June 2018 Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

May Newsletter

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School may be out for the summer, but APIE is still in session! Read below to join our Summer Wait List, see what our volunteers and sponsors have helped us achieve this year, and learn more about one of APIE’s newest developments: GEAR UP!

Summer Wait List | Sign Up Now!

Thanks for a great year, volunteers! We are so thankful for your dedication to Austin ISD students and Austin Partners. Already miss being in the classrooms? Click here to join our Summer Wait List!

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Paint with APIE | June 29, 2018

Paint DayLooking for volunteer opportunities during the summer? Join APIE on Friday, June 29, as we repaint our classrooms-turned-office-space!

Please email apanter@austinpartners.org to officially RSVP. Click here to share the event with friends!


Salute | A Tribute to Excellence 

The annual Salute Awards were a success! Austin ISD partnered with APIE to  recognize outstanding staff members and community volunteers for their continued dedication to student excellence and achievement in our schools.


The ceremony named the Teachers of the Year, Classified Staff of the Year, PTA of the year, Principal of the Year, Librarian of the Year, Counselor of the Year, and Assistant Principal of the Year. In addition, our very own founding APIE board member, Dr. K.C. Cerny, was inducted into the APIE Hall of Fame! Thank you for 16 years of dedication, K.C.!

Click here to view the full list of honorees.

Donor Spotlight | Our Salutatorian Sponsors

With Salute 2018 in the books, we’d like to shine our Donor Spotlight on our Salutatorian Sponsors! Read below to see how the philanthropic efforts of these organizations have impacted the Austin community.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo

Through a combination of strategic relationships with local and national nonprofits, grants, volunteer activities, and other community investments, Wells Fargo is creating solutions that help strengthen the communities in which they operate and grow local economies around the world. Wells Fargo’s contributions have helped us honor the people who have been instrumental in the education of Austin ISD students. Thank you, Wells Fargo!

City of Austin

City of Austin_1439602736116_106934_ver1.0_640_360

In addition to supporting Salute 2018, The City of Austin runs a Mentor and Tutor Program to  improve the quality of life for Austin’s students while offering employees an opportunity to give back to the local community. The City provides its employees up to two hours of administrative leave during the week to encourage participation. Thank you for your dedication to Austin ISD students and to APIE, City of Austin!

H-E-B Tournament of Champions


This annual golf tournament sponsored by H-E-B’s vendor community provides funds for charitable projects and programs that have a positive impact on our communities. Thank you, H-E-B Tournament of Champions for your contribution to Salute: A Tribute to Excellence!

Excellence in Advocacy | Latino Academic Achievement Awards

Latino Excellence Awards 1

On May 12, 2018, Austin Partners In Education was honored to accept the Latino Excellence in Advocacy Award presented by Austin ISD. The award is defined as: an organization which has provided outstanding support in advancing Latino academic achievement and promoting educational outcomes in AISD. In our 14 years, we have been proud to support over 32,000 students and to engage over 14,500 community members as volunteers. Thank you for this great honor!

2019 Austin Marathon | Join Our Team!
2019 Marathon Graphic 2

APIE is excited to partner with the Austin Marathon again to support Austin ISD students.  The 2019 Austin Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K will take place on Sunday, February 17th, 2019.  Registration is now open, and we hope you will join our team! Please register early for the best rates.

Getting to Know GEAR UP | An Interview with Zachary Korth and Elizabeth Severance

APIE is excited to be one of several partners in AISD’s recently awarded federal GEAR UP grant! GEAR UP provides comprehensive services to students to prepare for postsecondary education. APIE will be providing the support of Mentor Tutors who are passionate about working with middle school students to achieve overall academic success.

In celebration of our partnership, APIE sat down with GEAR UP Facilitator Zachary Korth and Coordinator Elizabeth Severance to discuss education, their roles, and the future of the program. Read below to meet the faces of GEAR UP!


GEAR UP Coordinator Elizabeth Severance with daughter, Joy, and Facilitator Zachary Korth

What is your educational background?

Z.K.: I studied Elementary Education at Layola and Educational Leadership at Concordia. I was voted “most likely to become a teacher” in high school.

E.S.: I completed my bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Macalester College and my master’s in Public Administration from UTSA. I’m currently  finishing my doctorate in Educational Leadership.

 How did you decide to become an educator?

Z.K.: Growing up, teachers were like parents to me: they gave students lunch money, rides, whatever they needed. I actually failed geometry one year, and my teachers were very supportive. They saw through the bureaucracy. School became home.

How would you describe GEAR UP?

E.S.: GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness And Readiness For Undergraduate Programs. It’s a seven-year cohort-based grant to help low income students to prepare and succeed in college. Every sixth grade student at the 11 designated middle schools is in the cohort, and the program continues throughout high school. Students build a relationship with their campus facilitator as they continue their education, while coordinator supports facilitating staff.

What are you most excited about GEAR UP?


GEAR UP Facilitator Zachary Korth in his office at Covington Middle School

E.S.: What I’m most excited about with GEAR UP is the potential to impact students across Austin ISD in general. Our project objectives include equity and outcomes, working to address the gap of opportunities between low versus high income households.

Z.K.: GEAR UP takes a different approach than a traditional teacher-student relationship. We work with both students and teachers, creating relationships to provide the same opportunities and possibilities to each student, despite socioeconomic status.

E.S.: This includes prescribed things such as counseling, mentoring, and tutoring, but we also have flexibility with how we meet these goals within each campus, for each student. For example, we help kids build resumes so they’re more competitive to receive scholarships. This means steering students to become more community service and leadership skills focused.

Any words of wisdom for middle schoolers as they think about college?

Z.K.: It gets better! There are good and bad days, we all went through it. The relationships you create through mentoring are really important and will guide you!

E.S.: Have more self confidence. You don’t have to value the same things as everyone else, you will find your community. And, apply for more scholarships!

STEM Discoveries | Mini Science Olympiads

STEM Discoveries celebrated another successful year! Middle school students competed in the Mini Science Olympiads with the support of APIE volunteers and AmeriCorps Stem Coordinator VISTA, Faith Smith. We had two teams come away as winners – Gus Garcia YMLA received the Spirit Award,​ for being the most enthusiastic and in actively participating throughout the day, while Small Middle School took second place in the sixth grade category overall. Several individual students won various awards across the district. Students are eagerly waiting for the clubs to begin again in the fall. Great job on the hard work students, volunteers, and Faith!

Hungry for more APIE? Follow us!

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About Austin Partners In Education

Austin Partners In Education is a nonprofit organization that provides innovative programs to improve student academic performance.

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