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A Slice of APIE: November 2019 Newsletter

The weather is getting cooler and soon we’ll be kicking off the holiday season. We invite you to take a moment for a quick slice of APIE before you fill up on holiday treats next week! We are thankful for the continued support from our volunteers, donors, and friends. Keep reading for APIE updates, including the latest statistics from our annual program evaluation and how you can use your Target shopping to support Austin ISD students!


Program Updates 

Math Classroom Coaching (MCC)

For the 2019-20 school year, the MCC program is working with 6th and 7th graders at six middle schools, including Burnet, Covington, Dobie, Martin, Sadler Means YWLA, and Webb. We currently have almost 200 volunteers serving 669 Austin ISD students! We’re always looking for more volunteers, especially at the start of the new semester in January. To register to be a Math Classroom Coach, visit our website. For more information, email Ashley Yeaman at ayeaman@austinpartners.org.

College Readiness

This year, APIE’s College Readiness program added Burnet Middle School to our roster, and we’re now serving students at 11 middle and high schools across the district. We have already worked with nearly 200 8th, 9th, and 10th graders, and we’re excited to support more students looking to participate in Early College High School and Career Launch/P-TECH programs. By participating in these programs, our students will have the opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree and industry certifications by the time they graduate high school!

Mentoring

We currently have more than 300 mentors serving students across Austin ISD, and we’re always working to increase that number—especially at the middle and high school levels. We have a high need for mentors at the following schools: Navarro and Northeast Early College high schools; Burnet, Mendez, and Lively middle schools; and Cowan, Pease, Metz, Sims, Norman, and Mills elementary schools. To register to be a mentor, visit our website. For more information, email Ashley Yeaman at ayeaman@austinpartners.org.

GEAR UP

The GEAR UP Program is in its third year, and our students are now 8th graders! We are serving the class of 2024 at 11 middle schools, including Bedichek, Burnet, Covington, Dobie, Lively, Gus Garcia YMLA, Martin, Mendez, Paredes, Sadler Means YWLA, and Webb. This year we have 21 tutors working across the GEAR UP campuses. There are more than 130 unique classes with a GEAR UP tutor. We look forward to increasing the support both teachers and students are receiving in class and small group settings, along with providing additional support at lunch and after school.


Back-To-School Happy Hour

Despite the dreary weather, we had a great turnout at our Back-To-School Happy Hour at Contigo on October 29, which was sponsored by Bumble Bizz! We hold appreciation events like these to recognize all of our incredible volunteers. Our work wouldn’t be possible without you! If you missed this event, stay tuned to your email and our social media accounts for updates on the next one.


Volunteer Spotlight | Drew Dubcak

Photo courtesy of Drew Dubcak. Used with permission from Tabitha’s family.

Drew began working with her mentee, Tabitha, six years ago as a 6th grader. This year, Tabitha is a junior, beginning to plan for what comes next after graduation. In this Q&A, Drew shares more about her mentoring experience and why people shouldn’t be hesitant to get involved.

 

Q: Who or what inspired you to start mentoring?

A: My dad has mentored for ten years and still mentors now. I thought that it would be really awesome to do that myself. Since I had time in college, I signed up and got partnered with Tabitha. I met her when she was 12, and she turns 18 in December.

Q: How has your experience mentoring been generally? How has it changed over the years?

A: It’s been a wonderful experience. Working with Tabitha has shown me that you don’t have to put in hours upon hours to see a great change. When I first met her, she didn’t really trust me. But since I’ve been around for so long, when I show up I get this big hug. It’s been great to see her grow up. The funny thing is that Tabitha did not want to grow up. So it’s been awesome to kind of work with her and be with her along the way. She was not happy to go to middle school, and then later she didn’t want to go to high school. I feel like being there to support her was a really good experience overall.

Q: What do you think are some of the benefits of working with the same mentee on a more long-term basis?

A: I think with mentoring, consistency is key. You have to be someone who sticks around and stays. I feel that the benefit of that is that you’re seeing the works of your labor materialize.

Q: Over the years working with Tabitha, are there any stories that stand out to you?

A: Well, I know the family and I know her mom now. It’s a trusting relationship. And so last year I took her and her sister to the Trail of Lights. They’ve lived in the Austin area their entire lives, but I got to go with them to do that for their first time. It was just the most exciting thing seeing them. They were 16 and 17 years old, and they were jumping around like kids seeing all these lights. It was beautiful.

