TEA News Releases Online Sept. 30, 2013
Large and small employers recognized for support of Texas public schools
AUSTIN – From mentoring to donations to lunchtime visits, Texas businesses large and small are an integral part of many Texas public schools. In recognition of this support, the State Board of Education today named 12 Texas employers as recipients of the 2013 Employers for Education Excellence (EEE) Award. Designed to promote more community involvement in the public schools, the EEE Award recognizes employers who implement policies that encourage employee involvement in school activities.
"Congratulations to these businesses on this recognition of their support of our Texas public schools,” said Barbara Cargill, chair of the State Board of Education. “I would like to thank these employers and their employees for taking the time to mentor and work with these students and their schools.”
The EEE Awards are given in three categories – Gold, Silver and Bronze. For the 2013 award, 11 companies received a gold award and one company received a silver award.
Winners in the Gold Award category have implemented policies that: encourage and support employees who attend parent-teacher conferences; encourage employees to volunteer in school activities; and support employees that participate in student mentoring programs.
Gold recipients for 2013 are:
Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) – El Paso
Through numerous activities and community partnerships, Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) employees are given many avenues to impact the youth in the El Paso community. Every ADP employee is allowed eight paid hours for community volunteering. The business partners closely with the Junior Achievement (JA) organizations in El Paso helping to mentor students, promote career-prone thinking and social success. During the 2012-2013 school year, 120 ADP volunteers assumed teacher roles bringing JA’s financial literacy work readiness and entrepreneurship programs to 633 local students. Since 2010, ADP has supported 400 volunteers for JA, impacting a total of 2,808 students at eight local elementary schools.
Capital One Bank – San Antonio
Capital One Bank and its associates are proud partners with the Rey Feo Program in San Antonio. This school visitation program reaches approximately 70,000 elementary school students each year. The Rey Feo Program presents students with a fun, unique message on the importance of staying in school and pursuing a college education; and visits approximately 100 schools per year. Each student is presented with a gold coin as a reminder that when they reach high school, they can apply for the Rey Feo Scholarship, which Capital One awards to need-based Title I high school graduates. Capital One Bank – San Antonio also participates in the Heart of America READesign efforts. The company provided Rodriguez Elementary School in San Antonio with a new library and through a campaign called Book by Book along with READesign, has donated more than 6,300 books.
City of Austin
The City of Austin partners with six local non-profit organizations to support mentoring and tutoring programs that benefit the students of the Austin Independent School District. City of Austin policy provides its employees with two hours of administrative leave per week to participate in the program. During the 2012-2013 school year, 385 employees participated in the City Mentor and Tutor Program. In addition, city employees also participate directly in the Austin ISD related volunteer programs. The City of Austin also participates in a Title I schools Mentor and Tutor program in which employees are given paid time off to volunteer and mentor some of the city’s most at-risk students. This is the second time the City of Austin has been recognized as an Employer for Education Excellence. The city was previously awarded an EEE in 2008.
DATCU – Denton
The Denton Independent School District benefits greatly from the employees of DATCU, a credit union that allows employees to attend parent-teacher conferences, volunteer activities and mentoring. The credit union provides 20 employees to serve as mentors in the Denton ISD. Employees are able to customize their work schedules to accommodate visits to their children’s schools, and are encouraged and incentivized to participate in volunteer activities in schools. Employees volunteer through such groups as Big Brother Big Sisters, Adopt a School – Partners in Education, Giving Heart, Apple Tree Project, Lone Star Technical Instructional Academy and the Denton Public School Foundation. For the past eight years, DATCU has provided the total funding for the Volunteer Advisory Board, which oversees all volunteer activities in the district’s 36 schools, which in 2012-2013 generated 392,000 volunteer hours.
Electric Reliability Council of Texas – Taylor
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) provides valuable mentoring services to the students of the Taylor Independent School District. Every week, 11 ERCOT employees participate in a lunch mentoring program at Taylor ISD campuses. ERCOT also sponsors a scientific renewable energy club, Beginners Learning Alternative Designs of Energy (BLADE), at Taylor High School. ERCOT employees visit with students every Tuesday and Thursday to provide them with a hands-on learning opportunities and exposure to new ideas. The club’s first project involved designing a machine to be used for emergency situations having an immediate need for electricity. The club successfully created a power supply by turning a van into a solar generator. The project garnered top honors at the 38th annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) solar day competition for high school students in Austin.
