We are excited to announce our partnership with Austin ISD to implement a new volunteer management platform at austinisd.voly.org. Please note that the current APIE portal will no longer be accepting applications as of June 26.

Remembering Mr. Allison (part two)

Mr. Allison delivered me from the educational miscarriage of my 6th grade year. He knew I needed more challenge than this class was going to provide and found creative alternatives for keeping me engaged. For most of the year he sent me to be Miss Raab’s helper in the Special Ed class. At least weekly, I would go to the other end of the hall to read to her kids. Though the stories I read were well below my academic ability, the job was important. And I was the only student in the school entrusted with it.

Then, Mr. Allison did something that transformed our entire class. I think it started as a playground taunt: one of the smart kids called us dummies. A boy in our class struck back. “Oh yeah? I bet Pat could beat you in a smarts contest any day.”

Shortly after, Mr. Allison announced we’d have a spelling bee. Our class against the smart kids. He put us in training. We memorized word lists and did drills and practice bees. The playground at recess filled with boasting and jeers. By the day of the contest the rivalry was palpable.

With desks pushed aside, our two classes faced off. One by one we stepped forward to spell. About half on each side made it through the first round. We went again. And again. I was the last one standing for our class. I faced Leonard, the brainiac of Mr. Bell’s class. My stomach churned as I wiped sweaty palms on the side of my skirt. My entire class was cheering for me, depending on me to prove a point.

Sadly, I don’t remember how it ended. It doesn’t matter. For those few weeks, my classmates and I knew we were smart enough to go up against the smartest kids. We worked as a team towards a singular, academic goal. We proved we weren’t the dummies that everyone thought us to be.

Mr. Allison encouraged us to stretch ourselves. He showed us how to challenge stereotypes and overcome our own preconceived limitations. He believed in us, gave us confidence and instilled pride in our accomplishments. And after all these years, he is the only teacher whose impression I still carry with me.

Who were your great teachers? Tell us your story of teachers and mentors who had an impact, and changed your life.

Write to me at pabrams@austinpartners.org

Pat Abrams, Executive Director

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Austin Partners in Education will be closed beginning Friday, December 22 and ending Friday, January 5. We will return to normal business hours on Monday, January 8. All emails, phone calls, and volunteer background check applications will be completed upon our return. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Happy Holidays!

Austin Partners in Education cerrará comenzando el viernes 22 de diciembre y hasta el viernes 5 de enero. Volveremos al horario comercial normal el lunes 8 de enero. Todos los correos electrónicos, llamadas telefónicas y solicitudes de verificación de antecedentes de voluntarios se completarán a nuestro regreso. Gracias por su paciencia y comprensión. ¡Felices Fiestas!

Volunteer registration is closed for most AISD campuses until next school year. Registration will remain open for schools that are seeking volunteers for summer programming.

If you’d like to be notified when registration for APIE’s Mentoring and Math Classroom Coaching programs are open for 2024-2025, sign up to be on our early notification email list!