Catalyst For College 
May 2012 Newsletter   

Dear Friends and Supporters of ALearn,


This is the year for building a sustainable organization. We started by settling into our new office in Santa Clara, and we have put in place additional processes for our programs and financial tracking, and an IT structure in the cloud (Box). We have also upgraded our fundraising processes and tracking systems, and have received help again from Deloitte on our financial reporting.


This winter and spring, we initiated a new program, Math Acceleration Program Plus (MAP Plus) which was a zero period program for 7th graders, giving them a refresher in fractions, decimals and other concepts needed for the CSTs. By blending great teaching, the Khan Academy computer programs, hands-on math activities and games and puzzles-with some college and career sessions-we had the students engaged and energized. This program will allow us to mold some great after-school programs with partners in the districts we serve.


As you see to the article to the right, all is moving forward well for our 5th summer of programs in Santa Clara County and our 2nd summer in San Mateo County. We have hired over 50 great Teaching Assistants, and have worked with 15 districts to hire great teachers and recruit students for our robust Math Acceleration Program (MAP) and our Catalyst Program. In partnership with Silicon Valley Education Foundation and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, ALearn will serve

1700 middle school students in 15 districts. In our Catalyst program, we will serve ~ 500 entering high school freshmen in 3 high school districts.


Many thanks to our new donors who are helping us grow in San Mateo County: the Eustace-Kwan Foundation, the Harrington Family Foundation and the Steve and Anita Westly Foundation. Deep appreciation as well to our returning donors: the Reddere Foundation, the Leslie Family Foundation, the Tate Family Foundation and the Rambus Foundation. We were also delighted to receive some new printers and computers donated by HP to update our equipment and prepare for the busy summer.


Come see us and our programs in action this summer! For classroom visits or to attend an end-program celebration, contact Karin Dutra:


Warmest Regards,

Kathryn's Signature 

Founder and CEO



A Passion for Teaching

 Greg Lambrecht  

Rookie Teacher of the Year

Fremont Union High School District 


Meet Greg Lambrecht, the kind of Teaching Assistant ALearn hires and loves. Greg's passion for education began when his high school English teacher inspired him to want to make a difference in the world through the power of teaching. He began by correcting papers during summers at Sacred Heart High School, and when he saw the ad for the ALearn Teaching Assistant (TA) for MAP while at Santa Clara University, he immediately applied. He was offered the position on the spot and worked at Oak Grove the first summer and Evergreen at McKinley the second summer.


Greg was most amazed by the impact of the Math Acceleration Program (MAP) class on the kids who were the most challenged.  On the first day, the teacher asked Greg to provide 1:1 support with two of the students that needed the most attention. One of those students told him "I'm stupid - I'm terrible at math and I don't want to even try".  So every day, "Mr. Greg" provided positive feedback and attempted to make the math problems interesting by presenting the problems in context of everyday life rather than using algebraic expressions. The student eventually thanked him for making math "fun".


Greg was also moved by the happy and proud looks on the student's faces once they got their first A. Greg was able to film many of these moments and shared it during the "end of program" celebration, which brought tears to many of the student's parents. These moments were both "amazing and precious".


The course also allowed him to interface and develop a great synergy with the other TAs and credits his teachers with equipping him with classroom management and teaching strategies.


Greg majored in English and minored in Urban Education at Santa Clara University and now brings his energy, passion and creativity to Fremont High School where as an English teacher, he teaches 4 sections of Literature and Writing (Freshmen) and one section of Global Literature (English Language Learners). He is the club adviser for Hip Hop Club, Speech and Debate, and Club Grammar. He was just recently honored as Rookie of the Year of Fremont Union High School District ( and featured on the front page of the Sunnyvale Sun Newspaper with the other teachers of the year at FUHSD.  


We thank Greg for supporting ALearn and we wish him much success as a teacher.


ALearn completes successful MAP Plus Pilot Program in Alum Rock and Franklin McKinley School Districts!Principal Howard Greenfield with MAP+ students
 Fischer Middle School Principal Howard Greenfield
  and students
 at MAP Plus Celebration.


This winter, 203 seventh graders arrived before school at 7:00 am for 10 weeks to increase their Pre-Algebra skills in ALearn's before-school MAP Plus program.This new program used a blended instruction model that incorporated use of the on-line math curriculum from Khan Academy, math games and college going sessions.


"The MAP Plus program reviewed necessary skills that are prerequisites for success in Algebra. It pointed out holes in the students' skill set that may be addressed in their regular Math classes. The program made it possible for students to practice  

basic skills that are key in proper understanding  

of the subsequent Algebra concepts."