H-E-B – San Antonio
Since 2002, H-E-B has recognized excellent teachers across the state through its Excellence in Education Awards. More than $500,000 is awarded annually to teachers though this program, which is the largest monetary recognition program for educators in Texas and one of the largest in the nation. Through its Read 3 program, H-E-B has collected and distributed 1.5 million books to children in need. In the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, the company is a vital partner to the Nellie Reddix Center providing a unique mentoring program through the H-E-B Marketplace called Work Place Learning. The program is designed to teach young adults with special needs on the job training with an emphasis on how to secure and carry out a job. Each day, students come to the store and are mentored by an employee. The H-E-B Marketplace mentors work to give these students lifelong skills that can ultimately lead to their independence and success.
National Instruments – Austin
National Instruments – Austin has developed a 10-year partnership with Will Davis Elementary School, an Austin Independent School District school named for a former State Board of Education member. During the last five years, more than 40 National Instrument employees have worked with the school’s teachers, helped with fundraising activities, and led robotics workshops and trainings for teachers and students. The company has created the Mentoring Young Minds Robotics mentor program in 14 of its worldwide offices. In 2012, the Austin-based employees served as robotics mentors working directly in classrooms or training mentors from other companies and organizations to work in the classrooms with students. Overall, National Instrument mentors worked in 141 classrooms, teaching 3,162 students engineering, math and science skills, providing more than 10,000 volunteer hours.
North Side Baptist Church – Weatherford
North Side Baptist Church, under the leadership of Senior Pastor Van Houser, is committed to supporting the children of the Weatherford Independent School District. For the past five years, members of the church have mentored students at Seguin Elementary School, providing extra academic and social support to children who might need a little extra help or a positive adults role model. Three years ago, they started the Backpacks for Children Program. Every Friday, they deliver backpacks filled with food to last the weekend for Seguin students. On Mondays, they return to collect the empty backpacks so they can refill them for the following weekend. When the program first started, the church provided meals for 15 students each week. The program grew quickly, and today, it provides backpacks filled with food for more than 100 children each week. When the holidays arrive, or spring break rolls around, North Side Baptist is there to provide additional food. They also provide clothing, shoes, supplies and even provide incentives to encourage children to attend school.
Rackspace Hosting employees, or Rackers, as they are known, generously donate their time and money within the community in which they work. Rackers strongly support schools and education through the Rackspace Foundation and Rack Gives Back. The Rackspace Foundation enables employees to pledge funds out of the paychecks to invest in the neighborhood surrounding the company’s headquarters located within the boundaries of the North East Independent School District in San Antonio. All proceeds from the foundation are invested in enrichment programs in the local community schools. Rack Gives Back is a volunteer and grant program that supports the arts and culture, as well as education and technology. This program supports the NEISD schools and communities with FIRST robotics, food drives, mentor programs, beautification programs, service projects and special events. Overall, about 59 percent of the Rackspace employees volunteer in their local communities and schools, logging more than 15,000 volunteer hours.
State Farm Insurance – Danny Humphreys & Andrea Walton – Red Oak
Danny Humphreys and Andrea Walton with State Farm Insurance continuously support the Red Oak Independent School District. Their support goes beyond a simple donation. They have helped the families and students of the Red Oak ISD through hosting fundraisers for the choir, providing scholarships, providing incentives for school programs through the Red Oak ISD Renaissance Program, and working with the fifth-grade Advance math students on safe driving, money management and making good choices. They support athletics, academics and the fine arts alike. All of their employees have participated in volunteer activities for the schools.
Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) – Austin
The Texas Association of School Board (TASB) is anon-profit association that partners with T.A. Brown Elementary School in the Austin Independent School District. TASB has been a partner with Brown Elementary for more than 24 years. The TASB team is committed to staying focused on children by supporting educational as well as social and emotional needs. In the 2012-2013 school year, TASB volunteers recorded 837 hours working with the Brown students and staff. In addition to the volunteer and mentoring programs, the volunteers support the school with donations of supplies, book drives, implementing a pen pal program with fourth graders, adopting families for the holidays, monetary support and in any way that will support the goals of the campus and the district. TASB is also a two-time recipient of the EEE Award. It first received a Gold Award in 2010.
Recognized with a Silver Award is the law firm of Shulman, Lopez & Hoffer, LLP of San Antonio. Employees are encouraged and permitted to volunteer on school committees, education endowments, booster clubs, board committees and bond political action committees. Twenty percent of the firm’s employees volunteer on District Wide Improvement Committees and education foundations. Volunteer activities have been provided to the Randolph Field Independent School District, Judson Independent School District, San Felipe del Rio Consolidated Independent School District and North East Independent School District Education Foundation. The firm provides many hours of pro bono legal services to these school districts and numerous charter schools. The firm also supports various student and child related charities and provides donations for student scholarships in several area school districts.