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  Catalyst for College
November 2010


We were so happy to welcome so many and share ALearn's progress at our inaugural College Catalyst Breakfast on October 27! It was a wonderful gathering of over 180 friends and supporters of ALearn who joined in celebration of the success of our programs and students. Many of our long-time supporters were  also able to join us to rejoice in our students' success.

We were happy to see many new faces that morning, and it is exciting to see how the ALearn community continues to grow! Participants were greeted by our great students from ALearn's Summer Bridge programs (from Los Altos High, Mountain View High and Overfelt High) to the beautiful venue at Sharon Heights Country Club in Menlo Park.

Thanks to everyone who came to share our breakfast.  Special thanks go to our Board Chair, Diane Frankle of DLA Piper, and to our Event Committee, led by Chief Organizer, June LaBarre, as well as Mary Tate, Emily Wu, Julie Cates, Katherine Hamby and Carlos Jimenez. What an awesome team!

Warmest Regards,
Kathryn S. Hanson
CEO & Founder
Education and Business - breakfast

Marc Liebman (Superintendent for the Berryessa Union School District), Kathryn Hanson, Marlene McDaniels, Francisco Jimenez (Author, Professor and Director of the Ethnic Studies Program at Santa Clara University and ALearn Board Member), Julie Cates (ALearn Board Member), John Huber (Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo Bank and ALearn Board Member)

Math Acceleration Program (MAP) Update

Mountain View's KMVT station created a video on this summer's MAP program. The Catalyst to College video incorporates the stories of students, parents, teachers and college interns as they narrate how the program helps kids become better at math and also inspires them to go to college. To watch the video, head to:

AVID Bridge Update

ALearn's Summer Bridge Strand at Overfelt High School was a huge success this year, growing from 30 students in the math strand to 120 students. Joe Albers, Summer School Director, presented the following impressive results from this year's program at the College Catalyst Breakfast:

 -70% Algebra I pass rate for Summer Bridge freshmen compared with 46% for freshmen in the same Algebra course over the full year 2009-10. As a result of the summer program, 49 additional students started freshman year in Geometry rather than Algebra.

-94% of students who took the Summer Bridge geometry class passed the course, and hence 42 freshmen started in Algebra II in 2010 compared with 6 freshmen in 2009.


-ALearn Summer Bridge students averaged 2.97 GPA compared with 2.3 GPA average for non-Summer Bridge students. 


-The whole Freshman Class at Overfelt had a significant shift in GPA as a result of the summer program: Freshman students with high GPAs (3.0 or above) increased from 24% last year to 40% this year.


-Unsuccessful freshmen (with a GPA below 2.0) were reduced from 45% last year to 30% this year.

According to Vito Chiala, these results demonstrate that the Summer Bridge program was instrumental in shifting the academic culture and performance of freshmen students at Overfelt High School. ALearn is proud to be a major contributor to freshmen improvement through its Summer Bridge program!


Los Altos High School team who participated in the ALearn AVID Bridge to High School Program: Oscar Ramirez, Indigo Washington, Nathalie Preciado, Kathryn Hanson, Adeline Berrospe, Estefani Gomez, Joanne Miyahara (LAHS Teacher and AVID Coordinator)

Overfelt AVID

Overfelt HS team who participated in the ALearn Summer Bridge Program: Joe Albers (Overfelt HS Teacher, AVID Coordinator and Director of the Overfelt High School Summer Bridge Program), Azlin Diaz, Jasmin Rios, Kathryn Hanson, David Gonzales, Vito Chiala (Overfelt High School Principal)

Zoomz Update

There are many new and exciting things happening with Zoomz, our social network for first generation high school and college students! After the success of
Aim4College, a section that offers year-by-year advice for high school students to help them get to college, we launched a new section to continue to support students throughout college. ConquerCollege follows Aim4College's year-by-year model to give guidance to college student in areas such as academics, social life, financial aid and work experience.

We've also launched our first class of College Mentors, which includes current college students and recent graduates who have joined Zoomz to blog about their education path and experiences at college. So far, our College Mentors have written about the road to college, coping with homesickness, ways to get involved in campus life, and study skills. The College Mentors are also available to give advice and answer questions  about college.

To see the College Mentors in action and browse through Aim4College and ConquerCollege, head to, the go-to place for first generation students.

Frier and Gordon

Laura Casas Frier (ALearn Board Member)
and Rick Gordon (San Mateo County Supervisor)

In This Issue
MAP Update
AVID Bridge Update
Zoomz Update
College Catalyst Breakfast Summary
Donor Updates
College Catalyst Breakfast Summary

Our College Catalyst Breakfast began with a welcome address by Diane Frankle, Chair of ALearn's Board. Diane talked about how she was a passionate believer in ALearn's mission of helping more underpriviledged kids attend college, and how she was especially drawn to ALearn's successful results. Next, Kathryn Hanson, shared how she was inspired to start the organization three years ago in order to be able to make a difference in the lives of underrepresented students in her community, and how ALearn was turning that vision into a reality.

Porter, Chiala, Barbara

John Porter (Superintendent of Franklin McKinley School District), Vito Chiala (Overfelt High School Principal), and Manny Barbara (Vice President, Advocacy and Thought Leadership, Silicon Valley Education Foundation)

John Porter, the Superintendent of Franklin McKinley School District, next emphasized the positive impact that the MAP Program has had on his students, who came into the fall trimester with a huge leg up and a desire to achieve in math and other subjects. He also noted that his teachers had learned new techniques of teaching that they could bring back into their regular classes during the year. After the Catalyst to College video highlighted the success of this summer's Math Acceleration Program, a Bridge to High School Panel spoke to the crowd. The panel included Vito Chiala, Principal at Overfelt High School, Joe Albers, AVID Coordinator at Overfelt, as well as three students from this summer's AVID Bridge program. Vito, Joe, and the students shed light on the remarkable results produced by AVID Bridge students this summer (see the results under AVID Bridge Update). The students, all freshmen at Overfelt High School, gave humorous but moving accounts of how ALearn helped them improve their academic skills and motivated them to work hard to be the first in their families to go to college. Finally, ALearn's Board Treasurer Frank Pisciuneri ended with a call to action for donations to help ALearn continue to make a difference in the lives of Bay Area students.


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Donor Updates

Thanks to our Corporate Donors who made our College Catalyst Breakfast possible:

  • Blach Construction
  • Deloitte & Touche
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • Wells Fargo

Many thanks also to our Gold and Silver Sponsors:

  • Diane & Robert Frankle
  • Hansup & Heemook Kwon
  • The Geoff & Colleen Tate Family Trust
  • Elizabeth B. Wolf


We were also grateful for our Table Sponsors, who each hosted a full table of guests for the breakfast: Marcia Adams & Susan Carnahan, Barbara Adey, Manny Barbara, Julie Cates, Melissa Dyrdahl, Greg & Penny Gallo, Kathryn & Kirk Hanson, Webb & Chris McKinney, Mary Tate, Emily Wu & Drew Hoffman.


We are so appreciative for the many generous donations we received at the breakfast and in the weeks following. ALearn would not be able to achieve its mission of helping under-represented students get to and succeed in college without the support of our many donors!

Your contribution makes a difference in the lives of students in the Bay Area.

If you'd like to make a donation, please head to our website at