Catalyst to College Newsletter 
December 2013
In This Issue
ALearn Donors Make Dreams Come True
2013 Summer Programs
Thank you to our Donors
Staffing Bonanza!


ALearn Donors Make 
Dreams Come True

More students can dream about college, thanks to the 300+ supporters who donated over $200,000 at the Dream Makers Dinner on October 2.  The Oshman Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto was the site for a festive cocktail party featuring students showcasing their College Dream trifolds, passing hors d'oeuvres, and mingling with guests.  


The celebration continued with a cosy dinner (made cosier by a last-minute room change) and the ALearn Achievement Awards.


ALearn Award Winners 2013


Outstanding Students 

MAP - Sara Garcia

Catalyst - Gaganpreet Lamba


Outstanding Teaching Assistants

MAP - Kai Fujioka

Catalyst - Natalie Gonzalez


Outstanding Teachers

MAP - Alfredo Acosta

Catalyst - Jared Darby 


CEO Kathryn Hanson (left) and Julie Cates (right) with ALearn Achievement Award Winners


ALearn's first 

Dream Makers Award Winner


Steve and Anita Westly and the Westly Foundation were honored for their educational philanthropy, and Steve spoke about his and his wife's own humble family background and the pivotal role that education played in each of their personal success.


Joe Simitian, Kathryn Hanson, and

Steve Westly


Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Supervisor and former California Legislator, led a very lively "Fund a Need" auction, where many donors gave generously for the first time and many returning donors were inspired to give more.  The grand total raised-including table sponsorships-was $216,610. 


Three cheers to everyone who helped make our students college dreams come true!


2013 Summer Programs,

By the Numbers



By any calculation, our sixth year was a great success.  Consider these:




720 + 75 = the number of sixth and seventh grade students who enrolled + the number of hours of instruction in Pre-Algebra (equal to half a year in school)


25:26 = the ratio of teachers to teaching assistants (also known as Super Role Models)


100% - 17% = 83%, or the average gain in understanding of "Operations with Fractions: Addition & Subtraction" by 6thgraders (with 63.5% average growth in Multiplication & Division operations and42.4% average growth for 7th graders in Algebraic Expressions)


572 643 = 94%, or the percentage of students who are more motivated to go to college as a result of MAP

 Santa Clara visitCatalyst


6 X 6 X 5 = 180 The number of weeks X the number of hours per day X the number of days per week students attend Catalyst


13 + 6 = 19  The number of Algebra classes + the number of Geometry classes


If 70% of students passed Algebra 1 and 82% of students passed Geometry, how many Catalyst students passed their classes, when x is the number of Algebra students (263) and y is the number of Geometry students (175)? (What Math class is complete without a word problem?)

=.70x + .82y

= (.70 x 263) + (.82 x 175)

= 184 + 145

= 329 students passing and starting                          their freshmen year a                                       full year ahead.


These kinds of results add up to an effective, replicable approach that helps bring systemic change to school districts by providing teachers and administrators with quality training and best practices that impact other students and educators beyond our program.

ALearn would like to thank its most recent donors for their generosity:






Sacks, Ricketts & Case LLP

Watkins Family Foundation

Women in International Trade
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Dear ALearn Friends and Supporters:
So much is happening at ALearn, I hardly know where to begin. 
Let me start by highlighting the results of our summer programs: we successfully served 722 students in our 4 week intensive Math Acceleration Program for 6th and 7th graders and over 500 students in our Catalyst 9th grade program. By the end of the summer,  all of our students had a boost in math and motivation, and an increased sense that college is in their future-and that math can be fun, not boring!  

ALearn has now served and inspired over 5,000 students in 6 years of programs; has brought thousands of parents and family members to learn about college and college readiness; has trained over 100 teachers and 100 college students in blended learning and common core techniques, and has worked with 15 school districts in Silicon Valley.


ALearn has been building a fabulous team to support a great and sustainable organization.  We're extremely pleased to welcome Rocio Abundis-Rodriguez as our new VP Programs, Jeni Ramirez as a new Program Manager, Eileen Tsai as a new Development Manager working with Carol Flaherty, and Kim Guptill as Marketing Lead. 


This has been a banner year for ALearn on the fundraising front, having raised over $1 million for the first time, and adding 130 new donors, both corporate and individual.  Sincere and deep thanks to our donors, encore and new, for your generous support of our very deserving students, teaching assistants and teachers.  


Despite this progress, we are more aware than ever of the gap in our society between rich and poor, educated and uneducated. Our goal remains to help more underserved students become educated. One is reminded of Robert Frost's line: "But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep."  We feel energized and excited to start a new year in which to bring more students the joy of learning and power of positive mindset-with the concrete goals of succeeding in math and going to college.


Happy Holidays and Warm Blessings,

Kathryn's Signature


Staffing Bonanza!


ALearn has recently added four new team members, and we are delighted  to welcome them.


Rocio Abundis-Rodriguez is our Vice President for Programs, and has nearly 25 years of experience in managing diverse youth-oriented programs in both public and private non-profit organizations.


Most recently, she served for seven years as the Region 5 Lead for After School Programs coordinating, managing and implementing training and customized support to over 200 after school and Healthy Start state funded sites in Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

Rocio has a Masters in Public Health from UCLA, and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavioral Science from the University of California at Davis. The most vital experience and accomplishment she brings is that of mother of two beautiful children, Sofia and Mateo, who serve as her inspiration for improving educational opportunities to all.  


Jeni Ramirez is our new Program Manager.  She has worked in nonprofit management for 8 year.  Previous to ALearn, she was the Director of Youth Services for the YWCA of Silicon Valley.  At the Y, she developed and managed three programs: Project Inspire, Teen Success, and Tech GYRLS.  These programs focus on helping students who are falling behind in their coursework catch up through credit recovering mentoring, enrichment, and tutoring support.


Jeni has a B.A. in Kinesiology and a M.S. in Adapted Kinesiology, both from Cal State East Bay.  She is also a graduate of the 2012 San Jose Community Leadership program.


Jeni's passion for education and ALearn comes from a desire to help the next generation be prepared, succeed, and live a fulfilling life.  A quote that drives her comes from Benjamin Franklin: "Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I learn."



Eileen Tsai is our new Development Manager. 

A longtime public education advocate, Eileen joined ALearn after working years in the corporate world and volunteering in public schools.  Her most recent personal passion has been leading the transformation of the college and career center at a local public high school and focusing on college attainment for first generation students.  It was through her 12 years of work within the school district that Eileen saw the great need for college readiness programs for under-served students in middle school and high school.
Previously, Eileen held marketing and project management roles at Visa, Intuit, Citibank, and McAfee.  She has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Cornell and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Kim Guptill is our new Marketing Lead.  She spent 15 years consulting with Hewlett-Packard, helping them market their servers and PCs.  Her last assignment was producing videos for HP TouchSmart computers.  She is also the Grants Manager at the Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation, which makes grants to organizations that support at-risk youth in education and the arts. 

 Her passion exactly matches ALearn's: to launch low-income, first generation students on a trajectory to college. 

Kim holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Arizona, a Master of International Management from the Thunderbird School of Golbal Management, and an M.A. in Organizational Communication from Purdue.

3777 Stevens Creek Boulevard Suite 330 
Santa Clara, California 95051