October Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

Quick Bites of APIE | Tips for Classroom Coaches
  • Take your time – Get to know your students and establish a good rapport on the first day of coaching, setting the tone for the rest of the school year.
  • Make eye contact – Give students your full attention by making eye contact as a sign of respect and appreciation.
  • Call students by name – You can remember students names by writing them down on the first day of class and repeating them frequently during the lesson.
  • Be prepared – Arrive early and allow plenty of time to locate your class; also keep an eye out for important emails from coordinators throughout the year.
  • Be a good role model – Implement your training and always strive to be a positive example for your students by being kind and patient.


APIE in the Classroom | Programs Launch

Our 8th Grade Math Classroom Coaching, Mentoring and College Readiness Programs are BACK in the schools for another year of knowledge-building and fun-filled learning. The students are looking forward to,”learning different ways to do math,” “fun activities” and “getting college ready.” math8-covington-classroom-view2-11-2012-copy

Classroom Coaching for 8th grade math is in full swing!  Many schools started with get-to-know you activities like “Would You Rather” or the “Spaghetti Tower Challenge.”  Building rapport with students and forming a relationship cannot be overstated.  Volunteers are encouraged to get to know their students and continue doing so throughout the year.  Teachers and students alike have been excited to see their APIE volunteers walk through the classroom doors.  This year, more than 300 volunteers will build relationships with and help students increase their confidence with math in 32 classrooms at 5 Austin ISD middle schools.

mentor-picAPIE’s Mentoring Program is off to a great start this year!  Over 700 volunteers have signed up to mentor in schools across the district many of them returning from past years of service.

When we ask our mentors, “Why do you want to be a mentor?” the most common response is ‘to make a difference in the life of a child’ or ‘because I had a mentor when I was younger and they helped me so much.’ However, our returning mentors will tell us how much the child has made a difference in their lives. Some may have discovered a new song to hum or a new game to play, but they have all discovered how much joy these young people have brought into their lives.

We appreciate all of the returning Classroom Coaches, Mentors and new faces who have said “Yes!” to volunteering with APIE this year. We encourage others to join our team.  All it takes is one adult to show support, encouragement, or compassion to affect a positive change in how a child views him or herself, school, and the world.  That adult could be you!


APIE’s College Readiness Program increases the number of Austin ISD students who graduate “college ready” according to Texas Success Initiative (TSI) standards, allowing them to avoid costly remedial courses in college. In an effort to increase students’ chances of obtaining a degree and launching a successful career, APIE’s College Readiness Advocates lead small classes of 7 to 10 students, offering personalized support in reading, writing, and math. The College Readiness Advocates act in an advisory role, guiding students through college, scholarship, and financial aid applications. With the Advocates’ encouragement and support, students graduate high school feeling more confident and well-prepared for college and beyond.

Volunteer Spotlight | Joan Quenan
jone2Joan Quenan has been volunteering at Webb Middle School for a little over two years. As a Math Classroom Coach she dedicates her time to tutoring a group of 2-3 eighth graders in pre-algebra. She also mentors and tutors high school students whenever there is an opportunity.

Joan is a retired math and computer science teacher. She mostly taught high school students, but also ventured into computer science at a middle school level. Joan has always enjoyed being with kids and now that she’s retired, she really wants to continue working with them. With her extra time, she wants to use her knowledge as a former math teacher to give back to the community. Plus, it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of her week!

How did you find out about APIE?

You know, I can’t remember exactly. I think I was just asking about volunteering opportunities in schools. I believe I went to a school and they gave me the APIE website, so I looked online and found the application and got involved that way. Everything is online and I could see all the different opportunities for me to get involved and here I am. I’ve been at Webb Middle School the whole time.  I really love coming here each week. It’s a great school. 

What’s the reason you continue to volunteer with APIE year after year?

I really love the kids. They are just always enthusiastic and find a way to lift my spirits. They are a pleasure to be with. 

As a volunteer and mentor what impact do you hope to have on your students?

