TEA News Releases Online
Sept. 28, 2012
Leaders in science and energy among those honored
for supporting Texas public schools
AUSTIN – Ten Texas companies have been named recipients of the State Board of Education’s Employers for Education Excellence (EEE) Award for 2012. This year several leaders of the science and energy industry were among those recognized for their continuing support of Texas public school students.
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.
“I am so proud that the State Board of Education can recognize these outstanding companies and corporations with the Employers for Education Excellence Award,” said Barbara Cargill, chair of the State Board of Education. “These leaders in the science and energy fields, along with the recognized small business owners, all understand the importance of a strong education system.
“By providing volunteers, mentoring programs and other avenues of support, these companies are helping to ensure their own future by building a strong future workforce for Texas.”
The EEE Awards are given in three categories – Gold, Silver and Bronze.
For the 2012 award, seven companies received a gold award, one company received a silver and two received bronze.
Winners in the Gold Award category have implemented policies that encourage and support employees who attend parent-teacher conferences, that implement policies to encourage employees to volunteer in school activities, and who support employees that participate in student mentoring programs.
Gold recipients for 2012 are:
Association of Texas Professional Educators – Austin
This is the second time the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) earned a Gold award for its school volunteer and mentoring programs. The association was first honored in 2009. An organization is eligible to receive this award every three years.
ATPE offers three programs for its employees to give back to the local classrooms in the Austin area. The ATPE School Visitation/Volunteer Policy provides eight hours of paid time that can be used for a qualified school related educational activity such as a classroom volunteer or for an event such as field day.
The ATPE Austin Independent School District Partners in Education Volunteer Policy provides ATPE staff with an opportunity to volunteer in an Austin ISD school, and thus affords them a better appreciation and understanding of the challenges faced by ATPE members on a daily basis.
In addition, the association for the past seven years has served as a partner in education at Harris Elementary School in the Austin ISD. For the 2011-12 school year, nine ATPE staff members served as mentors and tutors at the school and made more then 150 visits to the campus.
Atmos Energy - Waco
More than 75 percent of all Atmos Energy employees in the Waco office volunteer and take part in school activities. The company has helped the Crestview Elementary School and the Waco ISD in meeting many of the district’s goals and objectives. The Atmos volunteers provide assistance with programs that are designed to increase student performance, increase grade-level advancement rates, increase attendance rates, decrease behavior incidents and provide real world experiences to meet the needs of students living in poverty.
In addition to volunteer activities at Crestview, Atmos employees serve at Cesar Chavez Middle School encouraging students during the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR™) tests; engaging A.J. Moore Academy students by providing job shadowing activities and also serve on the A.J. Moore Advisory Board as well as providing employment opportunities for all district students through a student worker program.
Atmos Energy supports the following programs for Waco ISD: Pre-K Mentoring; Pennies for Plants, Green Classrooms & Earth Day; a Recycling Contest, Academic Marathon and Boys to Men, a once a month mentoring luncheon for fourth-grade boys.
ExxonMobil – Mont Belvieu Plastics Plant
The ExxonMobil – Mont Belvieu Plastics Plant is termed a vital partner in education with Barbers Hill ISD in Southeast Texas. The company’s employees participate in activities that enrich the students’ lives academically and socially.
The company translates its education ethics into hours as well as donated dollars, so that students can have the necessary tools for learning as well as role models and mentors. The company’s education ethic is nurtured by workplace policies that make it not only easy, but encourages parents and volunteers to participate in the education process.
Approximately 10 percent of the ExxonMobil company’s employees participate in parent, volunteer and mentor programs in the Barbers Hill ISD. Activities in which they participate include: Barbers Hill Fall Fest, Science Ambassadors, Women in Engineering, Junior Achievement and mentoring programs.
Luminant: Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant
The employees of the Luminant: Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in Glen Rose participate in school activities with their time and efforts and as well as materials in many different arenas. Glen Rose ISD superintendent Wayne Rotan estimates that more 25 percent of Luminant’s workforce participates in everything from parent-teacher conferences to mentoring activities.
Plant employees participate in the Women in Nuclear team which partners with the elementary school students to reach out to the residents of local nursing homes with goodie bags. Many employees also participate in Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) a national program that encourages fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other father figures to volunteer at least one day a year at an official Watch D.O.G.S. school.
Other mentoring and volunteer activities includes an annual fifth-grade essay contest on reducing energy consumption through reuse and recycling; the Luminant Scholar Program, a scholarship program designed to educate students about the natural resources we use everyday; and the Citizens’ Monitoring program has monitored the water quality of the Paluxy River, since 2002.
In the 2011-12 school year, Luminant began two new mentoring programs, POWER SET and WIT. POWER SET (Powerful Opportunities for Women Eager and Ready for Science, Engineering and Technology) and WIT (Workforce Industry Training) are partnerships developed by the Nuclear Power Institute at Texas A&M University to promote confidence, excitement, direction, experiences, exposure, opportunities, internships and scholarships, industry support, and expansion of professional options for selected high school students in Texas.