MAP Plus Teacher


The students completed an average of 50 Khan Academy exercises, that included fractions, decimals and expressions.92% of the students agreed that "Khan Academy helps you learn how to learn math."   


Principals, teachers, and students  all recommend the program, and would like to see the program continued in future years.  Teachers would like the course design incorporated in more extended learning programs - after-school, during school, before-school, summer, or Saturdays.  


ALearn and our students send our thanks and appreciation for our MAP Plus funders, Applied Materials and Cisco.


  Applied Materials    Cisco logo


"Thank you for making this program. Without this program I would have been lacking the whole time and wouldn't pass my math class. I also appreciate that the people of MAP PLUS created this to help the kids who are having a hard time with math because it helps a lot and makes it easier,

MAP Plus Student


Click here for more information on the MAP Plus program.




AVID Writer's Conference


ALearn co-sponsored the 11th annual AVID Writer's Conference at Santa Clara University. On March 29, 450 students from Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties participated in the culmination of AVID Region V's "Write-Off," wherein more than 5,000 AVID middle and high school students participate in a timed writing exercise modeled after the CSU English Placement Test essay.


ALearn's Manager of Programs, Carlos Jimenez, shared his experience with the students as a first generation alumnus from Santa Clara University and his work in the education and non-profit sector. He also participated in the awards ceremony handing out a commemorative plaque to the winners of each of the writing categories. ALearn is proud to partner with AVID to collaboratively support both organization's efforts to help more first generation minority students get to and succeed in college.  


In This Issue
MAP Plus Pilot Program
AVID Writer's Conference
MAP Update
Catalyst Update
Donor Update
Zoomz Update

ALearn is ramping up to serve 

1,700 middle school students 

this summer!

kids at table


ALearn and its partners, the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and the Hispanic Foundation of SV, will serve 1700 students from 18 school districts across Santa Clara County.   Targeting first generation, low income students, the summer Math Acceleration Program, will help incoming 7th graders prepare for Pre-Algebra.  


The summer program blends use of the award-winning Navigator math curriculum, games from RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching) and the Khan Academy on-line math curriculum. ALearn is hiring a college student teaching student for each classroom to help lead the college-knowledge sessions, lead the middle school students on college campus tours and college information nights for the students and their families.  


Catalyst to High School Program Update



Our Catalyst Bridge program for entering 9th graders is entering its 5th year in the summer of 2012. ALearn will serve 8 high schools in three districts again this summer, and we will increase the number of students served to over 500. The high schools we serve are:

  • Yerba Buena, Mt. Pleasant, Oak Grove and Overfelt (collaborating) High Schools  in the East Side Union High School District;  
  • Mountain View and Los Altos High Schools in the MVLA District;  
  • Woodside and Sequoia High Schools in the Sequoia Union High School Districts.

We are proud to announce that students from our first pilot year of Catalyst Bridge (formerly AVID Bridge) are now seniors and graduating! Of the 25 original students in our Bridge program:  

  • 22/25 are still in the MVLA District
  • All 22 (100%) will graduate with their class.
  • 18/22 (82%) are CSU/UC Eligible  (took right courses, C and above) as compared with only 26% of Latinos in Santa Clara County who are graduating this year, college eligible.

Congratulations to our students! And thanks for a strong partnership, MVLA School District and AVID!  

Donor Update


ALearn extends our appreciation to the Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula for their generous grant in support of the Catalyst program for 9th graders.  


The Junior League is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.


Through their many community projects, grants, outreach and training, the JLPA-MP provides both funding and an estimated 35,000 volunteer hours to the community each year. Community grants are given in response to critical community needs.  Since 1965, the JLPA-MP has given over $3 million to 176 nonprofit organizations.


                  Zoomz Update

The past few months have been a busy and exciting time for Zoomz, ALearn's online community for first generation high school and college students!


ALearn's Zoomz team presented the online community at these events in March and April: MESA Day at San Jose State University, the Breaking Barriers Conference at the Mexican Heritage Plaza, Cisco's Career Fair, and San Jose High School's College Conference. Participating students joined our Zoomz community to benefit from the important information, resources, and peer-support that Zoomz offers its members.  


We are happy to report that our community has grown to close to 1,500 members! Here are some examples of how Zoomz members are interacting with the Zoomz community to relate, interact, and learn about how to get to and succeed in college:



A student asks the Zoomz community about a career in international business:


Click Here 

  • Students do a college search to find the best match for them: 

Click Here 

  • Students share their college aspirations through video: 
Zachary is going to Stanford! 
Zachary is going to Stanford!


Zoomz is proud of supporting these young men and women in their path towards college!  





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