ALearn logo

Catalyst for College


March, 2011



Spring is just around the corner, and we're busy at work preparing for our summer programs.

This year, our Math Acceleration Program (MAP), will be in 12 districts in Santa Clara County, serving around 1500 middle school students with a highly interactive math and college-bound program.  Our Catalyst to High School Program will prepare 300 entering 9th graders in Algebra, Geometry and college-going skills in 3 districts in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, and give them the chance to start freshman year with momentum and skills. 


Zoomz, our social network for first generation high school and college students, currently has over 1,200 members.  Take a look, and see students giving good advice on how to find scholarships,  how to study in college, how to write college essays, while also sharing music and videos and all the other enjoyable aspects of high school and college. If you know any students who will be the first in their families to go to college, please send them to!


Thanks to all of our donors and supporters for making all this possible.  We have some great stories below about the impact of our programs on students and teachers, which we hope you'll enjoy.



Kathryn Hanson

Founder & CEO


Math Acceleration Program and Catalyst to High School Program Update

Teacher bending over student

ALearn was formed over three years ago to attack the achievement gap that exists in Silicon Valley and leaves too many students unprepared for college.   

ALearn's goal is to help a substantial number of low income, first generation middle school students conquer Algebra before high school and get on the college path.


We are pleased that our partner school districts, teachers, students and funders see the value in our Math Acceleration Program (MAP) and Catalyst to High School Program.   With our partner, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, ALearn will provide intensive Pre-Algebra and Algebra summer programs to 1800 students entering grades 7-9 in 13 school districts.   Please visit to learn more about how we are taking a slice out of the achievement gap.

Zoomz Update

The Zoomz team is proud to announce that our social networking site for first generation high school and college students has grown to more than 1,200 members! This is in large part due to the extremely successful outreach campaign organized by the Zoomz team.


In February, the team presented to freshmen-senior students at Mountain View High School and Independence High School in San Jose. On March 5, the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) program invited Zoomz to participate as one of the sessions offered to its students on its annual celebration, MESA Day. This event is designed to provide students with an opportunity to apply math, science, and engineering principles to individual and team academic contests and to encourage students to attend college.  


We are delighted to welcome the newest members of our Zoomz community who now have a place to relate, interact, and learn about their path to college.

Board Update
Francisco Jimenez

On February 5, Professor Francisco Jiménez, the celebrated author, university professor, and member of ALearn's Board of Directors was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Parent Engagement Conference sponsored by the Santa Clara County Office of Education for the San Jose Unified School District. Francisco spoke to a crowd of over 500 mostly Latino parents about the importance of parents taking an active role in supporting their children's education. During his presentation, Francisco took advantage of the opportunity to promote Zoomz among parents, teachers, and administrators as a great tool for students to utilize in order to achieve their college dreams and aspirations. 


We are proud to have such a distinguished educator and positive role model as a member of ALearn's Board. We are also grateful for Francisco's efforts in advocating one of our programs to the wider community. ALearn could not have asked for a better ambassador!

Fundraising Update

We would like to acknowledge and thank the following foundations for their generosity in supporting our Math Acceleration Program (MAP) and Catalyst to High School Program. ALearn could not continue providing these important programs to our students without their continued support of our mission.

 Rambus logo

Rambus is one of the world's premier technology licensing companies. Founded in 1990, they specialize in the invention and design of architectures focused on enriching the end user experience of computing, communications and consumer electronics applications. Their goal is to strengthen and improve the quality of life in their community through grant programs, community engagement and employee giving.  Rambus believes in the power of education and technology to create change.  They invest in math, science and technology programs to encourage the gifted innovators of tomorrow. Rambus also invests in the community by promoting programs that meet local needs.  We at ALearn thank Rambus for their support of $5,000 for the Catalyst to High School Program.


 HP logo


ALearn would like to thank Hewlett-Packard for its in-kind donation of two HP ProBook computers, Microsoft Office software, two HP AV projectors, and a HP Multifunction printer. Hewlett Packard's generous equipment donation is much appreciated and will be put to good use immediately in our office environment and at our schools and offsite meetings. 


 Leslie Foundation logo


The mission of the Leslie Family Foundation which is an independent family foundation, is to positively improve lives through economic development, health care and education and to support Jewish community life.  ALearn is honored and excited that we have been selected for a $10,000 first-time grant from the Leslie Family Foundation and look forward to a continued partnership in order to improve the futures of our students.


 Lantern League logo


The goal of the Lantern League Women's Giving Circle is to support and fund education and developmental opportunities and programs for women and girls.


The name goes back to the history of the Sisters of the Presentation (the founders of Presentation High School, which is the sponsoring organization of this circle.) The religious order was founded by a woman named Nano Nagle. She was a native of Cork, Ireland and came from a very wealthy family. She became increasingly concerned about the plight of the poor in her country, especially poor children who were denied education under the penal laws. The lantern is an object that casts out light and serves as a beacon of hope lighting the darkness. Since the proceeds of this circle will fund programs for women and girls, this seemed an appropriate name for the group.  We are appreciative of the Lantern League's support of $10,000 to our MAP program.


In This Issue
MAP and Catalyst to High School Program Update
Zoomz Update
Board Update
Fundraising Update
Student Success Story
ALearn is still hiring
Teacher Success Story
"Double Wow" Student Success Story
Sara P
"Double Wow" was what both Sara Palacios, a 7th grader from the Herman Intermediate School, and her mother felt after she was accelerated to Pre-Algebra earlier this year resulting from her participation in the ALearn Math Acceleration Program (MAP) last summer.


Sara struggled in math and her 6th grade teacher encouraged her to attend the summer MAP program.   Sara was not anxious to give up summer vacation days to take four hours of math each day.  However, by the end of the 19-day program, she demonstrated the highest improvement of any student that had completed the program in the last three years. She went from scoring two out of 12 to a perfect 12 out of 12 in her word problems math module. This was her first "Wow." 


Sara credits her teacher and teaching assistant for helping her to "visualize math better" and encouraging her to ask questions and not be afraid. Her favorite activities were the white board exercises that provided a team environment and helped her to make new friends.  


Sara found it "pretty cool" to visit San Jose State University during the College Visit Day. This was her very first visit to a college campus and is now "excited about going off to college." 


Sara's mother said "Wow!" when Sara was moved up to Pre-Algebra within a week of starting 7th grade.   Today, Sara feels confident about math, is not afraid to ask questions and considers math one of her top subjects.


For those not doing well in math and interested in moving up a math grade, Sara highly recommends MAP - "it really works". We wish Sara continued success!

ALearn is still hiring
hiring logo - 2

ALearn is still hiring college teacher assistants for our MAP 2011 summer program.  We are looking for students interested in a teaching career and who have finished their sophomore, junior or senior year of college. The college teacher assistant will tutor and teach math to middle school students.  If you know of any college students who fit this profile, please refer them to our site at and contact us at


"A Valuable Experience" Teacher Success Story

Julia Bingham with TA Saralee Laredo

Recent remarks from Julia Bingham, MAP 2010 Teacher with San Jose Unified School District:


"I just wanted to let you know again what a wonderful time I had in the ALearn program last summer.   What an exciting and progressive program and opportunity.


We have been using many of the Math Navigator ideas and lesson planning throughout this great year.   The program has made me a better teacher and injected the confidence to build lessons and classroom procedures to support new, real-life applicable and tangibly related, 'Math' learning lessons.  As a result, the students are able to make better, more informed, decisions.  They now take charge of setting directions, goals and planning for creating their future life. 


The summer provided such a valuable experience for me and now for my students during the school year."



MAP students touring  Santa Clara

University's campus


Quick Link: