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Catalyst for College


November, 2011


Dear ALearn Friends and Supporters,


It is Thanksgiving time, and I'm grateful for ALearn's evolution and growth in 2011--and especially for our wonderful staff who made this growth possible.  My thanks go especially to Julie Cates, Carlos Jimenez, Emily Wu, June Montgomery and our Zoomz team.  I also send my gratitude to the wonderful 54 teachers and 55 college student teaching assistants and 3 college coordinators who made such a difference in our students' lives this summer by bringing the excitement of learning to them in such a personal way. I also send much appreciation to our MAP Program Director Rick Alves, our Catalyst Program Director Dino Certa, and our partner districts and district staffs for their on-the-ground efforts. And of course, I'm grateful to our donors who make all of this possible-from our individual donors to our corporate donors to our community foundation donors.  We are proud to have added the Shortino Foundation as an official donor!


On another topic: Tom Friedman's recent column in the NY Times about Better Parents caught my eye.  Citing a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or O.E.C.D., he noted that "parents (who are) more focused on their children's education can also make a big difference in a student's achievement."  The study shows that parents who read more to their children at a young age and ask about their students' studies have children who score much better on tests at age fifteen. 


Parents who pay attention to their child's learning have children who learn more. We cannot as a society depend only on teachers for student learning; parents must be very involved too. It seems obvious, right? But I raise it for another reason: sometimes parents aren't sure how to help their students. ALearn embeds parental support of their students' education in every program we have, by conducting Parent-Student College Information nights and other programs wherein we help parents learn how to help their students get on the college path and succeed-even if they are not college graduates themselves.  We will be expanding our support of parents even more in 2012 because we believe that this lynchpin of student learning and support is a leverage point we can influence and expand.


Thanks to all of you who help build a strong, quality education to under-represented students.


Warmest Regards,


Kathryn Hanson

Founder & CEO


Math Acceleration Program (MAP) Update

The impact of the Math Acceleration Program (MAP) summer program reaches students during the school year. Forty-five teachers from 11 school districts participated in the summer program, provided in conjunction with our partnership with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.   We get asked if the summer program helps teachers become better teachers and further improve student learning.   While 1,500 students benefited from the program last summer, our teachers take their enhanced instructional skills into their school year classrooms - reaching more than 7,000 students. 


Here's what teachers' talked about in improving instruction during the school year:


"I will be able to implement the teaching STRATEGIES FOR INTERVENTION purposes and regular teaching days."


[The program] "gave me new ideas to approach teaching some basic skills that each student needs to find success."


"I gained more from this program than I had ever hoped. Teaching a lesson and leading activities gave me invaluable experience and knowledge for the future."


"I got a lot of ideas from the Navigator that I can modify for my students this fall. The program was a big motivator to encourage students to learn about college. I do think this program helped me become a better teacher because not only do I have more ideas on how to teach math but also on how to motivate my students to want to learn and to want to go to college in the future."


Find out more information about the incredible gains attained by MAP 2011 students and the impact the teachers had on their success: 2011 MAP Results 


Congratulations to these teachers who are helping our middle school students get on the path to college!

Zoomz Update
There a lots of new and exciting things happening in Zoomz, ALearn's social networking site for first-generation students.

On October 15, the Zoomz team participated in the 21st annual Latino Role Model Conference at Overfelt High School. With the goal of motivating Latino middle and high school students to go to college and get exposed to some of the different career paths available to them, the conference featured Latino professionals such as doctors, lawyers, firefighters, and engineers. The team presented Zoomz to many students and described how to use the site to support their college journey.

Check out the latest blogs posted by our College Mentors in which they give advice to high school students about college applications and how to avoid the famous "freshmen 15" weight gain suffered by many incoming freshmen students during their first year of college.


In This Issue
Math Acceleration Program Update
Zoomz Update
Catalyst to High School Program Update
Staff Update
Fundraising Update
Catalyst to High School Program Update


Plans for the 2012 Catalyst program as in motion! ALearn representatives are in the process of meeting with superintendents from Eastside Union, Mountain View/Los Altos, and Sequoia Union districts to lay the groundwork for another successful summer program. 
Check out the outstanding results achieved by the 2011 Catalyst students. The incoming freshmen have truly made  made impressive gains in math!
New Staff Member   
Fundraising Update



ALearn would like to recognize The Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley for their support of $5,500 to support our MAP program.  


The Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley is the recognized leader in Hispanic philanthropy in Silicon Valley, inspiring Hispanic families and children to achieve personal greatness. It is a public foundation dedicated to inspiring community philanthropy and engaging people to invest in the health, educational achievement, and leadership development of a thriving Hispanic community in Silicon Valley.



We would like to thank the Leo M. Shortino Foundation for their generous grant of $30,000 to ALearn for our MAP program.  

The Foundation's mission is to act as a catalyst to enhance the quality of life in Santa Clara County, California through charitable giving to support at-risk youth and their families through education, healthy lifestyles and the arts. Of particular interest are efforts that reach across ethnic, racial and economic boundaries to develop youth into tomorrow's leaders and increase self-sufficiency. The Foundation gives priority to supporting services and organizations in Santa Clara County in the areas of education, healthy lifestyles and the arts.

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