I want them to enjoy math because I do, and I know they can too. Often students shy away from math, but playing math related games is a way to show them math can be fun. There are puzzles, slope battleship; and with the small groups, it’s a great way to really get to know your students.

As a mentor, can you tell us a little bit about your experience?

My student is a junior and she is interested in going to college. Her family has not been to college before so it will be more of a matter of helping her with upcoming applications. Right now it’s more of listening to her frustrations and supporting her through day to day things. She works hard and is very dedicated to coming to school and she is thinking about what she wants to do in life.

Donor Spotlight | 3Mgives

As a longtime supporter for over 10 years, 3Mgives has improved lives and built sustainable communities by donating time and energy to APIE’s educational programs. 3Mgives has generously supported APIE’s Math Classroom Coaching program at Burnet Middle School providing 8 classes for 146 students – a total of 176 hours of math instruction!

Over the years, 3Mgives works relentlessly to promote stronger and more sustainable communities through financial investments, product donations and contributing their most valuable resource – their volunteers- to the community. Their impact on communities reaches internationally, empowering youths from a spectrum of backgrounds. APIE is happy to have 3Mgives volunteers working alongside us in our Austin classrooms! Like APIE, 3Mgives seeks to empower a new generation of leaders, thinkers, and creators regardless of student backgrounds, gender, or race. Their commitment to promoting equity by driving access to quality education for all communities is why APIE is so happy to be supported by a wonderfully philanthropic team! With 3Mgives’ support, APIE will continue to work tenaciously to train and deploy hundreds of community volunteers into the classrooms to motivate and aid students in their paths to success.

Happy Hour Recap

APIE volunteers, donors and staff had a great time mingling and sharing their exciting APIE experiences at Contigo!  We hope to see YOU at our next get together.


APIE after School

Entering its fifth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Last year over 300,000 donors participated! Join the movement and give the gift of education on November 29th.  Please donate HERE to support APIE this Giving Tuesday.


APIE is excited to be a charity team of the Austin Marathon and Austin GivesMiles. We hope you’ll run (or jog, or walk) for APIE or donate to someone who’s running for us. Help us reach our goal of $5,000 to provide academic support to Austin ISD students in need. Join our team or support our runners by clicking below!



January Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

Quick Bites of APIE: Benefits of Being a Volunteer
  • Increases self-confidence– volunteering can create a significant boost to your self-esteem and overall life satisfaction
  • Brings fulfillment– volunteer work can be energizing, inspiring, and give you an escape from the everyday work flow
  • Helps develop new skills– it’s an opportunity to enhance your current skill set and carry those skills to advance your career
  • A healthier body– research shows those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression compared to those who do not volunteer
  • Increases happiness– researchers studied the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness and found the more you volunteer the happier you are

Donor Spotlight: You!Donor Spotlight You

As we begin a new year, APIE wants to spotlight YOU! With help from donors just like you, we were able to connect over 1,500 volunteers to 2,680 students across 129 AISD campuses this past year. As we look toward 2016, we have exciting things planned for donors who make our work possible.

With help from generous donors like you, APIE’s programs and volunteers provide real change in students’ lives. Our 8th Grade Math Classroom Coaching significantly increased in girls’ academic self-confidence in 2014-15, and 200 high school students are college ready thanks to our College Advocates. In 2016 APIE will launch Career Conversations, an exciting new program focused on STEM career exploration for middle school students. APIE is here to support students through all stages of their academic and career goals, but we couldn’t do it without you.

With program and volunteer on-boarding costs continuing to increase, our donors are more important than ever in keeping APIE’s programs alive. While the majority of our income comes from grants and our founding partners, AISD and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, we still rely entirely on the generosity of others to make up the rest of our budget. Become an APIE Donor and enjoy perks, including exclusive invites to our upcoming events and a chance to have lunch with our Executive Director.


Volunteer Spotlight: David Juarez

David Juarez

David Juarez is a retired City of Austin employee who spends his free time volunteering with APIE. While most Coaches tutor in one or two classes, David tutors in 8 at Covington, Martin, and Mendez. As the first person in his family to attend college, David aimed high and received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and had a successful 30 year career.

He says, “I have always tried to be a role model especially to those who are economically disadvantaged students. Having a similar childhood provides me a good understanding of the challenges they face.” He wants his students to know, “that education provides economic and personal empowerment that allows them to make a better life for themselves and family.”

David’s APIE Coordinators say he always has a warm smile on his face, a pleasant attitude, and goes above and beyond to volunteer in classes where he is most needed. He is very reliable and supports other volunteers, even agreeing to mentor those who have asked for extra support.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

I enjoy helping others and giving back to the community.

What are your goals this year as a Classroom Coach?

I want to be able to help students strive to achieve success.

How do you hope to reach those goals?

Each student is unique, so I try to find a way to connect and encourage each of them to try to do their best.

What advice can you give to new Coaches?

Be patient with your students. Some may not open up and appear to be interested in getting coached, but teachers have told me that those are the students who look forward to having you come back each week. Things to remember include being supportive, a good listener, sincere, and always try to encourage the students to do better.

Explain your passion for volunteerism.

I believe that any time I can spend helping someone can make a difference. It fulfills me as a person of value and compassion.

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

I was the first in my family to attend college. I received a BS in Civil Engineering and was able to have a very successful 30 year career. Education has always been a priority in raising my own kids. They understand that education has allowed me to provide them with more opportunities that lead to greater success and happiness in life.

What has been your proudest moment as an APIE volunteer?

Every year is filled with special moments, but I think the year I had several students get interested in engineering was the best. They told me they would have never thought about engineering if it wasn’t for me being there for them.

What have you learned from your experience as an APIE Coach?

I have a much greater appreciation for the teachers and volunteers. I think their presence sends a positive message to the students that the community does care.

Has volunteering with APIE affected your personal and career goals?

I have always tried to be a role model especially to those who are disadvantaged students. Having a similar childhood provides me a good understanding of the challenges they face. I want the students to know that education provides economic and personal empowerment that allows them to make a better life for themselves and family.

Volunteering with APIE made me realize that I could do more to make a difference in the lives of students. Since retiring as a civil engineer I have been working to become a middle school math teacher and look forward to having APIE Coaches in my classroom!

APIE in the Classroom: National Mentoring MonthDerrick Townsend 3

Every mentoring relationship is unique—each a connection filled with shared stories, laughter, concerns, and dreams.  In their second year of their mentor and mentee relationship, Derrick Townsend and his mentee, Julian, are building a strong personal bond.

Derrick has been mentoring since 1988, beginning with high school students and he is now mentoring Julian, a seventh grader.   Derrick describes Julian as an outstanding young man, “We hit it off from day one. He is smart and he’s trying to do all the right things in school.” Julian, whose favorite subjects in school are math and science describes the relationship as, “It’s like having an older brother or a second dad.”

Because Julian loves sports, they often spend their weekly meetings tossing a football back and forth. Derrick uses this time to talk to Julian about his goals for the week and about his accomplishments. Julian’s favorite moment of the mentoring relationship was when Derrick was able to surprise him with cupcakes for his birthday.

Derrick attributes his desire to mentor to the fact that he never had a male role model during his adolescence, and he told himself when he was growing up that, “When I have a family, I’ll be that father I didn’t have, and then I want to mentor other children as well.” Julian is glad he made that decision—getting together with Derrick is the highlight of his week.

APIE after School

Cathy Jones


February’s Lunch and Learn features APIE’s Executive Director Cathy Jones and Programs Director Veronica Cavazos presenting on the organization’s future plans and program evaluations and impact. Come learn more about our organization, meet our Executive Director, and enjoy lunch on us. To attend this event, please email development@austinpartners.org to reserve your spot today.

Feb. 8 – Lunch & Learn Speaker Series with Executive Director Cathy Jones and Programs Director Veronica Cavazos RSVP

APIE Donor Meterunnamed

You can help students and mentors start 2016 strong! Would you give $16 to APIE today? That’s just $1 for each weekly mentoring session they will have together this semester.

December Newsletter: A Slice of APIE

Quick Bites of APIE: Accomplishments in 2015
  • College Readiness Program nationally recognized by President Obama as a Commitment to Action
  • Recognized as a Bright Spot in Hispanic education by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
  • Launched new online training program for volunteers
  • 5 new AmeriCorps VISTAs added to our team to help build capacity

Donor Spotlight: Jim WhittenJim Whitten Roof Consultants

As we look back on the past year, we want to recognize a donor who helped make 2015 a great one for APIE. Jim Whitten Roof Consultants is a longtime supporter of AISD and graciously sponsored APIE’s first annual Donor Appreciation and Silent Auction event this October. We spoke with the company’s Vice President Robert Hernandez about their company’s culture of giving and the importance of supporting education in our community.

With AISD as one of Jim Whitten Roof Consultant’s largest clients, Hernandez believes it is “natural to support the school district and APIE.” The company also strongly believes in the power of education to change lives. Hernandez sought his own education to set an example for younger members of his family, and also encourages continuing education with coworkers to stay ahead of developments in the construction field. Hernandez has seen firsthand the need for local businesses to step up and support education in Austin. “Businesses in Austin say there’s not enough qualified employees coming up, but [they] need to be strong partners giving back the tools and resources necessary to educate solid workers.”

Jim Whitten Roof Consultants work to give students a comfortable learning environment so students can focus on their studies rather than leaky roofs or windows. Hernandez tells kids, “Study hard and don’t give up. There’s a bright future out there with opportunity if you’re willing to work for it.” The company wishes everyone Happy Holidays spent with families and friends. To join Jim Whitten Roof Consultants in celebrating APIE students this holiday season, please visit our donate page and help us reach our goal of $16,000 by 2016.

College Readiness Advocate of the Year: Yesenia YanezYesenia Yanez

Congratulations to Yesenia Yanez for being recognized as Advocate of the Year at the 2015 Texas State of Education ceremony. Yesenia has been a College Readiness Advocate at APIE since 2014 and tutored over 30 students at McCallum, Anderson, and LBJ in reading, writing, and math to help them become “college ready.” Over 50% of Yesenia’s students have met “college ready” standards by graduation, closing the educational gap for high-needs students. Her job allows her to fulfill her passion for helping others, and as a first generation college graduate, she has a direct impact in supporting students in achieving their college dreams.

“The most rewarding thing is getting to see the development of a senior throughout the year.” –Yesenia Yanez, APIE College Readiness Advocate

APIE in the ClassroomOdom Volunteers

APIE has completed another great semester in the classroom. Thank you to all of our volunteers who have helped make an impact in AISD students’ lives and for their dedication to education. We wish you all happy holidays and look forward to seeing you back in the schools on Tuesday, January 19.

Know someone who would make a great Classroom Coach? We need Spanish-speaking volunteers. Please email our 2nd Grade Program Coordinators for more information.

APIE after School

Stella & Dot Holiday Mingle & JingleThank you to everyone who joined us at our Holiday Mingle & Jingle at Uncle Billy’s on Thursday, December 10. We reached $500 in jewelry sales purchased from our Stella & Dot representative Whitney Fields. Whitney has generously offered to donate a portion of the sales to support APIE’s programs. Thank you, Whitney. If you were unable to attend the event, there is still time to purchase jewelry online. Order before December 21 to receive your items in time for Christmas Day.

APIE Donor Meterstackable books December

During this time of giving, we would like to give thanks to all who have supported APIE in 2015. Your time and donations have made this year one of our most successful. Help us have another great semester as we kick-off the new year!

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 rhoffman@austinpartners.org 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 vcarpio@austinpartners.org. 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 smile.amazon.com. Email development@austinpartners.org 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 rhoffman@austinpartners.org 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 rhoffman@austinpartners.org 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 smile.amazon.com 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.

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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 development@austinpartners.org 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 development@austinpartners.org 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 dehonea@microsoft.com.
  • 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!