Q: Does Tabitha have an idea of what she might like to do after she graduates high school?

A: We’re in the workings right now. We’re working on getting her volunteer experience and getting her ready to go to college. She loves history and astronomy, so if Tabitha had it her way, she would be a history and astronomy professor at a college somewhere.

Q: Why should someone volunteer to mentor?

A: It’s a blessing to get outside of yourself. I mean, it doesn’t take a lot of time to go and do this. I think a lot of people get stuck in the me, me, me. Being able to work with Tabithayes, I’ve helped her, but I’ve also helped myself because she’s taught me a multitude of life lessons, including don’t take things so seriously. She often asks me “Why are you on your phone al the time?” That’s my favorite question from her. “Why does it matter?” She’ll tell it like it is. You learn a lot from your mentee, and it’s more of a privilege to be in their lives than it is for you to be in theirs.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who was hesitant to mentor?

A: I think there might be hesitations around not knowing how to handle harder conversations, but there’s a lot of support with APIE. If I had needed it, I could have reached out. I got emails about trainings. I could reach out to Dawn [Lewis, APIE’s school connections manager] if I needed help. And support staff is key. There’s a lot of support, so you’re never alone. And if you don’t fit with a child, there is probably another child that you could work with as well.

Q: What lasting impact do you hope to have on Tabitha?

A: I hope that she grows up to be that strong, independent lady that I know she is on the inside. I want her to know that she can do whatever she wants on her own. We’ve been kind of instilling that she can do things on her own. She can be that awesome history and astronomer professor that she wants to be and go to college. She can travel on her own. She can do things on her own. She doesn’t have to have someone behind her. She doesn’t have to be scared. Hopefully she’ll grow up to be an independent lady that goes for what she wants.


Support APIE’s Marathon Team

APIE is one of very few nonprofits chosen as an official charity of the Austin Marathon and last year we raised over $30,000! Our 2020 goal of $30,000 can provide tutoring for 60 math students, mentoring for 120 students, or college readiness support for 30 students. This campaign is APIE’s major annual fundraiser and you can help by:

  1. Running: If you’re a runner and running the Austin Marathon, ½ Marathon, or 5K, please consider leveraging your athleticism and fundraise for APIE in support of your run! Visit our GoFundMe page here and click on “Run for Charity.”
  2. Joining Our Team: Not a runner? No problem! You can still join the team to fundraise and share APIE’s story with friends and family (there will be prizes involved!). We challenge you to post or send out just one email and see the generosity of your network. Visit our GoFundMe page here and click on “Run for Charity.” (This will make you a part of our team and able to fundraise, but you don’t have to run in the marathon.)
  3. Donating: If neither of the above options work for you, you can donate in honor of the students you show up for each week. You understand that APIE’s programs change lives, that APIE is a nonprofit, and that we can’t do this without community support. Visit our GoFundMe page here and click on “Support a Charity,” then select “Austin Partners in Education.”

If you have any questions, please email Rachel Thomson at rthomson@austinpartners.org.


Your Target shopping can help support APIE

We are honored and excited to announce that we have been chosen to participate in a special charitable giving campaign, sponsored and funded by Target. And you have the chance to help direct a portion of Target’s donation to us! A vote is earned each time you shop at Target, online and in store. Now through January 5, vote for us through the Target Circle program to help determine how Target’s donation will be divvied up. Click here to learn more about Target Circle.


Annual Evaluation Report, 2018-2019

We’re proud to share some of the findings from our Annual Evaluation Report! Last year, our Math Classroom Coaching program worked with middle school students. The 582 8th graders that participated in the program had significantly higher academic outcomes than a matched comparison group. In 2019, 79% of APIE 8th grade math students met the STAAR passing standard, compared with 61 % of the comparison group.

APIE’s College Readiness program supported 583 students in 8th through 12th grades. The 254 seniors who participated in the program performed better on the state’s college readiness assessment, the Texas Success Initiative Assessment, compared to a matched comparison group and district seniors. Fifty percent of APIE participants met college readiness criteria on both subjects on the assessment, followed by 21% of the matched comparison group.

The full report and executive summary are available on the APIE website, under the “Results” tab.


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