los estudiantes una vez por semana durante 45 minutos, a lo largo del curso escolar.

¿Dónde y cuándo tienen lugar los entrenamientos?

Los entrenamientos se hacen al principio del curso escolar. ¡Contáctenos en el mes de agosto!

¿APIE está en todas las escuelas?

Ofrecemos nuestros programas en 26 escuelas del Distrito Escolar de Austin. Esperamos que en el futuro, cuando contemos con más fondos y más voluntarios, podamos ofrecer nuestros programas a más escuelas.

¿Están contratando personal?

Visite nuestra página web para ver las ofertas actuales.

¿Ofrecen prácticas laborales y programas de empleo para estudiantes?

¡Por supuesto! Puede ver las oportunidades aquí.

¿Tienen programas de verano?

No, nuestros programas sólo se ofrecen durante el curso escolar.

¿De qué otra manera puedo ayudar que no sea siendo voluntario?

Ofrecemos prácticas laborales así como programas de empleo para estudiantes, pero también nos puede ayudar de muchas maneras. En caso de que le interese,  podría Adoptar-una-Escuela.

¿Tiene alguna pregunta? ¡Déjenos su mensaje!