NASA – Johnson Space Center
At the NASA Johnson Space Center, all employees, including scientists, engineers, and members of the non-technical workforce are encouraged to participate in optional mission-related education and outreach activities in Clear Creek ISD. In an effort to encourage, inspire and nurture the next generation of scientists and explorers, NASA has implemented numerous outreach and mentoring programs including a speakers’ bureau, education outreach, protocol, exhibits, and educational programs.
Volunteer services include the agency’s Summer of Innovation, which is designed to provide meaningful and exciting STEM experiences to fourth-ninth grade students who have traditionally been under-represented in STEM fields.
Other mentoring programs include the HUNCH program, a collaboration between NASA and Clear Creek to have high school students fabricate training hardware for use by NASA; the Career Exploration Program; the Robonauts, Clear Creek’s robotics team; and the Center for Agriculture, Science and Engineering (CASE) – Longhorn Project, a program whereby Clear Creek students raise and breed longhorn cattle on a 60-acre tract of land at the Johnson Space Center.
The Trinity ISD in Trinity not only welcomes volunteers and mentors throughout the district, it has incorporated them into the district’s strategic plan.
For the 2011-12 school year, the district wrote a new Strategic Plan that included asking staff to volunteer in the schools. Two programs were enacted, Watch D.O.G.S. and a mentoring program. Ten percent of the Trinity ISD employees participated as volunteers in the schools. The staff mentoring program is strictly voluntary – with no requirement that staff has to participate or receive additional compensation for the extra hours.
In the 2011-12 the district saw 184 volunteers, 82 field trip chaperones, 73 room parents for grades kindergarten through fifth, and 22 Watch D.O.G.S. serving in the schools. Watch D.O.G.S. is a K-12 program that invites fathers, grandfathers, uncles or other father figures to volunteer at least one day, all day, at their child’s/student’s school.
Valero Energy Corporation
In 2012, the Valero Energy Corporation and employee Bill Strain, a mentor for 19 years, each received the 2012 Outstanding Partner of the Year award from the Northside ISD in San Antonio.
For almost 20 years, Valero Energy has been deeply involved in Northside ISD through caring mentors. Currently the company has 44 mentors working throughout the district involved in the company’s mentoring program, a multi-district partnership that sends Valero employees into schools across the city, the majority being in Northside ISD, in an effort to inspire students to learn, gain confidence and stay in school.
Overall, approximately three to four percent of Valero San Antonio employees regularly take part in school activities, including education initiatives and efforts through Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys Town, St. Peter-St. Joseph’s Children’s Home, Valero’s own Juvenile Justice Mentoring Program and the Texas Institute for Educational Robotics.
Businesses recognized with a Silver level award have policies that not only support employees who attend parent-teacher conferences, but also implement a policy to encourage and support employees who volunteer in school activities.
Receiving a Silver level award is:
Pizza Properties Inc. dba Peter Piper Pizza
For the last 30 years, Pizza Properties Inc. has supported local schools, clubs, non-profits and other various organizations. Each of the company’s 39 restaurants partner with a minimum of 10 area schools. In the Clint ISD near El Paso, as well as other areas of the state, the company’s management all work with their local schools by providing items for schools to use as rewards and incentives.
The company also allows managers to attend school career days, judge science fairs and talent shows, read to students, and attend school fairs and carnivals. The company’s philosophy is that it is important to show the students that academics are important and that the business community supports their efforts.
Pizza Properties Inc. currently employs about 1,500 people, of whom 150 members of the management team participate directly with schools through the Peter Piper Pizza Partner in Education Program annually.
Two companies are receiving the EEE-Bronze level award. At the Bronze level, companies have a policy or procedure that allows employees to attend parent-teacher conferences during work time.
Laredo Federal Credit Union
The Laredo Federal Credit Union is an active participant and long time partner with the Laredo ISD.
The company allows its employees who are parents of Laredo ISD students to attend parent-teacher conferences, mentor students and volunteer in school-related events.
Among the many programs the credit union’s parental and non-parental employees participate in are the Teacher Appreciation Week, Principal’s Breakfast Sponsorship and providing school supplies to all Laredo ISD employees through Teacher General Session and Career Day.
Other volunteer or mentoring programs include One Class at a Time, providing $750 on a monthly basis to selected teachers to help with classroom projects; Adopt a School for Christmas, Counselors Appreciation Week, the District Education Improvement Council and the annual LISD Coat Them with Love Bowl-a-thon.
Lake Pointe Health Network
The Lake Pointe Health Network in North Texas collaborates with the Rockwall ISD in a variety of ways including school fund raising activities, health fairs and education programs, as well as allowing employees to attend parent-teacher conferences during scheduled work hours.
The company states it realizes that the partnership between a student’s parent and teacher is a key to educational success – no matter what grade or age of the student.
By providing employees with the opportunities for a healthy balance between work and home, the Lake Pointe Health Network shows its ongoing support for the local education community.